I Am Not That Mom

I am Not that Mom

I am not that mom who sits on the floor with you playing My Little Pony for hours. I am not the mom who builds entire towns on Minecraft. I have never learned to play Pokémon and I never (ever) will. I am well aware of my failure in this aspect of parenting.

I am thankful for my husband, who excels in watching cartoons and playing video games. I smile when I see him and the kids tossing a football in the yard. (In the yard. No Throwing Balls in the House. Jesus.) I laugh when they wrestle and tickle and play, play, play.

I’m just not that mom.

I was the young soon-to-be mom, scared to death but determined, so determined, to bring you into this world and love you like no other. I was the single mother of two who worked long hours and still held dance parties with just my two boys where we sang at the top of our lungs and the laughter rang as loud as the music. Before you were even born, I was the mom eating cherry cheesecake so I could see you dance. (And because cheesecake.)

When I first saw you, I knew that you would hold my heart forever. Two more times I met my new sweet babies, and two more times my heart grew to wrap around all of you. When you were a baby, I was that mom who couldn’t sleep for looking at you. I can still feel you, so tiny, snuggled on my chest. When I see you asleep now, I still picture you curled up in footie pajamas, all wispy hair and dark lashes against perfect skin.

I was that mom who rocked you all night, patting and bouncing and shh, shh, shhing when you cried. I was the mom who panicked over every bump and bruise. I was the mom who kissed boo boos. I was the mom who spent untold hours waiting on casts for broken bones or bandages for cut fingers. (Safety scissors, my ass.) I was the mom whose leg you were firmly wrapped around the day we toured preschools. I was the mom who went to school online in order to work from home because you needed me.

I am the mom who signs notes and checks homework and packs lunches. I’m the mom who makes the doctor’s visits and dentist appointments and parent teacher conferences. I’m the mom who hasn’t worn anything but thrift store clothes for years so that you can go to school wearing clothes that are apparently hand-sewn by the famous athletes of the world.

I’m the mom who makes stupid jokes and sings off-key and acts sillier than I am just to see you smile. I’m the mom who wouldn’t trade those smiles for the entire world.

I’m the mom who loves you so much more than I could ever explain. And the mom who tries so hard to show you that.

But most times I feel like I am also the mom who is failing.

I’m the mom with chronic recurring depression. I’m the mom with generalized anxiety disorder. I’m the mom with PTSD. I’m the mom who has chronic migraines. I’m the mom with chronic pain. I’m the mom who sees more doctors than hairstylists. (Hahahahaha, I don’t even remember the last time I went to a stylist. But you have an appointment tomorrow.)

I am the mom who struggles every single day to accomplish the things that have to be done so that you can have a “normal” life. I am the mom who does your laundry even when I have to sit down to sort it. I’m the mom who makes sure the water bill gets paid so that you can shower. I’m the mom who clips your fingernails and buys you toothpaste and nags you to wear deodorant.

I’m also the mom who forgets things. Not the big stuff, like birthdays or Christmas, although there have been a few notes from the Tooth Fairy instead of cash. But I forget things that you already told me. I forget that when you were playing a video game yesterday, you scored 58 touchdowns and a free throw, and spawned…maybe a chicken? I don’t know. I forget.

But I’m also the mom who can tell in a single glance when you are upset, and who listens to you when you are sad and angry and when you are happy and excited, even if I do tend to forget your ponies’ names and LeBron’s stats and how to catch ’em all.

I’m the mom who wants to slay all your dragons and breathe fire on anyone who dares to hurt you.

I’m also the mom who too often hurts too much to cook dinner. I’m the mom who lets you eat an unhealthy amount of macaroni and pizza rolls. I’m the mom who has piles of clean laundry on the couch because my arms ache so badly I can’t fold it. I’m the mom who gets overwhelmed too easily. I’m the mom who has to hide when things get to be too much. I’m that mom who cries in the bathroom when I’ve let you down.

I’m the mom who stays awake at night worrying about you. I’m the mom who wishes she could save all your hugs and all your “I love you’s” and get them back out on the days when there are no hugs, just slamming doors.

I’m the mom who loves you SO MUCH. You are the children who save my life every day. I’m the mom who is trying to be the parent you deserve, even when I’m not the one you might want.


*EDITED TO ADD: I am completely overwhelmed by the response this post has gotten. I love all you guys so much,  and even though everyone keeps saying that I’ve made them feel less alone, the truth is that YOU GUYS have made me feel less alone. Thank you all SO much for every like, comment, share, and kind thought. I’ve been trying to respond to all the comments, but as I guess y’all know, I’m sick a lot. But I have read every single one of them, and each one brings a smile to my face or a tear to my eye and sometimes both. I just wanted everyone to know how much your love and compassion for each other and your “me too” and your stories have affected me.



About Steph

I like words. I suspect I would like sanity, but I really have no way of knowing. I can be reasonable, but not often. View all posts by Steph

323 responses to “I Am Not That Mom

  • Cheryl

    I’m in tears!

  • Jackie

    I am also this mom! The mom with RA and T1D who more often than not sits on the sidelines instead of participating. But I cheer them on with everything I have! We say I Love You everyday and hugs are a must! As long as they are happy and healthy I can with stand anything! Thank you for your courage! Xxxooo

    • Steph

      Thank you for this, coming here and leaving me such sweet words! My depression is hitting me hard right now, -and I needed the reminder that I’m not alone in this. Also, tonight my youngest, the last of my cuddlers, isn’t home! Thanks again. 🙂

  • Robin Kirby

    Love this. Thank you for taking the time to write this so we can all feel not so alone

  • mom2aprincess

    Just reread this and am in tears all over again. I am you! I have so many debilitating chronic illnesses it seems like I am never having a good day – but my daughter is my everything and I will go to the ends of the earth for her. I will power through horrible on to see her smile, but am thankful she considers a full meal something I can microwave for her – or her for herself!! My husband is amazing and such a great and involved Dad and I am ever thankful for that. Remember – we are enough – we just need to love our kids and guide them to be good people!!! You are awesome!!!

    • Steph

      Thank you! It’s funny–I must always feel like the worst mom ever in September! Every year this post pops back up, and every year I am so comforted by comments like yours. ❤

  • Katheryn

    I felt your words deep in the pit of my stomach. I was that mom. Now that my kids are all grown and living their lives with their children I am still that mom. Only difference being, now my grown children have no feelings for me because of the inability to function normally as they were growing up. I tried many years to hide my pain and hostilities. I loved my kids with all my heart and I have tons of wonderful memories but they only remember the worst ones. I pray that they are not going through what I did but my son is suffering debilitating depression. He has been married once with no children. I have one daughter with one child and another daughter with five children. I know that she suffers from the same issues because of self-medication.
    But, you know what? This is also the same time of year that I am hit with cat five depression and chronic pain. Thank you for sharing your life. I have to say that you are my hero. Being on the top end of the job that is the hardest even in the very best of circumstances. Bless you.

  • Christina

    I am also this mom! I have 4 children a daughter 16, a stepson 15, a 7yr old son who is mildly autistic or could possibly have mild asbergers and was recently diagnosed with severe asthma and a 5yr old son who has to be screened regularly because of a heart murmur. They challenge my mind, body and spirit, hourly forget daily…..Lol but I would completely die without them! They keep me motivated, remind me not to give up because they are watching, I have to keep going and pushing because that’s the kind of person I want them to be!! Everyday, everything is a struggle for me to be the mother they deserve. I am 37, I have rhumatoid arthritis, diagnosed with post traumatic migrains, degenerative disk disease, endometriosis, I have a laproscopic surgery done so many times I’ve lost count. I am bipolar, have horrid mood swings, and severely anti social at times. I also work 2 jobs and attend every parent teacher conference, open house, and any other school event I can for at least 3 of my kids. I also cheer my daughter on at cross country meets and support her in ROTC. I love this post!!! I love that I’m not the only one! When you have a bad day you think why me? What did I do to deserve this? I have been dealing with it for a long time and the only conclusion I can offer myself is strength. I can take on the world on any mediocre day because every struggle I’ve been through has prepared more for it and I know I’m not the only one. I get a yearly reminder in my news feed when I re share this post. Thank you for sharing and letting all of us that we are not alone.

    • Steph

      Thank YOU for sharing. I hear that a lot, that we are strong enough….sometimes it doesn’t feel like it though. The reaction to this post was so unexpected–I’m continually amazed and comforted by the comments and the kindness people have shown. People like you, and all the others I haven’t been able to reply to. ❤

  • Pamala Wright

    My sweet friend sends me this every year about this same time when I start feeling lower and worse than usual. I have a lot of chronic illness as well the most debilitating is the migraines and this season is football season and my younger son is so very good at it. So despite the endless laundry of practice uniforms and game day uniforms and the “wonderful” smells boys can create in the southern heat I’m there every practice, every game. I cheer, I jump, they don’t even offer me the megaphones anymore I’m so loud. To see him look up with that sweaty face and see me on the side lines makes my heart smile and even if for a second the pain goes away. Thank you for sharing this, and being a voice for other mothers who may have their moments of “not good enough”.

    • Steph

      Ha! I know exactly what you mean. Yesterday was full of panic attacks and freaking out, and then…somehow pulled my shit together and managed to get to a basketball game and then a football game! They save me, they really do. ❤

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