being mom

Good Mother?

It’s a moment I’ll never forget: my howling baby girl, who had once again stayed quiet just long enough to hook myself up to the milking machine before starting to cry.

I ripped the horns from my breasts, howling myself in sheer frustration. If I wanted to breast feed, I needed to pump. How on earth was I supposed to make this work?

I picked her up, crying myself. As I cradled her, I told her that I just wasn’t cut out to be her mom. To be anyone’s mom. That life had dealt her a really shit hand, being stuck with me.

I told her I could never love her, and I believed it. Down to the very depths of my soul.


She’s learning to skate. She loves to dance. She spins like a dervish. So tonight we looked up “Figure Skating” on YouTube. We watched a clip – commentated in Italian – of Emily Hughes skating in the Torino Olympics. We watched her jump and spin. We watched her fall, and get back up again.

Over and over.

She picks up her little sister when she’s down. She tells me she loves me. Today, out of the middle of nowhere, she thanked me for making dinner. And tonight, as we watched Emily skate, the leaps and spins were punctuated with “Go go go go GO! YOU DID IT! Good job!” The cheers were heartfelt, the enthusiasm palpable.

It’s a moment I hope I never forget.


  1. Oh how I remember crying over my baby and wondering how she was going to survive with me as her mother, apologizing to her. It sucked. It sucks to remember.

    1. It really, really does. But I think we need to remember just enough to tell our daughters they’re not crazy if they ever have babies of their own and find themselves in the same place.

  2. I hear you. The bad mother moments are scary. But when my daughter gives me an unprompted hug and kiss, then tells me she loves me, I know I’m doing alright at being a mom. Even with all my parenting mistakes.

    1. I know! In the whole nature vs. nurture thing, it’s hard to tell where our kids get their amazingness from, but it’s nice to to realize that the parenting was at least un-catastrophic enough not to stamp out the good bits nature put there 🙂

  3. Yes. I read something by a mother who had been abused as a child that basically said people like us are stupid and offensive when we claim to be ‘bad’ mothers, because we clearly have no idea what a bad mother really is, and I could see her point, but geez – sometimes it’s really hard not to feel like a bad mother!

    1. Eep. That’s certainly an eye opener. Kinda like griping about “first world problems”. So I guess we’re not bad so much as whiny and insecure? I’ll buy that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *