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June 11, 2009


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Little Miss Sunshine State

I don't think this came off as preachy at all.
I get calling yourself a "bad mom" if you're joking about it.
I knew a Mom who was dead serious when she would tell me how she never washed her kid's clothes or put clean sheets on their beds or cooked a meal. I know way too many Moms who bragged about letting their kids raise themselves.
Most of the time I wanted to ask them "so why did you HAVE kids?"

I couldn't even blog about this because it WOULD be too preachy


I appreciate your point. I'm not really sure about the trend yall are talking about, since it seems to exist almost solely in the media. I do, however, think there is a space for those of us in this world who are are great parents and have messy houses.

Student Mum

I agree there is a trend of claiming to be a 'bad mum' but I think that in reality it's more of a 'rebelling but not really kind of boast' - they probably clean as much as the rest of us but want people to think they are 'too cool to clean!' Personally I find doing and talking about housework boring so I do it but don't have conversations about it - there are more interesting things going on in the world than the best way to dust! Conversely at our school gate there can be a kind of 'one-up-manship on the amount of housework done in any one week/day - conversations run along the lines of - I spent all day cleaning countered with 'well I spent all day all night cleaning and I'm doing it again tomorrow' - a competition to see who martyrs themselves more! They probably are the real bad mums who secretly drink all day!!

PS: I had a much wittier post than this but lost it before I published it by hitting the wrong key!

Student Mum

PPS: I consider myself a 'good enough' mum too. I don't always get it right but I do my best and I have three healthy, happy, balanced daughters.

Reluctant Blogger

I'm with you absolutely on the being good enough bit. In my opinion far too many people "over" parent and don't let their children develop independence or even into their own person.

I don't think I've ever referred to myself as a Bad Mum. Not sure. Maybe jokingly. But I have no interest in housework at all. That is not something I consider to be important. I think I do good things for my children and we together as a family do what is necessary in terms of looking after the house. But I could never take pride in a clean house - it just isn't me. I do joke about being crap at cooking (cos I am) but again it is not important enough to me to make any efforts to change that. But I do what is necessary - my children eat pretty well no junk food, it's just that the stuff I cook either looks good or tastes good but never both at the same time.

I don't think the mechanics of housekeeping have much to do with being a good (or even good enough) mother to my mind.

But you can come and clean for me any time you like. Oh and cook. haha actually I bet we would just sit around and drink wine!!

Student Mum

Relauctant Blogger: you are right the mechanics of housekeeping do not denote a 'good mother/parent'. I think it's just one way to measure whether or not we are good enough women! Not a good measure I hasten to add - I think the difference nowadays to my mother's day is that I, and most other women I know, have a life independent/seperate from their children - socialising, studying etc. The bad Mum tag is one that can be used to criticise a mother who has a life outside of the home by those that think that they shouldn't and has evolved into one used ironically by mothers who don't care what those commentators think. It has perhaps evolved into a term used less ironically by some who want to, as I said earlier, appear cool! Seems we never leave the playground/high school and urge to associate with the 'naughty' kids!


I don't really run into this too much. Most of the moms I know are either honest about the trials and tribulations, or they try to be super mom. I definitely agree that regardless of your job, you should try to do your best.

Jen on the Edge

I just try to do the best job I can and don't worry about the rest.


I was unaware of this trend (I live in a vacuum) but I certainly hear what you are saying.
I'm not a perfect mom, but I think I do a pretty good job. There is room for improvement (sometimes a lot of room); sometimes it is hard to expend the effort when no one else sees it, esp. in regards to housework.
While I am not proud of the clutter in my house, I still invite people in. This has been helpful to a perfectionist friend of mine who formerly would not let anyone in her house if it wasn't Perfectly Clean.


Hmm, this is thought-provoking. I'm a SAHM but a crap housekeeper. I've always hated cleaning. I'm no good at it, inefficient, and spectacularly crabby both when I need to do it and while I'm doing it. Then I decided to control my own job description...I hired a housekeeper. It took sacrifice in other areas (cutting down on eating out, clothes shopping, Starbucks), but I gained a cleaner house and a better attitude, which affects the kind of mom I am to my kids.

Just that small tweak in my job description has given me more fulfillment and happiness in the areas I do enjoy: cooking, yardwork, parenting, and more time for writing. Win-win!


I so agree about the work ethic! It's important to take pride in the work you choose to do, even being a parent. There is nothing easy about parenting.

Last night I was feeling like a really bad mom, I went along with my husband as he gave my son his 3rd driving lesson... I was a nervous wreck. After it was all over I thought there was no way I could take him driving, it'll have to be something only my husband does and I felt really bad about that. I have to accept that's one aspect of parenting/teaching that I can only do by example, since I drive him all over town.

I loved reading all the comments here. Very thought provoking.


