The Bad Mother Manifesto

June 8, 2009

My name is Catherine, and I am a bad mother. I (mostly, sort of, kind of) do not have my tongue in my cheek when I say that. I am a Bad Mother (TM).

I am a bad mother according to many of the measurements established by the popular Western understanding of what constitutes a good mother. I use disposable diapers. I let my children watch more television than I’d ever publicly admit. I let them have cookies for breakfast. I let them stay up too late. I don’t follow a schedule. I don’t go to playgroups. I stopped breastfeeding because I was tired of it. I co-slept with my son. I didn’t co-sleep with my daughter. I have been treated for depression. I stopped my treatment for depression. I am entirely too attached to Ativan.

I have left my children alone in the bathtub. I have spanked my daughter. I have turned my back on my crying son. I have had intrusive thoughts. I drink. I curse. I have put my own needs first. I have thought that I love my husband more than my children. I have had moments of resenting my children. I have thought that motherhood is boring. I document all of these things and lay them bare for the world to see. I have been called an exploitative mother. I have wondered whether that might be true.

I have thought that perhaps I am not at all cut out for this motherhood thing.

I have thought that I am a bad mother. I know that I am bad mother, in so many of the ways that matter to the people who worry about how and why women should be good mothers, and in most of the ways that don’t matter to anyone at all other than me at three o’ clock in the morning after a particularly long, ego-smashing day.

But:

I reject entirely the idea that I should be a good mother in any manner other than those that matter to me: that I take care of the basic needs of my children, that I love my children well, that I make certain that my children know that they are loved well, that I ensure that a day never passes in which I do not not hug or kiss my children or tell them that I love them, and that I ensure that a day never passes in which they – and I – laugh out loud at least once.

I reject entirely the idea that there can be any community consensus about what – beyond the provision of love and care – constitutes a good mother. I reject entirely the idea that we can or should judge each other as mothers, beyond the obvious and most basic standards of care, and even then, I reject entirely the idea that any one of us is so perfect that she could throw the first stone without hesitation.

I reject entirely the idea that mothers should worry about what it means to be a good mother in any respect beyond loving and protecting and providing for their children.

I reject entirely the idea I should worry, and yet worry I do. I worry because everywhere I look, at every turn, at every corner, in every magazine and on every television show and in every discussion, everywhere, about the what-why-how of motherhood, is the Good Mother.

The Good Mother – the idea of the Good Mother, the theoretical and aesthetic model of what it means to mother well – is the true spectre, the spectre that has haunted mothers since God first smacked our hands for being too graspy and ejected us from the Garden and hollered at us to go forward and to give birth in pain and alone and to mother in anxiety and alone and to basically just angst out for every second of our lives. The idea of the Good Mother has kept us in our place, has kept us cowering, alone, behind the veil; our important work – our critically important work – kept hidden behind the walls of the household; our lives and our stories and our history kept secret, kept quiet, because Good Mothers are private, are modest, are pudicae, because Good Mothers tell no tales. Devoted Good Mothers listen only to community edicts about what the Good Mother looks like and then devote themselves, silently, to the work of emulating the Good Mother. They do not share their failures. They do not share their struggles. They do not tell stories about the dark and the difficulty and the anxiety and the impossibility of keeping one’s cool in the dead of night when the baby is shrieking and the toddler is crying and one hasn’t slept in weeks. They do not talk about shutting the door and ignoring the cries. They do not talk about intrusive thoughts. They do not talk about repeating the words fuck I hate this fuck I hate this like so many Hail Marys, like a meditation upon frustration, like a mantra of failure. They do not talk about these things, out loud.

They keep their silence, and look to the Good Mother, hoping that she will provide guidance, hoping that in her lays the way of all maternal truth and happiness. They look in vain.

The Good Mother is everywhere, all at once, and she looks like everything, and nothing. She stays at home; she goes to work. She attachment-parents; she’s Babywise. She home-schools; she Montessoris. She vaccinates; she doesn’t vaccinate. She follows a schedule; she lets her kids run free-range. She co-sleeps; she wouldn’t dare co-sleep. She would never spank; she’s a strict disciplinarian. She’s an Alpha Mom; she’s a Slacker Mom; she’s a Hipster Mom; she’s a Christian Mom; she’s a Hipster-Christian-Alpha Mom who slacks off in the summers. She’s Everymom; She’s NoMom. She brooks no disagreement: if you argue with her, you start a Mommy War. But the wars are futile and pointless because the combatants are all fighting on the same side, her side, which is no side, and in the end we just batter each other until we are dumb and we give up and retire to our camps, bloody and bruised and determined to just keep it to ourselves next time and so it ends as it always does, in silence, with none of us saying what we really want to say, what we really need to say, which is this: who the fuck cares?

Who is anybody to tell us whether we are good mothers? Who the fuck knows what a good mother is anyway? And why can’t we say this out loud, why can’t we just live our motherhood out loud and proclaim our diversity to ourselves and to each other and to the world and declare the idea of the Good Mother – the all-encompassing, do-no-wrong, one-size-fits-all perfect model of the Good Mother, the Uber-Mom who has been witnessed by none of us – dead? We do not need her, we don’t, we really don’t.

The only persons who can measure our mother-worthiness are our children, and even they are unreliable.

All that we have, then, is this: the measure of our hearts and the measure of our eyes and our ears and our good sense. Do we love our children as best we can? Do we keep them, as best we can, healthy in mind and body? Do we make sure that they laugh? Do they smile in our presence?

That is enough. That must be enough. And if that is not good enough – if there remain those who would insist that there is more to mothering well, that I must do more, that we must do more, that the community must do more to police, to enforce, to uphold the rule of the Good Mother – then, well, I shall remain – loudly, proudly, publicly – Bad.

Are you a Bad Mother? Which is to ask - regardless of whether or not you identify with, or struggle with, the idea of being ‘Bad’ – are you a regular old ordinary flawed-but-awesome REAL mom? Are you just tired of the pressure to be ‘Good’? Then join me. We’ll unite and take over.

*(with apologies to Karl Marx, and, parenthetically, to Friedrich Nietzsche and Niccolo Machiavelli, all of whom would doubtless regard my appropriation of their modes of argument for the purposes of defending the liberation of mothers from old modes and orders of virtue as terribly, terribly amusing and, I would hope, somewhat charming, in a contrary sort of way.)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share!
  • email
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon

    { 204 comments }

    Tracy June 9, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Awesome.

    Jillian June 9, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Bravo for telling it like it is!!

    We all struggle with being the best we can be while still retaining some semblance of self.

    Nobody trained us or told us about how our lives would change so completely when we had children or about how lonely it would be.

    We are superheroes and should be recorded in history as such!

    Karen Sugarpants June 9, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Never has your tagline in your header meant so very much. This ought to be shouted from rooftops and linked to from every corner of the world.
    Very well said Catherine – simply awesome.
    Bad is indeed the new good.

    BeautifulWreck June 9, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Awesome post!

    Krystle @snarkykisses June 9, 2009 at 10:36 am

    A.Freaking.MEN! You hit the nail on the head… and said all of what I believe.

    Norine June 9, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Bravo! Well said. BTW, I love the idea of a T-shirt … worn with pride.
    Hopefully you've checked out Ayelet Waldman's "mumoir" Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace (Doubleday … and on Kindle). I'm in the middle and it's a great read.
    Norine
    Don't Put Lizards In Your Ears
    http://www.norinedworkin.com/blog

    Anonymous June 9, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Catherine,

    At a later age, I've recently become a mother, and due to a host of factors too intricate to unravel here or perhaps elsewhere without much thought and analysis, I fissured entirely.

    Inundated by popular culture's view of "motherhood," of mom shows on television, parenting magazines, countless manuals and magazines, I was then recommended Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," a post apocalyptic tale of a man travelling the road to a more desireable locale with his son amidst the burning fires and ashes of a ravaged world.

    There aren't synopses I can produce, any I've really read, that capture the entire beauty and heartache of loving a child rendered here so eloquently. And it is the father who shelters and provides until he perishes along the road, the boy hesitant to leave without returning to pay his one, final respect to his father's corpse.

    There are categories, adjectives, descriptions produced and reinforced by medical communities, advertisers, scholars, but ultimately, there is that one unconquerable bond between parent and child that transcends all else, including our own death.

    MissJ June 9, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I am often a bad mother but I don't think it's anything to be celebrated. And that, in my opinion, is what this wave of bad mother revelry is essentially doing. I think there's a fine line between pulling the curtain back and exposing the truth (which is good – in my opinion) and championing poor parenting (not so good).

    Kristin June 9, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Absolutely brilliant!

