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I'm a crap parent

Community Member

I'm a bad parent. I try hard to be good and feel I try as much as I can but I feel so under-appreciated and that I'm falling short.I recently fell very short.I have depression and anxiety. I have had these for just over 20 years. I feel poorly about myself, useless, and I fuss about keeping things clean because I have a fear of people thinking I am unclean, among other things.

Keeping the house clean is important to me as is looking after possessions because my husband and I work hard at our jobs to be able to afford things for our kids so I want them respected. When I ask my two kids to help out or do chores I get met with complaints and resistance. I keep asking for the same things to be done and I get ignored. I asked politely and calmly and only when I raise my voice do they act. Tonight I was getting cross about some sticky drink that was taken onto carpet and spilt on the floor and the wall and they were laughing and saying they didn't know who it could be. It most likely happened one or two days ago and they would not take me seriously and kept laughing, with the conversation getting to the point that they expected I would clean it up because they didn't know who did it, even though it was clear it would have been one of either of them.

I rang my husband, who was away, so that he could talk to the boys because I was getting cross and needed to step away. He was no help and seemed to be listening more to the boys' side of things of them not knowing how the sticky drink and mess appeared on the wall and carpet. My kids were still laughing and I was getting more cross because of this and not feeling supported. I ended the phone conversation and told my kids to brush their teeth, but one-at-a-time because otherwise they are silly and make a mess, or get into a fight, in the bathroom. I told my first kid to go and brush his teeth and get to bed and as he came to walk past me he rolled his eyes and said, 'Fine'. This was the last straw and I put my hands on his head and told him not to roll his eyes because it was disrespectful. I then pushed him to get moving down the hallway. I didn't push him hard or hit him but I did push him and it was wrong. And I swore. I feel like absolute crap. I don't know how to be a parent. I'm a crap parent and I want to leave. I am so mad and ashamed that I pushed my son. I'm a hypocrite and I want to get in the car and go away.

I don't know if my kid will forgive me. I can't forgive myself. I feel like a piece of crap.

6 Replies 6

Community Member

Hi BeeMac,

I might not be much help to you but if it’s any consolation I know exactly what you are going through.

My girls are Under 3 and I find myself yelling and crying at them when things get overwhelming. My eldest is good at understanding and I explain that it’s nothing she or her sister had done and that’s it’s Dads problem. I often apologise and explain my feelings in simple terms.

I’ve never had the experience of being physical with them but maybe it’s something on your part you need to explain to them so they know and understand. They obviously sound old enough and can understand there is something going on with you.

I hope this helps in some way. Stay safe.


Community Member

Parenting can be hard.

Wishing you all the best on your journey.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello BeeMac83,

I read your thread title and had to reply. It definitely describes me. I'm a terrible parent.

You wrote that you feel unable to forgive yourself for pushing your child and swearing and it is clear you are very upset about your actions.

If it is ok I'll share a story and what a psychologist told me in a similar situation.

I hit my son once. I thought he had gotten into my medicines and given them to his sister. I wanted to get to her and he stood in my path. So I pushed him aside without thinking.

Like you describe... I was a mess. I told my husband what I'd done and that I expected him to take the kids away from me. I said I would tell the psychologist even if it meant child services on our doorstep. Because deep down I felt as you described.

The psychologist said I was human and being too hard on myself. That I had admitted what I did, asked for help and put my kids safety above all else. That admitting mistakes shows I am a good parent because I want to keep my kids safe even if it means safe from me.

This was hard to hear. I wanted to be reviled. And part of me wanted them taken away from me because I was utterly exhausted and in desperate need of help... For ME.

Which makes me wonder... How are you holding up generally? What was different this time that pushed you too hard? It must have been so frustrating to have your husband brush off your concerns. It is such hard work being a parent and when your partner doesn't back you or demand you are treated respectfully it feels absolutely rubbish.

Wanting the person who made the mess to clean it up is reasonable in my mind. I get totally fed up with the constant cleaning and my kids now 4 and almost 6 are very familiar with the words 'im not your slave' or 'you have two arms, two legs and a heartbeat...do it yourself'. I'm finding the kids are slowly responding better now that they are learning if they make the mess they clean it up. If noone admits it they both help clean it up.

Yes you made a mistake. But that doesn't make you a bad parent even though I know too well it feels that way.

What do you need to change so you don't lose control like that in the future?

Please try to be gentle to yourself.


Community Member

I think we all feel like terrible parents from time to time.

This morning, for example, my daughter was crying and carrying on... said she was sick etc.

My husband works out of town and she usually gets sooky week 2 of his roster. And I was like, I cant deal with this today... just get ready and for the love of pete, stop crying!

I got a message from her school at 1... she's not well, had fallen asleep at her desk, honestly best to just leave her there til school finishes (i work full time, thinking she was being nice).

Look kids will be kids, and although we know them pretty well, we don't always get it right.

And it sounds like you have some strategies in place... like keeping them apart for teeth cleaning.

And you know what, we have feelings too, even though we're parents. And they can push you to the limit. I've lost my cool and yelled, said things I shouldn't, and felt terrible for a few weeks.

We have a code phrase now... mummy's volcano is rumbling, I need to go into time out... then i separate myself for 10 mins. It doesn't always work... coz sometimes they will follow me around the house pushing buttons... but when it doesn't give me space, it does give me a chance to voice how I'm feeling and at least I hear it and can acknowledge I'm about to lose it.

That you feel bad about pushing your son is a good sign. Im breaking generations of people that beat their kids to a pulp.

You're not a terrible mum for feeling overwhelmed emotionally, with 1 caveat... if you feel that overwhelming urge, and you're not sure you can control it, speak to someone.

Reading your post I'm not sure that is an issue for you.

Some people seem to have it all together... but there's no such thing as a mummy gene.

Anyway, from one parent who feels like they're falling short all of the time to another...

Keep loving your boys

You're (I'm) not perfect

Build a support network... you mentioned hubby was out of town for work

And... look after yourself.

I really feel like you just need a night to be you... to breathe.

Community Member

"I wanted to be reviled. And part of me wanted them taken away from me because I was utterly exhausted and in desperate need of help... For ME."

This sounds very similar to what I was feeling. I wasn't coping and, I don't know, part of me maybe did feel like I wanted someone to come and punish me and take me away. As though I wanted someone to know just what I had become and just how badly I needed to get help to sort my self out, because I keep making excuses why I can't go and get help.

My son seems to have forgiven me. I remember when I was about 10 my dad slapped me in the face for not picking up towels and that has stayed with me. I worry about this staying with my son.

My getting angry and pushing my son is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what I am not dealing with and my problems. I don't know where to start but I know I need time away.

Thank you for your stories and words of understanding when I don't feel like I deserve them.

Hi BeeMac83,

I'm glad to see you posting again.

When you wrote you wanted someone to see what you'd become I found myself nodding along. Sometimes it feels like I can be an absolute mess and noone notices or cares. Actually most of what you wrote I can relate to.

Can you pinpoint reasons you think are stopping you from seeking help?

What do you think about showing your thread to your GP and husband? Do you think if you put how you have been feeling in writing it might help show others you need some support?

It isn't easy to make the decision to ask for help. But you DO deserve support and care, even if right now you don't feel you deserve it.

What options are available to you locally? Is there a women's health centre in your community? I've found them very helpful and non judgemental.

Hope to keep talking to you if you feel up to writing.