Are you a bad parent and proud of it?

The latest trend in tell-all books and Web sites is parents proudly (albeit sometimes anonymously) confessing their child rearing sins. “True Mom Confessions,” by Romi Lassally, just published this month.  Ayelet Waldman’s “Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace” and Michael Lewis’s “Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood,” will be arriving soon. (The Wall Street Journal wrote a long story about this trend. Here’s the link.)

I recently was sent a copy of the “True Mom Confessions” book, and it is a guilty pleasure to read. The book is the best of some 500,000 anonymous confessions left on the Web site. Chapters include: “Little White Lies,” “If They Only Knew,” “Do As I Say, Not As I Do,” and “There Is No “I” in Mommy.” Some entries are shocking. Some are sad. Some are easy to relate to and some I would never own up to!

For example, would you admit to:

“My son was so excited for his second birthday, but when the day rolled around I hadn’t pulled anything together to celebrate – so I told him that he had the wrong day and his birthday was actually the following week. (Yes … He believed me and I felt terrible.)

Or how about:

“I took $60 from my son’s piggy bank – and when he realized it was empty, I blamed it on his sister.”


“I haven’t taught my kids to tell time yet … that way I can say it’s bedtime whenever I want.”

And finally:

“Once when my son was teething, we had nothing to numb his gums so we used “Pleasure Balm” from out Kama Sutra set. Funny think was … it worked better than Orajel.”

Some of the confessions are really just honest:

“My husband is a better parent than I am. He cooks, he plays with them more, he’s more patient. I know that if I died young, they would all grow up fine without me. I love and hate him for that.”

I’m all about moms not pretending to be perfect parents and not judging others. Every family has problems, and no one is perfect, but some of the things parents are admitting too could get them arrested.

The Wall Street Journal article sites an example of a Canadian mothering Twittering that she wanted to “smother her 3-year-old daughter because she wouldn’t go to sleep, and a few hours later, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police showed up at her door. They checked on her child, who was safely tucked in bed, and left. ‘Maybe I should’ve put a little smiley face on it or followed it up with ‘Just kidding,’ ’ says the woman, who requested anonymity.”

What do make of these bad parenting sites and novels?

What’s the worst thing you’ve done as a parent or spouse? Please remember to be anonymous — we don’t want any Mounties after you!

69 comments Add your comment


April 14th, 2009
3:47 pm

MJG – I’m not a teacher but I do know what you are talking about! Little people can definately stink! My kids have never gone to school needing a bath or without their teeth brushed.

But in the middle of summer when they’ve spent all day in the pool and will get up in the morning to jump in again (never leaving our house as the pool is in our back yard). No, we don’t require a bath.

I can understand your stance though.

Are you serious your children had a bath every single day of their lives? I certainly cannot make that claim. I know mine don’t take baths/showers when they have group sleep overs or campouts with their friends! Heck, most of the time the tooth brushes and clean clothes never leave their bags! LOL

I do make all the kids brush their teeth when they are at my house and shower if it is more of a one on one situation but when they are elsewhere. I can’t control it and it is not always feasible anyway. They certainly won’t be scarred for life.

I guess they’ve learned proper hygiene though. It is not unheard of for my 9 year old to take 2 or 3 showers a day. Why I’m not sure but he likes to be clean and smell good. He’s a huge fan of cologne. P U in the beginning (and only at home)! Proper application took some time to learn I must admit! :) And my 13 year old takes a shower every morning before school and often before bed as well.

We can agree to disagree about baths being needed every night :)


April 14th, 2009
4:18 pm

Momsrule….I am not absolutely positive about EVERY day LOL. When my daughter goes to a sleep over, she will bathe before she leaves the house. She is very picky about her body being clean.

Of course, my son is 21 and lives on his own.
He is so funny, as he lived in jeans and t shirts while in H.S. but is one snappy dresser now. For Easter Sunday, he had on a black striped suit with what he called a salmon shirt , paisley tie, argyle socks and leather loafers he just bought at Nordstrom Rack. Glad he is on his own budget.

We laughed so hard when we talked about the time he went to camp with his cousins ( about 10 years old) and he could not seem to locate his socks in his suitcase. He wore his sneakers all week ( it rained most of the week) with NO socks, hiking and in the mud. My sister picked them up and told me that she was throwing his sneakers away, as they stunk to high heaven. He had the nastiest blisters on his feet and she is a nurse so she fixed him right up.

To each his own about pools and since this is your own private pool, you know what is in there.
Our neighbor takes a kit to our neighborhood pool and checks it before she allows her children to get in. I imagine it could be completely off balance and dangerous but I am not smart enough to know about that!

