Confessions of a Bad Mother

Confessions of a Bad Mother Review

Reading Confessions of a Bad Mother by Stephanie Calman had me laughing out loud.

An honest account of how it really is to be a mother. Yes I’ve read all the baby manuals and how to be a great parent and bring up my child in the best possible way… but do these books really tell you how it is?

I am not one of those perfectly groomed mothers, I don’t wear make up every day and high heels. I just sort of get by as best as I can with what I have (usually unwashed hair and sleep still in my eyes). I try and be consistent with my kids, except when I am tired of course and then anything goes as long as I can get through the day.

While reading this book I felt Stephanie Calman wrote it specially for me.

If you love reading and you are a mom, you are sure to enjoy this book.

I felt exactly the same when I had my first baby: terrified and wondering whether I would be able to do it. On my daughter’s first birthday it was more a celebration for me, an accomplishment. I had managed to keep another being firstly alive, but also well cared for. I honestly didn’t think I would be able to do it.

Here is a wonderful excerpt from her book:

I should never have become a parent. It’s impossible. In the magazines, parenting looks like a cruise. When you get there, it’s a tiny rowing boat, in a storm. And some bastard’s not put in any oars.

I don’t do everything right, in fact I do a lot of things completely wrong.

Here are my top 5 Confessions of a Bad Mother:

  • I feed my children chips, lots of them

Yes I am well aware of the fact they are filled with MSG and everything bad. They do however have some good points. The kids love them. If I take a trip with my kids one of the first things I pack are chips. I need them to get to our destination sane.

  • I used biscuits to keep my son happy

My son (that was a surprise) was in the office with me from 2 weeks old until 1 year old. He loves biscuits and I used them to be able to get some work done. If he started complaining I gave him biscuits so I could squeeze in a little more work.

  • I left my kids in the cot until they complained in the mornings

It is a long day with children and I make sure it starts as late as possible. Until my kids started moaning I left them in the cot to play. I still do that with my son. It means I might just manage to have a hot cup of coffee before work and get their bags packed for creche without them hanging on me.

  • I let them watch tv

Yes a big time Bad Mother crime. If tv will get them to sit still and quiet for a little while I will do it!

  • Boring lunchboxes

I pack the same thing for them for creche everyday. I just can’t seem to come up with anything original so they get a banana, a yoghurt, half a sandwich and a packet of chips. The flavour of the yoghurt and chips changes daily and the fillings in the sandwich also changes daily. See I make an effort!

  • Sometimes I spank

I know I shouldn’t and I try my best but sometimes I lose my cool and I smack my 3 year old daughter on her bum. I am not the most patient person and my daughter has become cheeky and pushes boundaries all the time. I try all the Good methods like sending her to her room, withholding privileges and the naughty corner. These do no always work. On the few occasions when I have given her a smack she has been good as gold for a long time afterwards. I on the hand have suffered with guilt long after she has forgotten the incident.

What are your Confessions of a Bad Mother?

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  1. Loved this one, Was one of my favorites 🙂

  2. Love this so true ,I know I’m gulity of being a bad mom

  3. I think all of us moms are guilty of doing those things. Like you said, we’re human. Whatever works for you and your child, is what’s best. All the parenting books in the world can’t accomodate for real life situations we have to face daily, such as work and time crunches. And, maybe sometimes those lunches aren’t as healthy as they could be. But it’s not like a few chips or cookies here and there will add up to anything too bad. These pacifiers are sanity saves, we have to use them. 🙂

    Most times, if I give a treat, then I will make up for it later with her meals by serving more healthy options such as fruit, bananas, whole wheat bread, etc. Don’t worry, it all balances out.

  4. My Mom always said “you didn’t come with a set of instructions, so I’m doing my best, unless you got a better idea”
    Sounds like a great little book Lynne:)

    • Hey Peter, yes it was a great read. It is not often that I read a book and I am giggling to myself. I know what you mean, there are just no clear set of instructions to raise children. And once I have got something and understand it, the exact moment when I start thinking “Hey I got this” then everything changes again and I seem to be over my head again!

