I Forgave Myself for My Mothering

Alyssa Serben

When we go out, people always tell me how beautiful my daughter is. She kindly replies, ‘Thanks!’ and shies away. They turn to me and tell me how much they appreciate a well-mannered, well-behaved toddler. Extended family tell me what a great mom I am, so I must be doing something right.

But in my eyes, that is not the case. In my mind, every action I take causes immense guilt. Countless nights of lost sleep from personal shame. Regrets for my behavior. Nothing I do is ever good enough. How am I still her mom? Maybe they should have said that I couldn’t take her home from the hospital because I just don’t feel like I deserve this beautiful creation.

I was reading article after article about parenting- “10 ways to Be a Better Mom”, “Yell Less, Be Happier”, “Meal Prep Makes a Happier Home”. Really? When has it gotten so out of control? I felt like I was being judged by these strangers. It shook my confidence and threw me down hard.

Did I really yell too much? Should I not be doing time outs? I don’t have the energy to make those butterfly meals from Pinterest. My child is two years old, and I still have 12 pounds to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. But I see all these moms say that they are back to the same size, 6 months later because they followed some super amazing diet and workout plan.

Why have I been allowing these words to hurt me so? What happened to “sticks and stones” like we teach our children? I was writing about being confident, yet had a hard time believing my own words. How can I give advice that I don’t even trust?

One unforgettable Thursday night, my emotions had a jailbreak. My daughter had been driving me insane for a few days. I had been home alone with her for five straight days. Still hadn’t had a shower. Barely ate that week. Oh, and I was out of wine. It was miraculous that I was still standing. When my husband came home, I ran straight to the bedroom and cried. He followed to witness my unraveling.

“I’m a horrible mom. All I’ve done this week, is yell at her for not listening, and she just laughs in my face and does what she wants.”

As he rubbed my back and consoled me, I realized this – I am a mom. I am not perfect. And to my daughter? I am the best mom ever.

I took that weekend to relax and get my head together. I finally got a shower, put on some clean clothes, and ate a full meal. I had decided that I will no longer  compare my skills to that of strangers. I was going to do what was best for my family and spent the next few weeks, really focusing on them.

I know this now.

I was never a bad mom. I am a great mom. I do what’s best for my family and we’re happy. My daughter is healthy, happy, well-fed, clean and gets to go on fun adventures.

Whenever I start to feel bad, I write down the good.

Now that I’ve forgiven myself for not being the mother I set out to be, I can truly enjoy my daughter and mothering. Motherhood is now the exciting adventure it’s always meant to be.

Head to the Family Room


I Forgave Myself for My Mothering

 This post was written by Alyssa Serben exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Alyssa is the rambler over at Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My! where she shows us ways to survive parenthood with some creative crafts, humor and some delicious recipes. She's a stay at home mom to her girls, a toddler and a slobbering bloodhound. She believes it should be socially acceptable to enjoy wine at every meal like it is in Italy.