I've always thought the "bad mom" thing was a backlash against all those "perfect moms" out there. I got sick of hearing about the perfectly decorated houses, straight A kids, constantly volunteering, scrapbooking alpha moms. I never thought anyone who claimed to be a "bad mommy" really thought they were one. I'm also a proponent of "good enough." Because I'm not perfect. I'm in a whole different zip code than perfect.


imom, you gave birth to the kid. Ergo, your husband does the driving lessons. That's how the division of labor (pun intended) goes at our house, and we are both okay with it.

Definitely a backlash phenom that you are observing, Jenn. Too much Martha Stewart, too much raising of the bar, and of course moms will rebel. We need a "good enough" movement for us mothers, right?

The housekeeping thing stems from frustration - when the kids are young and it's impossible to maintain control, some women get discouraged and give up. Also, they are discouraged by how high the bar is raised in our society - I've found that it is impossible to both be driving my kids all over the place and be home preparing yummy meals and tidying my house and folding the laundry. Guess what falls by the wayside for a lot of women?

Kate Coveny Hood

I am guilty of this - but really just the talk. I refer to my "poor parenting skills" a lot. But I'm just refering to how I often fall so short no matter how hard I try... More than anything - it's just humor-related. So I hope that all of the other "bad moms" out there are the same: doing their best but trying to find a little humor in their imperfection.


I agree with you wholeheartedly. This is my job, I try to do the best I can everyday....nothing is perfect, but we still have to try our best to raise good kids in a fairly clean house. Not Martha Stewart style, but giving the kids the basic knowledge of taking pride in your home and your stuff. It is a life lesson that is lacking in some homes.
I'm not nearly perfect, nor do I consider myself a bad Mom. I'm shooting for balance and 'middle of the road.'

Don Mills Diva

I agree - I get that the BAD MOMMY! term is meant to be self-deprecating but I question why women always feel the need to be self-deprecating.

I'm a good mom because I do the best I can and that's all anyone does and I'm just not crazy about any trend that labels any of us as GOOD! or BAD!.

I certainly didn't mean to ignite a firestorm over it, nor did I expect to be flamed over my opinion all over the internet.


I tend to be terrified of being a Bad Mom in any sense, joking or otherwise. I am new to the whole stay at home thing, and also a tad paranoid at not doing a good job at it. It's just as much for me as them. I feel good when my house is clean, my child entertained, myself showered and made up. I know that the days I spend on the couch are the ones I feel worst.

I am for sure with you on striving to be good at whatever I do. Maybe it's a pervasive fear of letting down the people around me; children, husband, and previously my boss.


This is a good post about how to handle it all, and I find that I use a bunch of these tricks even though I don't "work" at home...



Sheesh have I been off the mark. When I call myself a "bad" mother I'm refering to making my kids toe the line and meet expectations.

Manic Mommy

I don't see the point in taking pride in doing a job poorly. I'll admit to being to hard on myself (see title of my current post) or falling short of my goals but in general, I'm doing my best. These are my kids we're talking about here.


Great post and posts..just got caught back up. I love the quote "work is love made visible" by Kahlil Gibran. That is how I feel about work, aspire to feel about work and it perfectly fits the work of a SAHM or SAHD.

Your daughter is an AMAZING artist! Wow is all I can say and those are some of my favorite flowers too!

I believe we have had this conversation before, your dad, my dad=the same. Hard to deal with complicated characters and I like your thinking in its regards.

Regarding the wee fit or whatever it's called, My Old Man's best friend (who is very fit btw) hates his wee whatever it's called because it called him overweight too. I don't know what it thinks is acceptable, but I find it unacceptable in it's observations!


I get the feeling that the 'bad mom' trend is more in the written word (blog/media) than in reality. At least hope it is.
It's easy and safe to write about being a 'bad mom' and make it seem funny. I don't know anyone in real life who strives to be a less than adequate parent.
Sometimes it's a nice escape to read about others less-than-perfect parenting when many mothers live in stepford wife towns. I don't have a problem with the comic relief effect of this in blogs, though.


My mom was a stellar homemaker, imho, and it something that I fail at miserably. When I was a SAHM, I envied the women who had the perfect houses because as much as I tried, I never could keep it clean beyond five minutes or so.

Just like any job, we all have to find our niche. While I usually tried to do my best in keeping house, it definitely was (and never will be) my niche. However, I think I've been a pretty damn good teacher. I've worked with teachers who have done their very best, but you know that teaching is clearly not where they belong.

I'm also with Fannie on this whole "bad mom" moniker. When my kids were small and didn't like a decision I made, I would tell them, "gee, I'm sorry that you have a bad mom (or mean mom) who never lets you have your way." Or something along those lines.

stephanie (bad mom)

Hey thanks for the link, and for appreciating the irony in my title - you know the story behind it [plus you're just smart :D]; I am just recently realizing that I get lumped into those who truly are behaving badly or those fishing for compliments. Both things make me shudder.

I love my mom job and my teacher job and my wife job, and I do the best I can on any given day, which is all should be expected of anyone.


If I could just get my mother to admit she was a bad mom I could stop therapy.

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