I once let me son eat a cookie for breakfast since he did not finish his dinner and I told him that he could not have one of the cookies I just baked, unless he finished his dinner. In the morning, he asked if he could PLEASE have an oatmeal raisin cookie for breakfast with his milk. I caved. His class went on a field trip and he was too boisterous ( preschool). The director’s son was in his class and she went too. When they returned, she asked me: “what did he have for breakfast….cookies?”
We both smiled a secret smile!

New Step Mom

April 14th, 2009
4:26 pm

My mom was famous for nutrition at home. Anytime we spent the night in a motel on the trek from PA to AL and back again in the summer to see grandparents, we got to select a breakfast delicacy from the vending machine and we got to push the buttons. We thought that was the bee’s knees! Our teeth did not rot, neither of us was over weight and I still remember the smell of the breezeways at those motels. Even thought she was not being the perfect mom, she created a really fun memory!


April 14th, 2009
4:44 pm

MJG, I’m with you on public pools! They can be quite gross! I have zero concerns about our pool as my husband is compulsive (thank you dear!) about keeping it in tip top shape. As a result, the boys themselves are quite particular about the pools they will swim in. Yay! And away from home, they do shower after swimming.

I hope my 13 year follows your son in regards to his dress when he gets older!! Right now we are all about jeans, t-shirts and shorts. He will only wear “nicer” closer for pictures and nice family dinners out. Fingers crossed!

We’ve had sneakers and socks smelling like your sons after soccer camp! G R O S S

New Step Mom, I love stories like yours. Those are the fun memories of childhood. The simplest things can be the best memories!!

I confess, my 9 year old had 1 Peep (blown up in the microwave) and a bowl of strawberries for breakfast yesterday.


April 14th, 2009
4:56 pm

C’mon…these Mom confessions are popping up in response to all of the over-parenting books, shows, blogs, web-sites, celebrities etc that are out there! Jerry Seinfeld’s wife tells us how we should feed our children! Jenny McCarthy tells us we should not have them vaccinated! We get so much CRAP information out there! Mothers are an easy target. No matter what, we feel guilty. Do our children really need $400 strollers? Do they really all need organic cotton clothing? More things for mom’s (because you can bet d#*m well my husband NEVER feels guilty about any of this stuff!) to worry about. I adore, I mean ADORE my children. But I constantly make mistakes. Some are minuscule and some are huge. But I love reading that other mothers are not perfect. Because NOBODY ever talks about it. When I go to Mommy & Me classes, it’s like a competition for who’s the best mom! And UGH! I taught Kindermusik, & the reason I quit was because of Mommy’s ego’s! Lighten up! Enjoy your children. Laugh at the stupid things you do! They are gonna be in therapy if you hover, they are gonna be in therapy if you don’t bathe them for 3 weeks!! I am so tired of the pressure to be perfect! And I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on any of my 4 children. So I bribe my 4 year old with the occasional Marshmallow to get him to eat something healthy (semi), or let my kids have cereal for all three meals every once in a while. I have to convince one child NOT to wash her hair every single day. My point is, we are not perfect. I have seen mother’s literally agonize over the fact their children aren’t interested in the organic snacks they provide or don’t want to learn the alphabet at 4 years old. I am trying to have more fun with my children. They will eventually probably develop their own neurosis…..why saddle them with mine as well?

Jesse's Girl

April 14th, 2009
5:00 pm

There are way too many silly/outrageous mommy moments for me to mention. Suffice to say..if you set up a camera in our home…someone would be winning $1million and/or getting a golden invitation to the mental ward!

I have one oops that has a tendency to keep happening….the Tooth Fairy has a directional disorder.( this is what we call it:) I forget to play the Tooth Fairy nearly every single time. Due to the fact that the girls have a love of rearranging their bedrrom furniture, when she fails to claim the tooth and leave some coin….I blame the fact that she never knows where their beds are! Yes…I am a loser. Yes, I suck big, fat hairy ones..I know this.

New Step Mom

April 14th, 2009
5:05 pm

MomsRule that is one of my favorite childhood memories for some reason. We would have a junk food picnic on a hotel bed in our jammies and talk about all the people we would see and stuff we would do back home. Corny yes, devoid of nutrition yes, but fun! How was the blown up peep?


April 14th, 2009
5:07 pm

The “creative parenting” term made me remember a funny story from my brother and his wife when their kids were little. They had my neice and nephew convinced that ice cream trucks were “music trucks” that would go around the neighborhoods playing songs for everyone!


