10 Uncomfortable Confessions From an Imperfect Mom

Mom Moment 40

1. I am estranged from my father and I have a polite but extremely distant relationship with my mother and I sometimes worry that my lack of family bonds and fear of rejection damaged a number of buried but critical internal structures that will forever prevent me from forming intimate friendships and will repeatedly surface in ways that will negatively affect how I parent my children.

Well! So much for easing you into the topic, right?

Actually, I have no overarching topic today, just a series of confessionals. No reason, aside from the fact that sometimes it feels cathartic to peel off some unsavory truths and lay them out in the open. You're only as sick as your secrets, they say. I have no idea if that's true, but like Mulder, I want to believe.

2. My 5-year-old greatly prefers my husband and it has been at times the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. My oldest went through a Daddy phase too, but this is different. This is something I often take personally even though I know I shouldn't. Every slight and refusal digs into me and carves a new wound. I worry that I make it worse by pulling back but I can't seem to help it. My older son feels sorry for me and comforts me and tells me, "I want to be on Mommy's team because Dylan never is," and it stirs up the most confusing murk of emotional flotsam: sorrow, self-pity, a grasping gratitude for my 7-year-old's sensitivity, a hateful internal inventory of everything that must be wrong with me and every reason my husband is the superior parent.

3. I constantly compare myself to the sort of mother I think I'm supposed to be and come up short every time. I worry about how my children will remember me. I secretly want to be beautiful and capable in their eyes, loving and gentle and brave. Perfect. The good queen from a fairytale -- when in reality I am sarcastic, impatient, fearful, weak. Not the evil queen, exactly, but flawed and unlovely and all too human.

4. At nearly 40 years old, I am neither a talented homemaker nor an accomplished career woman. If there is a dream to be followed, a passion to pursue, I do not know what mine is. Some days I'm okay with the goal of being present and doing the best I can in my various roles. Other days I wonder what happened to the ambitious, driven person I used to be.

5. Speaking of, I once ran a marathon. I did a sprint triathlon. I worked out with a personal trainer. I was strong and fit and confident. Now I'm so out of shape I threw out my back lifting groceries into the trunk of my car. I'm scared I will never be able to crawl out of this fitness slump I've been in for two years and counting, and I'll spend the rest of my life feeling lazy and unattractive and unhealthy.

6. I'm terrified my children will inherit my alcoholism.

7. I resent the drudgery of stay-home motherhood, and the way I am responsible yet receive no recognition for the most boring and unsavory tasks while my husband gets to walk in the door at 5:30 every day to a clean house and a hero's welcome.

8. I am lonely.

9. I know that every time I feel defensive or judgmental about someone else's parenting choices, it's because I am less than confident about my own.

10. I will never understand how I came to be so lucky as to have my amazing family. My beautiful, miraculous, wild little boys. My devoted, forgiving, loving husband. Every day I tell myself the same thing: If I only do one thing right in my life, please, please, please. Let it be this.

The floor is open, dear readers. Do you have any difficult confessions of your own to share?

Image via Linda Sharps

drugs & alcohol, family


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BiBi Frederick Waltslady

 I am with you on EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE Linda!!! And I am only 27 on my first child and in my very first serious relationship with a MAN! I am faaaar from perfect and my almost 2 year is in awe of his father follows him everywhere and does EVERYTHING he does- he pulls away from me when I want to love on him and gives me dirty looks when I call his name- It makes me feel like pure shit sometimes- and no matter how much my honey tells me how wonderful of a mother I am- I dont ever feel like I am- Maybe its just insecurities, but I never feel like im good enough or doing a good enough job

gabe05 gabe05

My 10 and 8 year old have only had one birthday party each because the idea of inviting their friends over for a party and the thought that noone might show up keeps me awake at night.  (Both parties were great successes with nearly every invited guest there.)  I have to force myself to carry on conversations with other adults, so you can guess how many play dates my kids have.  The only reason they have social lives is because I have the sense to have them involved in many good activities where they make friends and have a blast.  I compare myself daily to all the social moms and think of how much better life is for their kids.  I am confident all moms have things they feel eternally guilty about.

Sarah... SarahHall58

Being aware of the things that bother can help you to move on but you have to put the time and effort into working these things out. Now that you know and are aware of your fears, you're the only person stopping yourself from fixing it.