    Issas Crazy World June 9, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Awesome post! I don't see how anyone can tell me what type of mother is okay. Everyone is different, just as every kid is different. Who gets to decide this stuff anyway?

    I am a bad mother. My kids eat too much sugar, they watch too much TV, they have IPods, Nintendo DS's and rooms filled with that Disney crap. I didn't breastfeed, I don't do all organic, I am not always patient, I yell too much and some nights, I put them to bed early, just because I'm tired of listening to them talk. But every single day, I love them more than life itself. I'd move the moon for them. That (along with their needs always being met and me teaching them to be responsible human beings) has to be enough.

    laurie June 9, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Just yesterday, I was thinking that I wanted my older son to suck it up and get better already (he has been sick with stomach pains and nausea) so that he could get back to school and stop cramping my style.
    Then I felt so guilty…
    Some days I proudly own my badmotherness more easily than others…

    Virginia June 9, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    The part that disturbs me the most is the good mother "PR" you are expected to produce about parenting. I feel guilty admitting that there are some weekends when the peace of my office is an absolute relief. I also feel guilty about working too much, not working enough, everything I eat, not calling my mother, etc.

    I think the key to the "bad mother" ethos is transparently embracing motherhood – and your kids for that matter – for the truth of what they are. And not allowing yourself to fall for the hype of it being anything less than "good".

    - Bad Mama Miracle

    Catharine June 9, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I read your post yesterday. I had to read it again today. You know what? I think I'll read it every day for the rest of my life — or at least until I have it memorized like I did with The Communist Manifesto over twenty years ago. The overwhelming response that your post has inspired (far, far more than the science blogs I usually read) is evidence that you have really struck a chord. Write a book.

    By the way, we may have been cursed with the pain of childbirth, but we got multiple orgasms too.

    Someone wise once told me that the best thing we can do for our children is to stay out of their way. Give them the raw materials they need to develop their talents/interests and let them have at it. Of course, this isn't helpful when you have a toddler and a newborn, each screaming for different reasons, and you're trying to get something done. But if you understand this advice in the context that it is not a maternal responsibility to nurture (suck) every bit of potential out of your offspring, then it frees both mother and child and allows for substantial, original growth.

    Basically, if you love your children, keep them safe and share in the joy of living, then you've got your bases covered. The rest is commentary.

    Kristine June 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Really, aren't most of us just "good enough mothers." And isn't that OK?

    Maybe it was when I finally accepted having a special needs son, that I "mostly" stopped worrying about being a "good" mother and what other people thought. Because damn it all, unless you ("you" as in everyone not me) are living my life, you have no clue.

    And when I occasionally do forget that "good enough" really is "good enough" and let the dad at McD's get in my face and upset me. Well, then I remember how excited and proud of me my son is watching me take my first karate classes (fat, sweaty, awkward, struggling to keep up) and hear him yell out to me "Mom, you are awesome!"

    And you know what? I am awesome! Because I'm good enough and that is what my kids need.

    Great post as always Catherine! Like others though I wish we could get rid of good and bad completely.

    Haley-O June 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Awesome, awesome post. I always like to say I do the best I can — and that "best" is different every day. Today, my best is putting my daughter in front of a movie while my son naps — so I can work to (ultimately) provide for her. Yesterday, it was hiding under my bed and leaving them to the care of the husband. The day before that, it was doing arts and crafts and going to the park with them. I do the best I can every day. And the best I can do is different every day. My mantra.

    This isn't to say I don't loathe myself on those "fuck I hate this" days, unfortunately. I just try to remind myself of my mantra those days and that there are parents out there smoking crack in front of their kids…. The fact that WE CARE that WE QUESTION that we SHARE makes us damn good parents. It's just so damn HARD, and we can't POSSIBLY always be up to the task.

    adjustmentdisorder June 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Thank you. Thank you so much. I'm proud to say that I'm a bad mother, and I'm putting a link to this article on my blog – I really like what you have to say, and how you say it! Thank you.

    abi's mom June 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Perhaps we'd all be better mothers if more of us shared what "bad" mothers we were.

    I love reading your blog because it's real. Or at least it meshes with my experience of what motherhood is, and it makes me realize I'm not alone.

    Anonymous June 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Uhm, a little confused here. Could you direct me to one of those Good Mothers, I dont think I've ever seen one.