April 14th, 2009
5:36 pm

My mom was notorious about not caring about traditional ‘breakfast’ foods. So, especially on weekends, we would have leftover chinese, spaghetti, etc. for breakfast. Funny thing is that I am still in the habit of eating non-traditional breakfast foods which freaks some people out. ‘Tacos? for breakfast?’ ha.

And Joyce, I love the ‘Music Trucks’. That is classic.


April 14th, 2009
5:53 pm

Escapee, I have never been a big breakfast eater. I too, would be content to eat cold pizza or pasta in the morning. I can remember my mom hovering over me trying to get me to eat a bowl of cereal. It was so early, my stomach felt like I was going to vomit.

Now days, I will eat cereal, but I do love other foods for breakfast (usually not before 10 am, though).

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 14th, 2009
6:22 pm

JG — We totally stink at being the Tooth Fairy — With Walsh have forgotten to do it and said “Oh she must have been very busy!! We’ll leave it again and she’ll try to fit you in tonight.” Have also had issues with one child (Rose!!) who wanted very specific coinage (not amount but the types of coins) from the Tooth Fairy. We were scrambling at midnight to come up with what she had requested!! No more requests for the Tooth Fairy!!

I agree with some of what the author of the book Romi said earlier — some of the parents are just tired, frustrated and normal!! WE all have our days — parenting is tough!! But a few of the things are read are just BAD — no way around it. But I think for the most part these parents were just venting on the Web site like we share here. (And they could be even more honest because it was completely anonymous — here even though we don’t real names, monikers do have personalities and expectations.)


April 14th, 2009
6:43 pm

I was pretty good with the Tooth Fairy stuff — the Fairy would “kiss” them with gold glitter and leave a shiny dollar coin (I had bought a roll from the bank and kept it in my nightstand drawer). But one of the kids got too clever for me, and, slyly, didn’t tell me that they had lost a tooth. They slipped it under their pillow and voila!, no Tooth Fairy. The next morning, very pleased with themselves, they calmly informed me that there was no Tooth Fairy, they had tested the theory the night before, and I had flunked!

Re: bathing. I have so much respect for the hardiness of Boy Scout leader’s noses! The leaders of my son’s troop once wryly commented that they only insisted on a shower on the last day of week-long camp at Woodruff, before the parents arrived to pick them up. One summer, I craftily hid a $10 bill tucked inside of my son’s bathtowel. When he arrived home at the end of the week, I was helping him unpack, picked up the very neatly folded towel, shook out the $10 bill, and chirped cheerfully, “See what you would have found if you had taken a shower?” He was quite annoyed!


April 14th, 2009
7:14 pm

JOYCE AND is a tie as to whether the music truck, tooth fairy or the $10 bill is the funniest. Thanks for sharing. This is why I love this blog….some comments just crack me up!

I have never been stickler about certain foods for breakfast. When my son was little, he would eat cut up beef hot dogs and cubed cheese ( I put it in a tupperware bowl with a lid) with juice in a sippy cup on the way to preschool.
My daughter is known to eat a Rice Krispie treat with a glass of milk before leaving for high school. My mother would have a fit if she knew I let me kids do this….LOL.


April 14th, 2009
10:03 pm

Very clever, DB. I will have to remember that one. I like the roll of coins and the glitter idea too. Thanks for sharing!


April 14th, 2009
11:45 pm

MJG – hmm, Rice Krispie treats, eh? What’s the difference between a Rice Krispie treat and a bowl of Rice Krispies with a spoonful of sugar? NONE! (OK, a bit of butter — but you’d put that on toast, anyway, so it’s all good . . . !)


April 15th, 2009
8:09 am

These stories have been hilarious!!! I’m certainly not a perfect parent either. But I wouldn’t trade a minute of mothering for anything!! It’s made me a better, more patient person.


April 15th, 2009
4:23 pm

I yell — especially after a very stressful day and my kids are wired.
And I feel awful about it immediately afteward. Sometimes I’ll just steal a few moments, cry it out, and strive to get it right and not lose it again. Do I “spare the rod”? Most of the time, yes.
98% of the time I only have to tell them once, but some days even June Cleaver can’t get it right.
Kids are precious. They depend on US until they can do and understand things on their own.


April 15th, 2009
4:26 pm

I’m not traditional with the breakfast either. shoot, sometimes we have it for dinner!

[...] Lassally whose book, “True Mom Confessions” we just discussed last week, wrote her take on the issue for The Huffington Post. I think it is well stated. Here’s what [...]