  5. Being a Mother is difficult. I know this because I was a difficult child. I was bouncing off the walls on a good day and completely uncontrollable on a bad one. My mother used to put soda in my bottle to appease me. I wound up with teeth decay. (Bottle Rot) Was she a bad mother? Nah, she was just making the best of a situation the best way she knew how. Isn’t that all anyone can do really? We are only human, and we have needs to, if we forego our own our health will decline and the care we give our loved ones will go down. We cannot be completely selfless. Although it sounds romantic, we just don’t work that way.

    • Hey Tommy
      Yes I agree with you there, sometimes we have to let things slide a bit. Sounds like you were a difficult child to cope with!

  6. It’s fun to read, but I feel guilty of not being a mother like that, I didn’t have time to do that kind of things toward my son. It is because I left him when he was 18 months old to work overseas, and look after other people kids.

    • Hi Renelyn

      That is so sad, it must have been incredibly hard to do that! It just goes to show, the things I feel guilty about are things you would have loved to be able to do. Thank you for putting a different spin on this. I hope you are getting to spend a lot of time with your son now.

  7. hi Lynne!
    Love love love your honesty! I have no kids but worked with kids for 10 years. And I am convinced that if I had kids, chips and cookies would be in the picture. I do not know how I would manage my days with kids. The days are long and tiring and never ending as it seems. I would certainly try to start the day with the kids as late as possible and plug in a DVD so I can get some work done.
    I think that, as with everything, it is a matter of balance. No one has all their shit together. So let’s not pretend to. We try to be there for everyone including the kids. But we are all tired at some point. And we model that for our kids. That no one is perfect and that we all have bad days. And if we make a mistake then we show them how to repair it. And yes it will involve chips….

  8. Love it!!! I just love seeing that other moms struggle like I do. But I firmly believe that each and everyone of us are still good mothers.

    My husband works away and is gone most of the time so I do almost everything alone. I love my little lady, I couldn’t have asked for a more well behaved child but sometimes Mommy just needs a break.

    My confession list would be long but I will say that Netflix is my best friend, she plays my iPad more then I do, and sometimes she does get pop as a treat. Oh and this mommy doesn’t always use her indoor voice. oops.

    Thanks Lynne, This was great. Put a smile on my face.

    • Hi Melody

      Glad to hear that I am not the only naughty mommy! Geez that must be hard with your hubby being away often. I struggle on the days when my hubby comes home an hour later than usual on the odd occasion LOL. I wonder how single moms manage to cope!

  9. Hi Lynne,

    I’m so sorry all the moms out there that feels guilt for being a bad mom.

    So I have to shoot in a positive comment here 😉 and I hope you don’t mind… I think all mom is a good mom. Think about the period with pregnancy, for most pregnant women it’s a hard time. And when after giving birth you start to take care and give them love and comforting.

    I admire all moms and for their hard work with the babies. I hope you all understand that you’re special and never doubt on your self.

    “Tough times don’t last, tough people do!”

    Keep being awesome 🙂


    • Hi Nam
      I couldn’t agree with you more, this is about us feeling guilty not really being bad moms!
      We do what we can to get through the day and that’s it really. Thank you for your input!

  10. Well I guess I fall into the “bad mother” category! I have done all five things listed in the top 5 confessions of a bad mother.
    You do what you have to do to get by. I was making my son PB & J sandwiches for lunch but now have found it useful to let him have lunches at school. He was complaining that he had it everyday- he should be grateful he’s getting any lunch at all! Yes I have no patience left; I have 3 kids and I am constantly tired so what if I slip up once in a while?
    This book looks like I would enjoy reading it. She confesses everything and I can totally relate. Yes you love your kids but sometimes they are a pain in the butt!

    • Hi Dinh, you got that right! Sometimes it is just about survival for me, to get through the day And by the way at the moment my kids get Melrose sandwiches every day. If they complain I switch to jam until they complain again and then it is back to Melrose! I wish I could do better but the mornings are the hardest sometimes.

      The book was lovely and I really enjoyed the way she told things exactly the way they were, the way her relationship with her husband changed, the arguments they had… makes me feel human!