    As for being a BAD mother- I always imagined you needed to have substance abuse issues, and teach your kids to be mean/lazy/ otherwise-sorry-specimens-of-humanity in order to be classified a bad parent. After your (non-tongue-in-cheek) post, I'm confused !

    -K June 9, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    I love you. I've been following your blog on and off for a while and have never commented. But here I am, pregnant with my second, parenting (BADLY…oh yes) my two-year-old, wondering why the hell I ever thought I could do this job and then I read your post. And I rejoiced. Badness SHALL reign, and I shall breathe again…(eventually, after I've ignored a crying toddler, cursed under my breath-or not-and neglected to do the dishes, I SHALL breathe). Thanks for that. Did I mention that I love you?

    Amanda June 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I am an insufferable waffler— flagrantly swinging from fuck-it to what have I done? I need to check in more, with Mr. Lady and you and everyone in between. Damn! I'd cry for my mom, but fuck it all if that relationship isn't too complicated.

    Mamma June 9, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    BRAVO!!!

    *pumps fist*

    ExtraordinaryMommy June 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I love this because I can relate.

    I could add to the 'bad mothering list' again and again. But, like you, my kids know that I love them and they get dozens of kisses and hugs in a day – and we laugh all the time.

    I think that more than makes up for some extra TV time, a few too many meals at McDonalds and my desire to occasionally lock myself in the bathroom – just to get a minute alone.

    I know I am not perfect. I don't think the 'perfect mother' or the 'all-good mother' exists.

    We are 'good' or extraordinary even because we keep trying. We definitely don't always succeed – but we try. And when I make a mistake, my kids are the first to let me know. I'm certain the guilt I feel is pennance enough for whatever 'bad mothering' I commit on a regular basis.

    So, I'm thinking you are right: 'bad IS the new good."

    Her Bad Mother June 9, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Miss J – proclaiming oneself to be a 'bad mother' is not (in my framing of it) a celebration of bad parenting – it's a celebrating of the reality of parenting, in all of its messy glory, and a rejection of narratives insist that there are good and bad ways of doing things (beyond basics of care and love). It also rejects the idea that we can know what a good parent is, beyond the obvious. Some would say that co-sleeping is bad parenting; others, good. Some would say that strict discipline is bad; others, good.

    So, maybe this is celebrating 'bad parenting' – if we understand bad parenting to be the kind of parenting that most of us are doing anyway, regardless of what anyone thinks of it.

    Emily June 9, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    As a soon to be mother I'm watching the posts on this topic intently :) I think your post is great but I agree with DM Diva.

    I understand the idea of embracing the label as a way of reducing its "power" or turning it around but I also think it takes the power away from the atrociousness of truly bad mothers – those that beat, abuse and neglect their children.

    Whirlwind June 9, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    check, check and check. I totally meet all the bad mother requirements.

    aqua June 9, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Superb, Catherine! I will print this out and put it on my fridge!

    Miss Behavin June 9, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Bad mother?

    I struggle with that question every single day.

    Read this: http://maneuveringmotherhood.blogspot.com

    Joy June 9, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    I keep coming back, trying to frame an articulate response. And I can't. But thank you, very much for writing this.

    I, too, am a Bad Mother.

    Usedtobeme June 9, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I could not have said it better myself. Well done.

    Julie @ The Mom Slant June 10, 2009 at 12:05 am

    My badness is also well documented and laid bare for the world to see.

    heather June 10, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Just tonight, I was thinking about what a bad mom I was for wishing for my pre-baby life back. Thanks for the permission to be a Bad Mother!

    Ozma June 10, 2009 at 2:14 am

    To some degree.

    I do think also that mothering is a skill, a talent, a vocation. Some people are truly amazing at it. There really are Olympian mothers.

    I've seen them. They awe me. They are not alpha moms and all that crap. It's just…I can't explain it. Some people just have rad mothering skillz.

    I know this is not a popular view on the mommynet. But I swear. I've seen it, I've seen them, I've seen their kids.

    I had a bad mother in some really crucial ways. She could write a blog saying many of these things. And other things. It simply was not good to have a bad mother. It was bad. She wasn't the worst mother, not by a long shot. She was just bad enough to actually be bad.

    I'm sure she loved us as best as she could. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. Also, her mother loved her as best as she could. And that was *definitely* not enough, if you ask my mother. (Also, you could ask my grandmother, if she was still alive about what a bad mother she had. That might be where the disaster started. That's as far back as I can trace, of course, not knowing my great-great grandmother.) In a baseline way, we were and are all healthy in mind and body. It just takes more. Actually, with my mom that was one thing–she was so fixated on the form rather than the content.

