Am I a Bad Mom?

My youngest child has just turned 18 years old and I find myself reflecting on whether or not I was a good mom. Having just survived my kids' high school years, I have heard plenty of claims of "that's not fair," "you don't understand," "you're mean," "I hate you," etc. I can honestly say that I really did try hard to be a good mother to my children. My husband and I got married before having children. We made sure to raise our children with strong religious beliefs. School was always important to us and we worked hard to be available for parent-teacher conferences, concerts, walking report cards, field trips, and more. Where did I go wrong and become a bad mom?

The Best Intentions

My husband and I both had abusive dads, so we were pretty determined not to abuse our own children.  Unlike some people, we didn't take it to the extreme and avoid discipline completely.  We talked about how we wanted to handle things and decided to never punish out of anger.  Spanking was used as an attention getter, not a punishment.  For those of you who are against spanking, I wonder how you communicate with a toddler who runs out into the street?  A quick swat or two gets the child's attention and is enough of a "shock" to stop them from what they are doing.  Disagree if you will, but at least I wasn't beating my child several dozen times with a wooden stick like my own dad did.

I adore my children and want the very best for them.  They had to do chores, although not as many as I did as a child.  We didn't spoil them, but they had fun birthdays and Christmases.  They were taught about both my culture and my husband's culture.  They had opportunities to participate in after school clubs, sports, workshops, and classes.  Our income wasn't always great, but they always had the food and clothing they needed.

Because I was so happy to be a mom and to be experiencing the "joys" of motherhood, I sought out art that showed mother and child.  The gift I always dreamed of getting was a necklace with a mother and child theme.  So where did things get out of control?

Why Do They Hate Me?

My husband always played the tough guy and main disciplinarian, so I wasn't surprised that our children saw him in a different light. I was sure they would see it differently when they had children of their own. As I talked to my kids one day, they started telling me what they didn't like about me. I was shocked! Here are my evil doings:

  • "You tell Dad everything." Mostly true....I believe that my husband and I need to work as a team and need to share information. I don't tell him EVERYTHING, just what I feel is important for him to know. This tactic has saved us from the kids' attempts to play us against each other. Unfortunately, the kids saw it as me "tattling" on them.
  • "You're always nagging me."  I'm pretty sure that one is in the job description for being a mom.  We have gone the rounds on this one and the kids have given tons of advice on how I should deal with them to get them to do their chores, finish their homework, follow the rules, etc.  If any of their techniques had worked, I would have stopped nagging years ago.
  • "I had a rough childhood."  You think you had a rough childhood....don't even get me started!  I can't for the life of me understand how they think they had it so bad.  Their versions of past events are incredibly off-base.  If only they could keep in mind that a child's memories aren't quite accurate.  I have a very hyperactive cousin who used to climb out of his crib as a toddler and get hurt.  His parents fashioned a lid for the crib to keep him safe, but his description of it brings him to tears as he tells people his parents put him in a cage when he was a baby.
  • "You never let me..."  This is a long list, so I won't attempt to put it all here.  The main ones are have a cell phone, stay up late, sleep all day, do what I want, go where I want to, play on the computer all day/night, hang out with my friends.......  Other parents have told me they admire me for my rules.  My children tell me how unreasonable the rules are and that other kids have cell phones, don't have stupid curfews, get to do whatever they want, are allowed to sleep past noon, don't have to clean up before guests come over, etc.  Really?  All the parents I've met so far seem to have pretty similar rules to mine.

I'll Never Be Perfect

I guess it's time to admit that I will never ever be the perfect mom.  Then again, who is?  One of my friends was surely the most perfect mom in the world.  She does everything for her children, never speaks a harsh or unkind word to anyone, and is the most loved person I know.  Much to my surprise, she confessed to me this morning that she has had the same problems and doubts.  Some of her children saw her as a bad mom or mean mom and she felt as hurt as I did by their accusations. 

My own mom certainly wasn't perfect, but I adore her for her love and all the efforts she made to be a great mom.  She's no longer with us, but I suspect she chuckles now and then as she watches me go through the same kinds of struggles she must have.  Who knows?  Ten or 20 years from now, my kids may celebrate their love for me.  Until then, I will continue to find solace in the words of other "bad" moms and "mean" moms out there in cyberspace.

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Comments 7 comments

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Everything in this hub leads me to believe that you were a superb mom and really cared and loved her children enough so that you would discipline them so they become respectful and good adults, clothed and fed them so they were nourished, taught them manners so they wouldn't act like cavemen and I believe you were a very good mom. Every kid goes through their stages where they hate everything and mom is just a too easy target. Kids today really do not know how easy they have it. I enjoyed your hub and I think you expressed your feelings very well. Cheers.


karent profile image

karent 6 years ago Author

Thanks, ladyjane! This hub started with my usual depression when it comes to Mother's Day, but turned around when I saw that I wasn't alone in feeling this way. Too bad it takes an extra 10-20 years before our kids realize how good they had it and what kind of influence their parents were. I look forward to that day...


daisyjae profile image

daisyjae 6 years ago from Canada

Awesome hub! You sound like a really good mom to me.


aesmith2009 profile image

aesmith2009 6 years ago from USA

Wonderful hub! I really like it! Sounds like you're a good mom to me! We all feel that way growing up but eventually we finish growing up and appreciate both our mothers and our fathers. We're not supposed to be our childrens best friends, we're supposed to be their parents.


karent profile image

karent 6 years ago Author

I agree about being their parents and not their friends. Thank you for the compliments! Balancing the logic of the situation with my personal insecurities has always been a struggle. At least I know now that other people view it the same way.


ky Dena 6 years ago

I am told regularly by by kids what a mean mom I am and they are told repeatedly by their friends how lucky they are to have such a cool mom. It cracks me up. I have a 15 yr old daughter so "I hate you" lost its effect on me a long time ago and when they throw it at me I just smile and say I love you too.


karent profile image

karent 6 years ago Author

ky Dena, Some of the sting went out of the "I hate you" when I had some of my son's friends tell me that I was cool, so I know what you mean. Getting more involved in his life led to him being mad at me more, but I developed some good relationships with his friends and could see that I wasn't all that bad. All us mean moms gotta stick together!

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