  11. I ain’t mad atcha. I’m a mother of four and early on it was tough because mine are close in age. I wanted them close in age. That was a choice because I wanted them all graduated from high school and onto adulthood so I could get my life back.

    When my twins were born the girls were 11/2 and 3 years old. It was hell the first 6 months of the boys lives because they were lousy sleepers. So if it meant leaving them in the swing to sleep longer than I should then that’s what I did for my sanity. They were happy and I was happy because I got sleep.

    A couple of weeks ago my sister thanked me for not allowing the depression of postpartum get to me. What she was really saying was, “thank you for not killing my nieces and nephews”. This is why I say you do what you have to do that doesn’t cause harm to your child so you can make it through.

    I wish you well.

    • Hi Rawl, oh my that is a very tight age gap between all your kids. It must have been really tough! I’m finding it getting a little bit easier now that my daughter has just turned 4 and my son is turning 2 in a month. I have no idea how any mom of twins makes it through with her sanity, well done!

  12. My mom has recently past away at 46 and this kind of touched base with me. she was in no way a bad mother but at times I sure acted like she was. truth be told she just was a mother and there is no easy task to put another human being before yourself. So as long as you really love your baby your not a bad mother. Thant being said raising kids is probably the single most important thing someone could so. how old are yours?

    • Hi Darren. I am so sorry you lost your mom, so sad at such a young age 🙁
      I agree with you, moms love their kids and do the best they can at the time. Mine are 4 years and 2 years old, thankfully it is getting a little easier now!

  13. Oh Lynne, don’t feel bad about spanking. Sometimes it’s the only thing that works. The thing to remember though is not to do it in anger and also to decide which battles are worth it. (For instance a child should not be spanked for spilling milk. But they can be spanked if they are willfully attempting to touch something that will hurt them.) If you are not in control take a time out even if it means locking yourself in the bathroom for 5 minutes. Then come back when you are calm and tell you child (at their eye level) “Please do not do this.” If he/she doesn’t listen, say: “If you do this again mommy is going to spank you.” And if they do it again, then follow through. Afterward make sure to hug and say you love them and tell them why they were punished.
    If spanking is done the right way, with love and not in anger, then there is nothing wrong with it, despite what all the modern books say. I hate spanking my kid, but when he forces me, I will do it.
    The rest of the stuff isn’t that bad. Yes, one strives for perfection (vegetables, no tv, etc), but in reality it is just not possible. Sure, you could do EVERYTHING right 100% of the time, but you wouldn’t last a week. Sanity would go right out the window and with your sanity will go your household’s happiness, since the wife is the person that sets the mood in the home.
    In the end every parent has to do what they can and ignore the haters. 🙂

    • Hi Juhani
      Thanks for your feedback, I agree with everything you have said. It is very much about my own sanity of course. I try for consistency, it that goes well enough… until I am tired of course! The spanking always bothers me. I don’t spank often, but when I do I feel terrible about it. Mother’s guilt? I suppose we must just learn to live with it!

      • If you don’t believe in spanking then may I make a recommendation? Maybe check out Supernanny… you can find some episodes on Youtube. It comes down to 3 things: 1. Set clear rules. 2. Communicate clearly. 3. Follow through (be firm). So whatever punishment you choose, just stand strong in it. I don’t know if that helps. I only have one child and he’s 2, so not even really at a bad age yet, so I am not one to be doling out advice!
        Good luck 🙂 Discipline is probably most parents’ least favourite part of parenting.

      • Thanks Juhani. My mom recommended I watch Supernanny too, but I haven’t found the time and then I forgot. I’ll check it out, thanks for reminding me 🙂

  14. Now I don’t feel so bad and guilty 🙂 lol Im not alone.

  15. You / We are not bad mothers.
    We just have to do these things to not loose our shit!!!
    My friend gave her son cheese curls – if he cries he gets a cheese curl – i know its not right but today he’s 8 years old and there’s nothing wrong with him.
    I let Marli watch tv…. yes! Im not leaving her there the whole day but it really helps if i need to go put washing on the line or to open a bottle of cooldrink or take out the trash….

  16. We are not bad mothers though I mean sometimes we do things differently

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