Maybe I Just Need to Be Monitored

You know, like Britney.

I think I’m a better parent when *other* people are around. Vistors, family, whatever…I’m on my best behavior.

Less yelling. Less total loss of temper over stupid things like who’s turn it might be to use the nintendo ds.

I don’t think I’m Joan Crawford or anything when people are  *not* around, but I certainly get along better with everyone. Or maybe when no one is looking (which is a whole LOT) I’m just lazy.

Lazy Queen. Do laundry, sure…put it away…hell no. Lunch? Thaw a peanut butter jelly frozen thingy. Candy? Yeah, go ahead, I don’t feel like arguing.

Then there is the “Mom away on trip, kids act like perfect angels for inlaws, babysitter, teachers, father, grandparents, etc.” “Mom home and children turn into psychotic little people and melt down over everything and act like barbarians.”

So what does all of this lead me to believe? That maybe work is good and I need to be away from them more. They hate it. But they are BETTER when I am not around. It’s as if life is MORE NORMAL for them if I am not there.

Do I want to be away more? Depends on the day. Not really, but sometimes yes. Maybe I’m just having a bad day but I feel horrible at this “mom” job sometimes.

I work from home too much.

I don’t get down on the floor and play enough.

I yell too much.

I’m lazy about responding to their 400 questions or requests.

I look forward to dinner time so I can pour wine.

I worry all my son’s quirks (he’s currently sniffing his fingers 300 times an hour) are my fault.

I worry I’m too hard on my daughter.

And instead of doing anything, I do nothing. I say ok to cake at 1030am and read blogs.


Blogging helps me think all these things out. Writing has always made me feel better. So just writing all those things makes me realize I’m not awful. I’m not the worst mom ever. I need to improve, yes…but it’s not like these children are neglected. I think. I hope.

Anyway, before I cry. Come visit, you know, for the sake of the kids.


  1. Yep, so many of the same situations and feelings go on here – and I don’t do any non-mom jobs! I think so many of us are feeling the same way. Whenever I talk about it to people they tell me to get away from the kids more often so I’ll appreciate them more when I come home. But like you, I often want to stay out once I’m away. Maybe we burned ourselves out early? That’s a sad thought.

  2. Wait? I’m supposed to be waiting until dinner to pour the wine.


  3. We ALL feel this way at times. And most women I know are hard on themselves, especially when it comes to worrying if we’re doing a good job with our kids. You’re OK. If you never had these kinds of thoughts and worries, you wouldn’t be normal.

    And we do want our kids to be perfect angels with everyone else, don’t we? Just as you are letting your hair down and being yourself when you are home, so are they 🙂

  4. Okay, so here’s my take. We’re all (from toddlers on up) better-behaved for those outside our immediate family. I used to teach preschool, and the kids who howled the most when mommy was saying goodbye were, 99% of the time, completely FINE once she was out of sight. They’re good for “outsiders” because they have to be. They fall apart for mom because they can. Mom loves them even when they’re being horrible. So, truly, it’s a testament to the fact your kids know they’re loved that they fall apart in front of you.

    Nobody told me this parenting gig would be easy. BUT, nobody really ever told me how awesome it would be, either.

    Cut yourself some slack. If cake and blogs at 10:30 makes you feel good, do it! Not a whole cake, but a piece. And keep venting!

    If you lived closer, I’d come over. With cake. And wine.

  5. so my ‘i’m a bad mom list’ looks pretty much the same except I cant have wine for awhile (and boy am i missing it)

  6. I feel the exact. same. way. But I would have to have a really boring square of a monitor because otherwide I would try to befriend her and start making margaritas and 10 am.

  7. Silly Queen. Apparently you think that this is limited to your world. I really don’t want to have to be the one to tell you, but here goes: you’re normal!

    OKAY, I’ll agree that many would beg to differ that statement, but in THIS case …

    And – believe it or not – your KIDS are normal. They all do that. Seriously.


    There’s this really amazing thing, though, that you will find starts to help A LOT. They grow up.

    You still have to deal with a bunch of crap (theirs and yours), but it’s a different kind of crap. Perhaps you’re like me, and can handle the older crap better than the younger crap.

    I still do (insert all things you listed in post), but sooooooooooo much less than I did five years ago (heck, THREE years ago!).

    In the meantime, as long as you’re not killing them ….

  8. we’re monitoring you and you’re doing fucking awesome.
    you are an example of a loving working mom who has talent and a life. they’ll have that as a role model. btw, cake in the morning cancels out any unneccesary yelling.

  9. You’ve just described my life to a T.

    Not sure if that’s good or bad, I’m just saying.

  10. Yes, what you said.

  11. You are so funny, but your kids are just lovely people, which says a lot to me.

  12. Unless you are hiding your recent crack purchase in your child’s hair or making them sweep your roof, you’re doing just fine.

