Confessions of a Rubbish Mum

Sad Mom

I love parenting blogs. Obviously I do, I mean, they are what inspired me to start my own. I love reading about others’ perspectives on matters of family, and following their journeys as they grow. Reading articles and books about gentle parenting fills me with energy and the desire to be a better parent to my own children.

But they also make my head spin, and convince me that, no matter what I do, I am going to do my children serious, irreparable emotional damage. It seems that as soon as I get the hang of some parenting technique, someone/a website/a blog/a book is waiting in the wings to tell me that, actually, I’ve got it all wrong.

At this point I imagine myself as a cartoon illustration, sat in the dark at 2am, surrounded by open books and bathed in the glow of a laptop. I’m frantically leafing through pages, highlighting important points, recalling a million scenarios over the past week in which I probably broke my kid(s), imagining them telling a therapist about me in 20 years time, pulling my hair out and wondering why on earth I gave up smoking.

I used to think that the oft-used saying “every child, every parent, every family is different” was a cop-out used by parents who were Doin’ It Rong – but thankfully, I’ve grown up a LOT since then. I also had two children who showed me just how impatient, selfish and irritable I can be – and just how hard it is to raise small people.

So, in the spirit of honesty, following are my Rubbish Mum Confessions. I often get the feeling that people in my life feel as though I think I’m some kind of expert, some kind of perfect parent. This could not be further from the truth. Despite my best efforts, they will probably end up in therapy anyway.

1. I shout too much. It sucks, and I hate it, but that’s who I am. I do my best not to shout *at* the children, but sometimes I do. I always say sorry, and I always feel like shit after.
2. I am impatient. It usually doesn’t take long from the time I get up to start uttering such phrases as “for goodness’ sake”, “how many flippin’ times”, “Oh *insert name of child here*!! *loud sigh*” and “For crying out loud!!” It doesn’t take long for me to get riled up at bedtime/during the night, either. My 3yo has learnt to say “calm down, stressy mummy” when I get like that, which always works to snap me the hell out of it. Love him.
3. Our diet is far from perfect. Our meals are generally pretty balanced, and the kids eat a lot of fruit, but Monkey in particular is very partial to chips, chocolate and baked goods. I also get very shocked looks, usually, when my BLW baby gets to try a small piece of chocolate when I have some, but whatever. He loves it, and I would rather he and his brother didn’t grow up with a notion of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ food. It’s just food.
4. Although I love breastfeeding, and have no intentions of stopping, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to formula feed a baby*. I wonder what it would be like to not have to be around the baby all. the. time. I wonder what it would be like to be able to let my husband put both kids to bed every once in a while – none of which are possible because our boob-loving baby won’t take a bottle.
5. Sometimes, I really don’t like being a stay at home mum. I know how incredibly lucky I am that I am able to be at home with my kids, and I still wouldn’t go to work unless I had to, but sometimes I wish that when my husband asks me what I did today I could answer with something other than “Umm, I did some laundry. Played with the kids. Went into town and bought wet wipes. Went on facebook for a bit.”
6. I find playing with my 3yo to be pretty boring most of the time. Not all of the time – I could happily spend hours drawing, painting, cutting, sticking and glittering with him. However, he gets bored of that pretty quickly and would rather I play Mummy Duck and Baby Duck** with him. I like playing Mummy Duck and Baby Duck. Just not for hours at a time.

Wow, I really do sound crap, don’t I? It pains me to post this actually. It makes me sound as though I don’t adore my kids, as if I find them to be burdensome and irritating. Nothing could be further than the truth. I adore them, really and truly, and I feel totally blessed to be a mother. However, I think it is vitally important that parents, and parenting bloggers especially, are honest about their shortcomings and their true feelings about motherhood. None of us are perfect. All of us fuck up sometimes. Sometimes, we really would rather be at the pub than at home parenting our kids.  It’s not healthy for us to try to show a perfect exterior. We are human, we are raw, we are real.  Embrace it, and love your children wholeheartedly.  At the end of the day, that’s what matters most.

Join my Rubbish Mum Club! What do you do that you know you “shouldn’t”? What don’t you do that you know you should?

* I am not saying, in any way, shape or form, that formula feeding mums are bad mums. I am saying that there is a general “feeling” amongst the crunchy mum community online that this is the case, and I know personally of many women who have been made to feel as though they are lesser parents because they didn’t breastfeed. I couldn’t disagree more, and the very thought of labelling a mother as “good” or “bad” based on how she feeds her baby is wrong on so many levels.
**He has a toy duck that came with a little baby duck. I am assigned a duck, which I must give a voice to and come up with various scenarios, etc. It is amusing how many times I accidentally typed fuck instead of duck in this paragraph.


  1. Melanie says

    All of the above and maybe a little bit more, once in a while I get really pissed off and put my kids in the bedroom to be away from them, take out the husband and the bit about the ducks though, and the whole thing could’ve been about me.

