The “Bad Mom” Phenomenon


Caucasian girl with tablet as mother chastises her at cafe

They had me the instant the trailer started for the upcoming movie Bad Moms. I will definitely see it, and I’ll sneak in a juice box of wine for anyone who wants to join me.

The concept is genius because at some point, we have all wanted to throw in the towel on our responsibilities as “good” moms. Chaperoning field trips, donating food for class parties, volunteering for the various school events, chairing committees, and even just getting the kids to school on time can be overwhelming. There are weekdays when all I want to do is day drink with friends instead of worrying about what healthy snack I’m going to feed the carpool on the way to soccer practice.

Although my friends and I may talk about instances of being bad moms, in reality, none of our crimes so far have been deal breaking and none of our kids should be scarred for life. For instance, today I could say I’m being a bad mom because I’m letting both my kids stay inside and laze around all day. However, both kids have head colds and it is 59° degrees outside with no chance of sun. I haven’t even yelled at them (yet), which is downright responsible parenting.

A sampling of my other crimes include:

  • Being too lazy to return our recalled IKEA dressers
  • Never making breakfast again after going unrecognized one Mother’s Day

No one’s calling CPS, right? But it’s only really honest if I go to the source. So I asked my kids what they think my worst parenting moment is, keeping in mind that they barely remember their first 4-5 years of life when I was a real novice…

My annoyed 14-year-old immediately said, “When I kept telling you that my knee hurt and you wouldn’t take me to the doctor for 6 months because you didn’t think it was a problem.” [It would only be fair to note that he was diagnosed with something called Osgood-Schlatter Disease. I have never seen him look at me more triumphantly than when the doctor gave us that news.]

After much internal debate, my 12-year-old decided on, “When that older kid pretended to punch me in the stomach and you told him to go ahead and do it and he did. As hard as he could.” [It would only be fair to note that I NEVER thought the kid would actually punch him since he was so much older. Which, of course means it hurt even more. This one actually is just bad parenting.]

I was about to ask my husband to contribute but decided that I’ve been punished enough. I know you’re with me ladies so tell me, when have you been a “bad” mom?

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Within months of graduating from Cal, Erin met her husband Rick and for the last 14 years has been raising a family in San Francisco. Their two sons love the city as much as they do and are proud to call themselves natives. Erin works as a freelance writer and editor but also enjoys the freedom that comes with blogging. She was the SF Frugal Family contributor for a few years back, and if you are looking for creative ideas for getting out around town, you can still find her work at In her free time, Erin loves to read, cheer on the Giants, try new restaurants and practice yoga.


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