  13. I recognize those observations and feelings. I have found it eye opening that the work off full time parenting can sometimes feel so exhausting and isolating. As a person who valued my independence and alone time before marriage and motherhood, I had to learn to schedule “all about Erin” time each week. Away from husband and kids without guilt. If I don’t, I find that my patience level and motherly nurturing skills drop considerably.

    HHMMM son sniffing fingers? Are you sure there isn’t a copy of Molly Shannon’s Superstar DVD floating around your house? He may be impersonating Mary Katherine Gallagher.

  14. Honey, I don’t have children but I’m going to guess that you’re in the norm. Sure, maybe cake in the morning isn’t ‘perfect,’ sure, maybe you’re not throwing yourself down on the floor to play with them… maybe, maybe, maybe…

    Do I need to remind you that there is no parenting manual? I’m going to hazard a guess that your children feel loved. I think that is the only requirement. Good on ya mama. Keep on!

  15. Lately, if I’m quick too agree to agree something that Robey knows he shouldn’t be getting away with, he’ll say, “Because you’re just not in the mood to fight about it?”

  16. I’d this great comment all set and I hit a button and it took it all away. I was saying something about wine and parties and visiting LA and drinking margaritas till the sun comes up.

    Wait. Maybe I was dreaming that. Can I have a glass of that wine you’re cracking?

    We should have an internet Thanksgiving.

  17. I’ll come and visit. I will bring a mommy guilt absolution wand and a bottle of wine.

    All I need is as speaking gig in your area and I can be on a plane to see you in the next few months.

    Or just call me. You can do that anytime you want. Or email me. I can do mommy guilt absolution that way too. We’ll just have to coordinate when we hit the wine shop and what we buy on either coast. K?

  18. Umm yeah. I somehow manage not to yell in public…..but cooped up at home with the three….oh yeah. Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me. They can be IRRITATING! (no, seriously and it is not just you)

    And that wine??? I hear ya. Somehow, SOMEHOW I haven’t had any in a week! (or any other alcohol) shocking. Oh that’s right. I QUIT! gasp. I’m jealous.

    My two daughters just got carrots out of the fridge. Now the 1 year old is giving me a toothy grin and sucking it. ooooh. she says.

    I should stop reading blogs.

    Close the door kids!

    I’m off to clean up the carrot I KNOW will be spit out onto the couch.

    We love you Queen. er, I mean Erin.

    (I didn’t SAY close the door b/c only the baby is listening. -The other two are watching PBS kids. -I have to get off my ass and go do it. )

  19. Wow. I could pretty much copy and paste this into my blog and no one would question that I wrote it.

    Me included.

    Thanks for sharing, it made me feel oodles better about being the crappy work from home mom that’s, you know, working instead of being on the floor playing learning games and doing crafts.

    Or something like that.

  20. My kids are all grown and gone now. I almost NEVER said yes to cake, didn’t drink at all and was faithfully on top of most everything they did.

    I’D TAKE YEARS OFF MY LIFE TO GO BACK AND ENJOY BEING A MOTHER NOW!!!! Nose to the grindstone sucked for all of us. I was so busy being a good mom, that I totally lost myself. I’m almost 3 years out of being an empty nester (and 48 yrs old) and still don’t know shit about myself.

    So, read and write those blogs girl and do whatever you have to do to enjoy being a mother. Your kids will love you for it when they are grown, and better yet, you will love yourself.

  21. WOW — perfect post about all the trials and tribulations of staying home with the kids. I, too, made that decision and was lucky enough to be home with my kids for 14 years! I am amazed today, in cube world, to see the shocked looks on my friends’ faces when I describe some of the odd things it did to maintain sanity…
    lining all 5 of them up for their nightly spoonfuls of Dimetapp (helped with ear infections and sleep)….letting them draw a football field on the green carpet with chalk (it vaccuumed right up) … telling them that crying was not allowed unless I could see blood (reduced unnecessary tears)…

    I wouldn’t trade those years for anything in this world. I only wish I’d had the chance to stay home longer and would quit work today if it were possible!!

    Cake in the morning was a regular treat. Afternoons out or evenings away were pretty frequent. Date night with Dad was also an important piece of the sanity puzzle.

    Keep up the good work to everyone. Staying home doesn’t automatically make you a good mom, but neither does working outside the home. It’s all in the love you give them.

    And none of us will know if we’ve been successful until the runny-nosed, chapped-lips toddlers turn into productive adults.

    Finally — remember that there comes a time in your child’s life (late teens) when he or she will make choices that are not what you’d support. Those choices do NOT reflect on your parenting. They reflect on your child’s individuality. Period.

    Keep up the good work.

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