  2. Melanie says

    And I completely get sounding like they aren’t your world because that’s the same reason I don’t like people hearing me yell or telling them off. It’d be nice if we and our children could be perfect.

  3. amelia says

    I’m so with you.

    As much as I adore my 2 year old, the constant whining because she only napped for 20 minutes is enough to make me want to throw her out of a moving vehicle. I do get frustrated and talk to her not as nicely as I should. When she sits across the room crying quietly saying sorry mama it breaks my heart that I don’t have the patience I see some mothers have.

    Is it wrong to want her in diapers until she’s 10? Because this taking her to the potty every 5 minutes thing…..not nearly as much fun for me as it is for her.

    Yeah, I’d be pretty happy too if she decided to stop nursing any day now. Two years is plenty long enough but I don’t have it in me to tell her no. How else would I get her to sleep?

    Some days I truly wonder why on earth I want more kids but when she comes up and gives me a big hug, or puts on one of her dance shows, or even when we have a meal with no arguments or tears it makes it all worth it. I can’t wait to see the person she’s becoming and she amazes me every day with the things she knows and her sense of humor (she’s a big fan of fart jokes).

  4. says

    when my two year old is having a meltdown i often will say ‘its going to be your own fault if your an only child!’ I also have guilt riddled moments where i think i can not WAIT for my hsuband to get home and take this bloody child off my hands!!!!!!

  5. Sara says

    Hell yeah! I completely agree. I feel constantly guilty that I’m not doing enough, especially after reading too many blogs.
    I mix feed my little guy bcs I just don’t make enough milk, and the guilt is bad enough without reading how I didn’t try hard enough. We just want the best for our littlepeople, and I wasn’t prepared to starve him! Do I deleted those stupid blogs.
    Go with your gut Mama! None of us are perfect and it’s unrealistic to be. Our children need to see us in our weak moments so they know it’s ok to feel that way too!!

  6. Novi says

    I completely understand. We’re on the same boat. It’s not that I don’t love my 3 months old baby but there are times when I get so frustrated and the only thing I wanna do is to throw him outside the window :(

  7. Elsabie says

    It is as if I had written this blog post. And all the lovely mamas who replied, I have felt all those things myself. It brings tears to my eyes realising I am not a bad mother… I’m just like everyone else. I am pregnant with our second (very early still) and there have been times these last few days where I’ve felt I don’t want this baby. I can’t handle another one, I don’t want to do all the nappy changes, constant breastfeeding, not sleeping and being grumpy all the time again. My daughter is 3.5 and she is lovely, but there are days where I could easily just pack my bags and go away forever, but then she looks at me or says ‘sorry for being naughty Mummy’ and I melt. It’s all worth it in the end I’m sure…. :)

  8. Michelle says

    I think its great that you write these things Imogen! We all feel this way sometimes and its so healthy to articulate it. I feel guilty because I’m back at work full time and don’t see much of my little boy so I want the few precious hours to be perfect. Then I get home after a frustrating commute to find him knackered, whiny and refusing to sleep, and I get cross. And then I feel terrible. I always apologise though, I try to remember its not his fault. And… breathe…

  9. says

    I really appreciate the non preachiness :)
    I would consider myself a pretty “crunchy, gentle, AP, unschooling” Mum but I have formula fed all my babies and use although I baby wear I also pushchairs once in a while etc :) It’s really important that we don’t (as mums) become too militant because at the end of the day, the vast majority of us are trying our best on this journey and love our children to bits.
    Great Post!

  10. says

    I don’t shout enough. I don’t show my anger very much at all. I show it more than I used to but I am very bad at letting it out. Instead it stays inside me festering, lingering, making me stressed and unwell. Not a pretty picture either.
    Far from a perfect LovingEarthMama :p

  11. chloe says

    Thank you so much for your honesty, it has lifted my spirits immensely. I have been home with my girls – both under 4 – for 3 weeks now whilst my husband has taken our one car to work every day and I have been g o i n g crazy. I’m pregnant with no. 3 and we live on a lovely farm, but there is no-where to walk to, and no neighbours. I hate phones and consequently my day to day life has completely shut down. I have been shouty, sometimes even slappy, which I HATE myself for. (I’ll slap the top of their heads). I have felt like the worst mother on earth, even though i show my girls how much i love them as well, i hate the way i shout so much of the time – i just want to run away from them all. though i’d miss them after about 2.5 mins of course.

    • says

      Oh mama, that sounds TOUGH! I fantasise about living in the country but I just could. not. do. it right now because I don’t drive. Is there any way you can get any kind of help or support in the daytime from a family member or a friend or something? I know it’s really hard to ask especially if someone has to go out of their way to get to you, but you shouldn’t have to just muddle through on your own. xx

  12. chloe says

    Well, it’s coming to an end now as my 3 yr old is starting nursery next week so hubs will have to buy a car in the next few days. I shall be free again thank fuck! Everything’s soooo much easier if you can just get to a park, or even the library, just to get some variety…. I just wish I’d found this blog sooner :) Thanks again xx

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