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8 Times I've Felt Like a Crap Mom

There is nothing I love more in this world than being a mother. Really and truly, being my little girl's mommy has been the best thing to ever happen to me.

But dammit if I don't sometimes feel like I'm doing a crap job of the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, most of the time, I think I'm a pretty kick-ass mommy. But every once in a while, usually when I'm exhausted or stressed out, I make mistakes (or choices) that have me questioning my qualifications for this gig. Like that time my toddler locked me out. Or...

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1. Peanut butter and jelly for dinner, two nights in a row

I'm good at a lot of things, but unfortunately none of those things occur in the kitchen. I try, I really do. Nutrition is actually something I care a lot about. But there are so many nights when we get home that all I want to do is play with my little girl. I don't want to waste any of the two hours we get before her bedtime cooking in the kitchen. So sometimes I opt for the easiest possible dinner I can think of: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I use organic, whole grain bread, natural peanut butter and 100 percent fruit preserves—telling myself that all of these things lead to a perfectly well-balanced meal. But in reality, I know; PB&J multiple nights a week is nothing to brag about.

2. Giving into a tantrum, just to avoid the public scene

Oh, the tantrums! I swear, I am usually so on top of those things. But there has been an occasion (or two) when I have sensed one coming to a head in public, and I just wanted to do whatever I could to avoid it. So, I gave her the damn cookie (or juice or blanket or stuffed animal or whatever the hell it was she was screaming for) and I prayed I hadn't just irreparably spoiled her.

I want to believe that all mothers have these moments. ... But when they happen, the guilt is always there.

3. Those times she bounced

They say that babies bounce. Or at least, that's the joke—because apparently all babies roll off a piece of furniture at least once. Right? Well my baby didn't just roll off the couch onto the carpeted floor. No, she had two falls within her first 8 months that were far more traumatic than that: one off of my bed, onto the rock hard treadmill that was beside it, and the other, face first out of her high chair to the ground. In my exhaustion, I had forgotten that I had just put the tray on and not buckled her in. So when I took it off, she flew. And while she was OK, there were a lot of tears shed. From both of us.

4. Getting frustrated over night-time tears, only to realize the next day that she's sick

You know what I'm talking about: those nights when your kid is crying and waking up every 40 minutes, and you are exhausted and annoyed, sure that it's all part of some big sleep-avoidance plan. Then they get up the next morning with a 103 temperature, and you realize that you're kind of a jerk. So you spend the whole day cuddling your kiddo and feeling awful, because what kind of parent takes 12 hours to realize their child is sick?

5. Watching her hit another kid

There is probably no moment more shameful (at least, during these early parenting years) than watching your child pull back and smack another kid, particularly when that other kid is smaller and younger. Unfortunately, I've witnessed this more than I care to admit in the last few months. And while we are absolutely working on the hitting (pretty intensely, in fact) I feel a new wave of shame every time it happens.

6. When she got into my medication, twice

I have one medication that I take on a regular basis for my thyroid. Because I have to take it first thing in the morning, I have always kept it in my nightstand. That was until I walked around the corner one day to find that my 15-month-old had not only procured the bottle, she had somehow managed to open it and take at least two pills. Panicked, I called poison control. They assured me thyroid medication wasn't a big worry, and that if anything, it might just make her a little more hyper than normal. But they did instruct me to put it in a higher location.

So, I did, on a shelf on the other side of the room above my bed, far out of reach for little hands. I thought there was no way she could get to it ... until I walked in the room a month later to discover she (in the two minutes I had been in the bathroom) had climbed on the bed and then onto a dresser to get the medication, which she again managed to open and take (childproof bottles my ass). This time? Five pills. Again, I was on the phone with poison control, feeling like a terrible mom and praying they weren't going to call CPS on me. (They didn't, and she was fine, but still.)

7. Three movies in one day

I tend to be pretty strict about screen time, but as a single, work-from-home mom, there have been one or two occasions when I have needed my little girl occupied so that I could meet whatever deadline I was up against. That influx of movies has thrilled her, but it has left me feeling less than grand.

8. That time I ruined Easter

I woke up Easter morning this year incredibly sick: muscle aches, vomiting, the works. And suddenly, all our great plans for the day were out the window. My girl didn't get to hunt for eggs with her friends or eat a big meal with our Alaskan family. Instead she stayed in bed with me all day, having one of those movie days I'm so not proud of. I even let her eat spaghetti in my bed, purely because I couldn't fathom sitting at the table with her. And while none of that was my fault (it was not a self-inflicted illness), and she wasn't old enough to know the difference, I still felt awful. We had such big plans for the day, but because of me, we never stepped out of the house.

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There have been times in the last two years when I called my dad and sobbed, "I'm a terrible mom!" On other occasions, those same words have escaped my lips with a nervous laugh to friends. I want to believe that all mothers have these moments—that it's not just me; I'm not actually terrible. But when they happen, the guilt is always there.

Tell me I'm not alone? Have you ever felt like a crap mom?

Image via Leah Campbell

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