Melis... Melissa1508

There are several things on your list that apply to me.  I truly think sometimes that I simply carried my 5 year old for 9 months and from that point on she has belonged to her father.  I think she hates me sometimes (I'm sure she doesn't) and I feel terrible for feeling jealous when I see how she interacts with my husband.  My 1 year old is a very loving little girl and she seems to be a mama's girl (thankfully).  I struggle with it everyday.  I have a good relationship with my parents, but I have major issues from growing up in a house full of yelling and arguing and never resolving issues.  I'm 32 years old and sometimes I act like a 16 year old when I don't get my way or if I feel like I'm not winning an argument and I blame this on my mom.  Ultimately it's up to me to change it but it's hard to change a learned behavior.  I'm definitely with you, Linda.

the4m... the4mutts

While I have my own set of secrets, the one of yours that I can relate to, is the boy liking his dad better.

I have a 7yr old daughter. I was so THRILLED to have a girl, because my first was a boy. She was the first baby I nursed, the first I got to buy frilly things for, and the first to co-sleep with me. Yet, from the time she was 6 weeks old, she hated me. I was overjoyed with every aspect of her, and she screamed if I touched her when not nursing, or doing something she wanted.

Toddler-hood? Forget about it. She ran to daddy and never listened to a thing I said. She drove a wedge between him and I, and honestly, my daughter played a big part in the ruination of my marriage to her father.

But now? She is 7. She is tiny, she is beautiful, and she loves nobody on this earth as much as she loves her mommy.

I resented her for a while too. But she was a child, so I faked it. Pretended she didnt bother me, and I think she saw how much effort I put into parenting once she was in kindergarten. My other 3 were already mommy's babies. Now? I couldnt as for 4 more devoted children.

Hello07 Hello07

Wow love this article. Very well written.

B1Bomber B1Bomber

This is heartbreaking. When will we learn that we are worthy just because we are human? Our worth is not defined by how high we climb the ladder, how clean we keep the kitchen floor, how fast we run a mile.

We deserve our happy, imperfect families. We deserve to be loved. Life should be embraced and enjoyed, not suffered through because we keep trying to measure our success against some imaginary standard.

Keya25 Keya25

Linda, I Love you. I have followed your personal blog from the beginning, so I feel like we're distant friends. You are doing SO MUCH more than you think you are and I myself compare my life and the things that I do and dont do to you and many other mothers. I feel guilty after realizing it was the perfect day to walk ACROSS the street to go to the park with my son and I didnt. I feel guilty that I havent taught him, my 3yo more than 5 words to spell. I feel guilty that I dont cook everyday and I feel even more guilty that I love party planning and writing that at almost 30 I have done none of this and I feel its too late for me to even start and try, knowing its not true but being too scared to just start. Insecure, indecisive, lazy. The only reason i am able to share this is because Im behind my desk, anonymous to you all. I wish I could hug you all and we can gain comfort knowing it will be all right.

nonmember avatar Mae

Wow--tears flowing at 9:46am from my cold, stoney heart. I am all of those things, and I don't know how to fix any of them. I don't even smile much anymore; I'm so tired of faking things, I have no hope for anything in my life getting better, except for the sweet release of death. My kids rarely have sleepovers at our house simply because i'm so scared their friends will find out what a loser I am, and then they would be paying yet again for my inadequacies. I don't know what to do anymore, but I appreciate knowing there are others "out there" that are struggling in the same way, too. I'm "that mom" who sits all by herself at sports practices, sits by herself at kids' games, keeps to herself at those dreaded birthday parties, etc. I'm not "snobby", I'm just terrified and ashamed that others will find out just how screwed up I am. I sometimes think it was really unfair of me to have kids since I'm failing them by not being the best mom I could be. Between work, their sports, & work around the house I get probably 3-4 hours with them a day. That is a travesty of my own making, and I pay for it every day with my self-loathing and guilt. It's tough, but we as women and moms just plaster that fake ass smile on and keep going through the motions. How can we help one another? How can we help ourselves?

nonmember avatar Lori

Re: #1 ... my 3-year old, who is very attached to the idea of family ... has no idea I have a sister. I have not spoken to my sister in 5 years. My brother lives with us, so she only knows of him ... yet, I just had another baby girl ... and have no clue how to raise sisters when I have not succeeded at being a sister ..

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