    I feel like I am shooting for kid and falling short right now. Mainly on attention and energy and distractedness. But I am lucky to be married to a good mother (who is a man). If you leave off cooking and cleaning, he is the archetypal good mother.

    Yes, good mother is an ideology. Good mother is tied to an oppressive patriarchal system. Good mother is a lot of things. But there are some good mothers. And there are some bad ones. And I honestly don't know how else to keep myself striving in the way I want to without trying to be good.

    I think when (some, not all–some are bullshit) the gender expectations traditionally placed on mothers are shared between two parents and the child and no one else puts them on the woman rather than the man–to me that is more liberating than to challenge the idea of standards itself.

    Another option is to try and think of mothering as an art…If it is an art, then of course you are going to be freaking out about whether it is good enough. And there has to be a way to silence pointless critics, inside and out. But you have to be a critic of your own work–you just have to–to do good work.

    It's hard to substitute something else for 'good' when I get down to brass tacks. Good is what I want to be.

    Joy! June 10, 2009 at 2:29 am

    I'm an ordinary mom too. When things get rough, I keep repeating to myself: I'm doing the best I can. Which over all is pretty good, it's just swaddled in the guilt of not living up to the Good Mom ideal or my better self. It's a particularly sharp stick with which to whack myself with when things are going badly. My DH, though, tells me I'm a fantastic parent, and that thank god we have each other to hand her back and forth in the middle of those late-night screaming fests.

    Heidi June 10, 2009 at 4:35 am

    Here here good WOMAN, I someday hope to be as "bad" a mother as you! (and Tanis LOL) My mother never really cared, nor did she provide the basic needs ie: food, shelter, clothing, medical attention. My grandmother did all that and she did it much the same as you, laughter, love, TV, cookies for breakfast, and sometimes putting herself first. It let me know as a child that adults have needs aswell and that even as a child sometimes I need to do without, nothing major but sometimes I really didnt need the newest shoes, and grandma DID need a haircut or a new food processer. Hey kick @$$ food doesnt make its self, ya gotta have tools! LOL

    Geohde June 10, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Oh geepers.

    Yes, I am appalling :)

    I just put my children to bed, poured a glass of wine and hopped online because they were feral and had been screamingly so all day and I was out of other ideas.

    I concur wholeheartedly.

    g

    Her Bad Mother June 10, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Ozma – one of very best friends in the world is one of those good moms. Not a sanctimommy, not an alpha mom, just a bona fide died-in-the-wool good mom. And I admire her and respect her to the ends of the earth. But if I hold her up as a model for myself, I'll fail and I'll feel that failure keenly. I can only be good in the ways that *I'm* good. And therein lays my point – I'm not saying to reject any of the markers of 'good', I'm saying reject hegemonic models of 'Good' with a capital G.

    Which, for rhetorical purposes, I am calling 'bad' ;)

    Theresa June 10, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Bravo. 'Real' mom here. I wish I'd have been able to express the same thoughts half as well.

    Theresa June 10, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Bravo. 'Real' mom here. I wish I'd have been able to express the same thoughts half as well.

    Anonymous June 10, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I'm a bad mum. Not the feral, whack your kid in the street mum or the threaten to push your kid in front of a train mum (I have seriously witnessed this!) – but the mum that heaves and sighs and just cant handle too many hours of my toddlers screaming, nagging and tantrums.
    And because of that – Ive smacked her – and felt HUGELY GUILTY for it – as my first was and is the "angel". Today I told her I loved her and she said "No, you love Sarah. Daddy loves me". My heart broke. Dont know how to be The Good Mother – as to her I am the monster mummy, the Bad Mother. Thankyou for your honesty and breaking down the walls of silence and shame for the majority of us Normal mums out there (Im from AUSTRALIA).

    Catharine June 10, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Anonymous from Australia: My kids are both teenagers now and believe me, they go through phases of which parent they "like best." This is normal and no reflection of a booty whack in a weak moment. I used to work with abused children and it never mattered how monstrous their parents were (pimping them out, setting them on fire) the kids *always* wanted to be with their own parents rather than foster care (good foster care). Your children are going to adore you, no matter what. At least until they are teenagers.

