rose with thorns good enough mom

The Good Enough Mom

I question my ability to mother every single day. Some days I get it right. Other days I get it very, very wrong.

It’s easy to announce all the wondrous things I do as a mom but the truth is, in my mind, there are very few things to shout across the universe about.

I get up at the ass crack of dawn not because I want a jump on motherhood but because I want an hour of peace and quiet with my coffee and computer before the wild rumpus of life begins since I do actually live where the wild things are.

The boys…oh, the boys!…they will fight in that way that boys do. One has no filter or boundaries while the other is going through some big changes that make his temper volatile. I don’t stand between them like the zebra-striped referee anymore because it makes me tired. I shrug and walk away. Let them work it out. If someone hits the floor, well…they hit the floor.

I no longer make up fun and age appropriate words when I need to release my inner bitch, especially in the car. Alternatives such as ‘fudge’, ‘cheese and rice’, ‘shitake mushrooms’, and ‘son of a biscuit’ -why are they all food-y?? –  just don’t have the same soothing affect on my damaged psyche as the more lively words. I don’t incorporate them into every sentence but they do make it in from time to time and, yes, my kids are around.

Fuck, shit, and son of a bitch release an amount of tension even Xanax can’t touch.

You can quote me.

I don’t always feel like making lunches so my kids are forced to eat the shitty school lunch. They live to tell about it, and tell about it they do, to which I respond heartily and without so much as a grin that it didn’t kill them.

Dinner is pretty much the same. I hate to cook but I wake with the best of intentions every day…going to the grocery story, buying all the organic and good-for-them things but more often than is probably “motherhood correct” they get chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese….the processed Velveeta kind.

Oh! And let me not leave out Hamburger Helper.

Long ago, I quit trying to be the mom who gives the greatest and most creative gifts for teacher appreciation week. I do manage to bake Pillsbury pull apart cookies and put them in a pretty recycled Birchbox and my go-to gift is a Starbucks gift card. Not creative but it gets the job done.

I’m not above telling them that I’m going to sit down and write or catch up on reading or nap and that unless they are bleeding, and pretty badly, they should think twice before stepping into my personal space.

I tell my homeschooled daughter to skip the schedule some days and take her shopping. I’m a shitty learning coach on the days my Kohls cash is going to expire.

When I am in the throes of anxiety and can’t catch my breath I go to my twelve year old daughter and hold her hand. Some say that’s a lot of pressure to put on a twelve year old. I say you don’t know her.

I yell, I slam doors, I threaten to throw their crap in the yard or run it over with my car if they don’t pick it up. If they don’t bother to tell me they don’t have clean socks or underwear for school, I tell them to take it out of the hamper and turn it inside out. That’s their bad.


my kids know I love them. I tell them every single day, more than once. More than twice.

I show up. To all the things. Always. I am now and will always be their biggest (and loudest) fan.

They know without a doubt I would turn the world upside down for them and then lay down my own life if it came down to it.

They know me well enough and, better yet, respect me enough to give me the time I need to deal with being human. Most of the time anyway.

My daughter sees me in all my imperfect, insane glory and sometimes she comes to me, just to hold my hand for five minutes because she knows, even when I try to hide it, that my mind is spinning and my heart is pounding; she knows just from the look on my face or the tone of my voice. She realizes I am not a super-human. Just a regular one dealing with life and some of the less pretty stuff that comes with it.

They eat just as much healthy food as they do garbage and are all growing and glowing to show for it. The proof is in the penciled marks on their bedroom door frames. Did I mention they love Hamburger Helper?

The boys haven’t killed each other yet and I’ve only seen a couple of marks. I grew up in the days of far less paranoia and fist fought my brother until he outgrew me by a foot and I knew I could no longer win. I’m still here and I’m fairly sure they will be too.

My daughter is finishing her honors courses with all A’s and a B this school year. Retail therapy is obviously a fantastic tool.

The teachers may not say, but sometimes do, that the cookies and Starbucks cards? They are the best gifts ever.

As for the words. They are just words, expressive and colorful. If they are going to say them one day it will  be with or without my help. Mostly, they just ignore me.

I’m not a perfect mom. I don’t need to be.

My kids love me just the way I am…flaws, bad cooking, anxiety, curse words and all….I am their rose with many thorns.

I am a good enough mom.

They wouldn’t trade me for all the chicken nuggets and mac-and- cheese in the world.





Photo credit: Pixabay












32 thoughts on “The Good Enough Mom”

  1. The “perfect mother” is a mythical creature that doesn’t truly exist. I think you’re doing a pretty damn great job. From one “good enough” mom to another, Happy Mother’s Day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are right about that, Jen. Perfection is most definitely unattainable, especially in parenting. I think sometimes I’m doing pretty good and other times I’m sure my kids are going to be scarred for life. But no matter what there is always, always love and that’s gotta count for something. I hope you had a fantastic Mother’s Day, Jen!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dude. You’ve got this. It sounds like your kids are going to be a hell of a lot more normal, empathetic, and understanding than a lot of their peers. And there’s something to be said for shit food. Once you get a little older, it becomes the comfort food that you laugh about with your friends and crave when things get harder.
    You’re a good mom. Know how I know? ‘Cause you think about it and worry about it. That’s all the proof I need.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow. I don’t even know what to say in response to such a great comment. Other than thank you, of course. I love every word you wrote here so that doesn’t really seem like enough. But thank you.


  3. And…this is awe-some!! Blessings to you and your imperfections, Sandy. We’re all in the same boat, dear, just not always rowing in the same direction.

    Wishing you a beautiful Mother’s Day.

    With heart,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. just so not knowing what to say to an article such as this…at one point I would have heartily agreed and counted on the robust consistent nature of parenting.

      not anymore.

      i truly wish the best here for the author and each reader. may you be spared broken relationship.


      1. Fortunately, I value everyone’s opinion and respect their right to it. Broken relationships are not new to me…we all have our stories to tell, don’t we? I can honestly tell you that right now my soul feels as healthy as it has ever been, at least on most days, and my relationships are whole and beautiful. Thank you for reading and for commenting.

        I have been to your blog and you are quite an artist. I wish you well.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am so grateful for your insight into my need to comment being about my own failures and lacks in relation to what you wrote, and was not a comment on the writing itself.

          In fact what you wrote squeezed hard on that “pimple”, and I thought a lot about it, the past, and the particulars of my own estrangement.

          I will hold out you, to myself, as hope for where I might possibly end up… Whole again and connected to my hearts.

          Also I am very grateful for your reading at gracenotes… It’s humbling and exciting all at once.

          Much thanks,

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I think if our kids know for sure that we love and support them, that’s the best gift we can ever give them. If you can also feed, house, and clothe them – well, you are ahead of the game!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No sense in trying to be something your not and I most certainly am not perfect. Just doing the best I can with what I’ve got. But like I said, there’s plenty of love so that gives me an edge :)! Thanks so much for reading and I really appreciate the tweet. I’m happy you made it by!


  5. This was a really good read — living up to the honest part, darling. It’s good to take a breath and get some perspective now and again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed it is, love, and thank you. I’m happy to see you. I just saw I have quite a few emails with your name on them in my inbox. I’m getting there. Hope you are well and settling in to the new place.


  6. Sandy, sigh, as I read that, my eyes welled up with tears, and I felt every single word. I try so hard to be good, and the days that I try the hardest seem to be the days that I fail the biggest. I love that you have embraced the imperfection that comes with motherhood because it is true. At the end of the day, my kids know I love them. They know I would stop the world from spinning if I had the power and they needed me to, and they know that even though I get frustrated, I still love them more than anything, and most of the time, I’m frustrated because I feel like I’m failing them in some way. I have often times convinced myself that they would be better off if I just got in the car and disappeared, but that’s not true. They are who they are because I invest my soul in them, and they need me almost as much as I need them.

    Thank you for writing this. I’m going to hit Post Comment and then go squeeze their sleeping bodies.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sitting here in a hotel lobby, in professional attire, with a brief case and a purpose…and aligator tears.
    You always know my heart, Sandy and you called it out here. Thank God I have you in my corner and in my universe.
    I dropped the F-bomb on my teenage son the other day. His jaw may have come unhinged when it hit the floor – but, nothing says Mad Mama like Fuck. He’d hurt my feelings in a big way and he was not going to get away with that shit. We are all good now – probably because I’m a time zone away. But, that didn’t keep us from studying for a Spanish final via Facetime last night.
    But the part that made me cry was when you shared how your daughter reaches for your hand cuz she knows. Mine does that, too and I really miss her this morning.
    Oh my…I gotta stop for a minute. My fancy make-up is starting to smear.
    Love you.


  8. Do you know that Cassidy is the GREATEST source of comfort for me in my throes of anxiety? Oh, she is such an encourager and comes to my rescue ALL. THE. TIME.

    I love this. ALL of it. Because I am YOU!! Kohl’s cash doesn’t wait. Produce has rotted and mac and cheese is the recipe of the day. Words slip out like spurts of tasty whipped creme from a can and ooooh it feels so good… and tastes good too.

    I’m tired. Too.

    So here’s to being good enough, girl. We ARE.


  9. You homeschool?!! Enough said!! You’re amazing! 🙂
    Seriously though, I’m glad you give yourself a break! It’s the least we can all do tackling the hardest (and most rewarding) job in the world!


  10. They haven’t killed one another (YET). That’s a win in my book of mom wonders. You are perfect the way you are, and if it takes a chicken nugget or more well fuck em 🙂


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