    LAVANDULA June 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    that was truly inspiring catherine.once again i bow down to your greatness.i try my best but sometimes i fail.dismally.i just do what i can each day.and each day is different.some things i am awesome at.some things i suck at.but i love my children and they know i do.some days i yell some days i have no patience some days i feel disconnected etc but i have some moments of truly awesome greatness too.we can only do our best and hope its enough.thanks for a honest thought provoking post. XO

    Jane of Seagull Fountain June 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Look, you were the one who first posited that words, labels, and the values they imply about us, imbue us with, that these things matter, that these things are significant.

    We write because we care what words get used to describe us, the world, injustice, beauty, etc.

    I choose to call myself good. Humbly.

    I am a good mother, a Good Mother. I'm not going to go around saying I'm bad just because some of things I do some people might consider make me a Bad Mother. I refuse to give up to the "Bad Mother" finger pointers a title that I feel I deserve.

    (and glad we can move on to the Latin after the Greeks are exhausted.)

    Her Bad Mother June 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Jane – it's because words matter that I think it's important to challenge their meanings, to deprive labels of their power. 'Bad' is powerfully negative to you because we've been schooled in binary moral oppositions. I'm choosing to reject those oppositions, to state, loudly and forcefully, that moral valuations of motherhood are necessarily fluid, and that if my mode of mothering is 'bad' to some, then I will celebrate and defend that badness. It's more defeatist, to my mind, to slink around insisting that others receive my style of mothering as 'good.' I don't CARE if anyone else thinks it's good – that's the point.

    It may be that we simply have different views of how moral rhetoric and language should be used. I think that my rhetorical stance is the more powerful; you disagree. We'll probably just have to leave it at that.

    Chaos Control June 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Where was this post six years ago when I was pregnant with my first child?

    It certainly would have saved me quite a bit of time kicking myself for not being "the world's greatest mom". I now know I'm normal and my kids are going to turn out just fine … no matter what those "competimommies" say!

    Chaos Control June 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Oops … wrong blog link above … should have been the one linked to my name here.

    weberly June 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    I don't think there is a such a thing as a "good mother" I think there is a difference in what we will admit to All the things that you mention being bad for …all the mothers I know are bad too then including myself. You are neither good or bad you are a mother and an honest one and imho you are the best of us . Thanks for putting the truth out there.

    Mad Mom June 10, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Well stated… I fall into the "bad mom" category as well as the lazy mom category…

    depression, sleep disorder, new motherhood, full time college student, full time work… I think I deserve to be selfish sometimes.

    More power to ya "bad mom"

    deblev June 10, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I call it "good 'nuff" parenting. I believe that perfection is not an option. But that said, this whole idea that if you have a drink or would rather be laying sweaty and naked with your partner instead of playing dress up with a bossy 3 year old makes you bad… you ain't seen bad. I used to work in a group home for emotionally disturbed kids and one (I had to work hard to pick the worst story) was there because his mother was a crack whore (not a figure of speech) and she would occasionally peddle her boy to johns to get a fix. He was taken away and had all sorts of PTSD from being abused and living in crack apartments. Now that is a bad mom. On 99.9% of the days, I know I'm so much better than that. I think most of us can take pride in that.

    Kelly June 11, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I'm going to put this here because you didn't leave the option of commenting on today's post and I'll admit that I'm pretty miffed about that. You make a post about accepting the flaws while striving for better and then turn right around and chastise women for doing the same. Perhaps that's not what you meant to do, but your post today felt like a big finger pointing, wagging and whispering "I'm bad, but I'm not as bad as you people". You can't say "don't judge other mothers" and then come right back and judge them yourself.

    Her Bad Mother June 11, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Kelly – I'm sorry, who was I chastising? I'm not being snarky, I really don't get who you're referring to. Parents who abuse or neglect their children? I think that it's defensible to draw a line somewhere – I'm not a total relativist. Reclaiming bad doesn't mean actually trying to be BAD-bad – and I feel pretty comfortable saying that abusing or neglecting children is wrong.

    Or do you mean that I was chastising mothers who don't choose to embrace the 'Bad' label? My point was that we should be free to call ourselves what we want. We shouldn't be free to abuse children. I don't see how that follows from my arguments.

    Or maybe I'm missing your point?

    (And I closed comments because a) I was only clarifying this post, not adding anything, and b) am very close to being talked out on all this and didn't want to actively push it futher.)

    Comments on this entry are closed.

    { 1 trackback }

    Previous post:

    Next post: