What Kind of Mother Are You?

Mommy & Ford

Mommy & Ford

Recently something I wrote went up on Huffington Post Parents, you can read it here


The piece was something I wrote a few months ago while dealing with the birth of my third son. It was sarcastic, and irreverent and (I thought) hilarious. I wanted to make fun of the place I found myself in because I figured that most moms would laugh along having been there themselves. Most people did laugh, and I got a ton of sweet notes and nice Twitter shout outs but I have to admit to being a bit shocked by some of the comments on my article from other moms.

Things like:

“Sorry but none of this happened to me. Have a bit of decorum and dignity…”

“Ugh. Ugh and Ugh. Such a sad post. I didn’t experience motherhood like that at all.”

Now, I understand that part of putting myself into the public light by having a blog or writing for the post means that I open myself up to scrutiny but I’m always shocked at how vicious some people will be given the anonymity of a comments section. I realize that I’m basically begging for further “comments” when I say that women are hardest on other women, and other mothers? They’re the worst!

Not all mothers, and not all women. The support I’ve felt from my sisters-in-arms since I had my first baby is immeasurable but the scrutiny and the judgment I’ve felt from other mothers is equally as great. I know there are those of you out there who can relate, you’ve heard the catty comments too. You’ve been asked passive aggressively why you’re not still breast-feeding, why you’re using that formula, why you’re not staying at home, why you ARE staying at home. They want to know if you’ve signed your 3 month old up for preschool, if you’ve got him on a macrobiotic diet, have you seen a dentist? If so, which one? Are you in music class? Spanish class? French or German? He’s not in organize sports? Really?? How will he learn to work in a group?

The lists, the questions, the judgement goes on and on and on. Most of the time I ignore it, but sometimes it hurts my feelings. I know that Eleanor told us “no one can make you feel badly without your permission” but you know what? Sometimes it’s hard to rise above it when someone is questioning my ability to parent my own children. Don’t they know I’m hard enough on myself already?

I’ve been thinking a lot about it and I think I’m going to just put this out there. I don’t parent like you do. I parent the only way I know how in a way that makes sense to me. I don’t make these decisions lightly. I’ve given them a lot of thought and prayer and focus. I’m constantly re-charting the course and re-working my game plan based on the ever changing terrain of growing children. If you don’t like my mothering style, well I guess it’s a good thing I’m not your mother.

But for better or worse, I’m the kind of mother who demands please and thank you’s and yes sirs and yes ma’ams. They will refer to adults as Mr or Mrs, and they aren’t allowed at the grown up table.

I’m the kind of mother who really, truly wants to feed my kids healthy home cooked meals every night, but sometimes dino-shaped chicken nuggets is the best I can do.

I believe that organized sports are important, but sometimes musical theater is a better fit.

I’m the kind of mother who doesn’t let her kids eat desserts or candy or even juice unless it’s a really special occasion… but that’s more because they act like crazy people when they have sugar, not because I’m a health nut.

I’m the kind of mom who doesn’t let them leave the house without washing their face and styling their hair. I suppose some might say I’m putting too much emphasis on looks, but I can’t stand ill-kempt children.

I believe in chores and bedtimes and rules and I’d wager that mine are more strict than most.

I believe in church on Sundays but that we accept everyone regardless of their own personal beliefs.

I believe in time outs and sometimes a spanking

I’m the kind of mother who absolutely refuses to be swayed by a temper tantrum. I’ll pull this car over! I really will.

I’m the kind of mother who’d rather my kids were kind than cool. I secretly hope they wont be part of the popular group at school because the nerdy kids usually grow up to be the best adults.

I’m the kind of mother who’s usually wearing pajamas to pre-school drop off… who only has time to shave my legs up to the knee… who does battle every day with my kids in the hope that I’ll win the war… who worries and frets about whether or not I’m doing any of this right… who fails at this whole parenting thing at least once a day… who succeeds at this parenting thing at least once a day too.

This is me, for better or worse and I’m doing the best I know how to do. In the opinion of others I might do a bad job sometimes, heck in the opinion of myself  I do a bad job sometimes. But I’m confident enough in my own style and my own choices that I wont allow anyone else to make me second guess myself.

What kind of mother am I? I’m Jackson and Sawyer and Ford’s mother and it’s the only kind I know how to be.

26 Responses to “What Kind of Mother Are You?”

  1. Molly

    Rachel–you are amazing. I am not a mother (yet) but I hope that when I am, I can be as cool, as pulled together, as loving and funny and as a good a role model as you are to your beautiful boys. xxxxx

    • Cheryl

      Thank you for this post and your original post. I really enjoyed it and laughed the whole time reading the post. It made me feel alive and that I can’t wait to be a mommy. Thanks again!

  2. Roxanne Savedra

    Very well put! That is the same mother that all of us are — the mother to our children! There is no cookie cutter way to raise children. We are all different, have different situations and different children. What works for one may not work for another. As long as your kids are safe no-one else has any room to judge. 🙂 Love reading what you have to write and can’t wait to find the time to prepare some of the recipes you have posted (like that BBQ chicken pizza!).

  3. Andrea Thompson

    Rachel – This post was what every mom needs to hear. I don’t understand how women can be *the worst* to each other. I would never dream of criticizing another mom to her face, and I can’t imagine who in their right mind could think that’s okay.
    Most of us are doing the best we can every day. Thank you for this post!

  4. bookrockbetty

    LOVE THIS! Every mom is different and has the authority to make their own decisions when it comes to raising their children! It’s shame that some people turn every aspect of motherhood into such a black and white issue. Eleanor is always whispering that quote to me….. but sometimes it just isn’t enough!

  5. Ruth

    Here, here I say 🙂 Well done you Rachel and Shame on anyone who has a problem with someone who is a REAL Mother and willing to accept her shortcomings and celebrations !!!
    Take a LONG look at yourself and try to figure out what YOUR problem is NOT everyone else’s……Ruth UK

  6. Jenny Wong

    Hi Rachel,

    I met you briefly during your visit to HK (as I previously worked for Disney) and just wanted to let you know that I love your website and articles. I find your Mom-fession articles surprisingly (in a positive way) honest. I am a full time working mom and can only share similar thoughts (that being a mom is hard work and is not always utter bliss) with a few other full time working moms. On a few rare occasions I have expressed such comments only to receive complete looks of horror.

    Everyone’s mothering style will depend on the her own set of circumstances. With my first child, I felt guilty about lots of things. With the second child, I am alot more relaxed (Kraft dinner is common meal at our home) and funnily enough, I think I enjoy it more now.

    Well done on your articles.

  7. one way link

    Hello! I’ve been following your blog for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

    • Rachel

      Hi There! Now “courage” necessary, we’re all friends here! 😉 Thanks so much for your sweet note from Dallas!! xo

  8. Taylor

    This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Simple but very precise info… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read post!

  9. Hector

    I read the first article and thought it was hilarious! Reminded me of my sister with her first child! lol

    With this article, way to go!!! But the only thing I disagree on is with: “and they aren’t allowed at the grown up table.” Really???? Why??? That’s like telling a child that they are not welcomed in the family!!! Family meals are family meals – how can you have a family meal when your child doesn’t even sit at the table?!?! Are they animals??? I think not! All children should be allowed to eat with the adults so that they can learn how to behave at the dinner table in the company of other adults. And if it’s the excuse that there would be “adult talk” and children should not hear it, then maybe you need to have those conversations at a later time.

    I was 12 or 13 when I was invited to one of my friends house for dinner. I went to the house and when it was time to eat, the children had to sit at a separate table because “children are not allowed to eat with the adults.” When my friends mom told me this, I politely said: “Thank you for inviting me to dinner, but I rather go home and eat. I’m not a dog to be put off to the side and not eat at the dinner table.” I left after that. A few days later, my friend thanked me, he got to eat with his parents for the first time.

    • Rachel

      Hi Hector,

      Thanks for your comments! I suppose I should specify… we sit down as a family every night for dinner, all five of us crowded around talking and laughing and (hopefully) eating all of our vegetables. I totally agree with you, it’s how kids learn to make conversation, it’s where they learn manners and it was a really important part of my own childhood.

      When I said they aren’t allowed at the grown up table, I meant more in the setting of a dinner party or adult conversations. Here in LA there are loads of parents who are always letting their precocious six year old in on the adult table. I know others might not agree, but this drives me insane! I think it’s inappropriate for little ones to listen to the kind of conversations adults have at dinner. Little kids shouldn’t have to hear about the war, or politics or celebrity gossip and because of this they should be engaged in an age appropriate activity while adults are chatting.

      Just my opinion 😉 ~Rachel

  10. Laurie Beth

    You nailed my take on motherhood to a T! I ignore the rude stares of the cliqueish moms who come to school events all primped & put together in their Friday night hottie outfit w/heels while i’m grateful if I showered & had a clean shirt to throw on. I’m not here to be my kids best friend, but to use everything I’ve got to create kind, thoughtful, faithful & well-mannered human beings. I too am doing my best and would love to have a mom like you in town to hang with!! Thanks for representing! YOU ROCK!!

    • Rachel

      Thanks for your sweet comments Laurie Beth… I was nodding my head along while I read your note like you were a preacher sharing a sermon!!

      All we can ever do is our best… and some days my “best” never even gets a chance to brush her hair. 😉

      xo, Rachel

  11. Jacqui

    Another fantastic parenting article Rachel! I parent very much the same way you do, and am happy to hear that I am not the only one. It was heartening to hear my 5 yr old express her confusion and disappointment the other day when leaving a play date and her friend didn’t walk her to the door and day goodbye. “Mommy, he was so rude. He didn’t walk me to the door and didn’t even say goodbye, I just can’t believe that”. Made me feel good that she notices how you treat people matters. It’s those little rewards and treats that make the sometimes LONG slog of parenting worth it! Also glad to hear I am not the only one who had the battles too!

  12. Sara

    Wow, you just brought tears to my eyes! I agree with you 100%. Every night I pray to be the best mother that I can be. And I also pray that myself and my children be the best people that we can be.. to ourselves, and to others. I’m a mother of a 5 year old son and 20 month old Identical twin girls. At least once a day someone will look at my sweet little girls and say, “wow you have your hands full”, or “I couldn’t do it.” First of all, the 20 month old thing… piece of cake! They’re cute and sweet and silly. The 5 year old thing…. a whole different story. My sweet little boy started school and realized that he can have opinions. So now he’s my sometimes sweet, sometimes moody 5 year old who thinks he’s 30 and knows everything.
    Sometimes people think I’m too strict… especially with my son. But let me tell ya, even on his worst days he’s behaves a million times better than most of my friend’s children. He’s smart, polite, helpful, & kind.
    I comfort myself with the knowledge that it’s all worth it… the sleepless nights, the teething (x’s 2!), the moodiness, the discipline, and the love. One day they’re going to be amazing people and hopefully amazing parents.

    • Rachel Hollis

      I hear you on the whole 5 year old going on 30 thing… I have a 7 year old who’s going on 40 😉 I think it’s awesome that you continue to parent how you think is best regardless of anyone thinking you’re too strict. I’m pretty strict myself and I think my kids are better because of it. xo, Rachel

  13. Sandi

    I agree 100%!! Those women who are rude and judgemental are all unhappy in their lives. They don’t know who they are aonthey pass judgment on others stay true to yourself and your family. That’s all you need to focus on. But just remember, those women who are judging you are hurting themselves! Lashing out is their only escape 🙁 sad if you ask me!

  14. Rachel Hollis

    Thanks for your note, the saddest part about the whole moms-judging-other-moms thing is that we’d all be SO much stronger if we supported each other regardless of whether or not we agree on parenting styles. I hope that by talking about it we’ll start to shape a new way of interacting with other women. xo, Rachel

  15. Simone

    My six year old niece always says “different families, different rules.” I think that is such a great thought to have. For her it applies when she asks why so and so can do things she can’t, but as a new mom I think of it when i need to remind myself that everyone is going to do what is best for them and their families. A lot of my girlfriends had babies last year, and we are all doing some things the same but some things waaaay different. There’s no need to judge other families. Just remember; different families, different rules 🙂

  16. Simone

    And both of your articles are written very well. They’re funny and true. I would like to meet these people that cannot relate to babies crying all night and such. Keep it up Rachel!!! You are an amazing mom!!!

  17. Auntie Di

    Oh my! The best things two experienced moms said to me after the birth of my first:
    1. “I hate nursing, but I do it because it’s good for the kid”
    2. ” don’t you just want to throw them on the couch and yell shut up sometimes”
    I was not having all those warm fuzzy feelings about nursing it seemed all the other moms were having. And though I, nor the mom who suggested it, would EVER throw our babies on the couch and scream, I admit in my post partum state to safely laying my screaming baby in his crib and taking a tennis racket to some boxes in the garage.
    In my opinion, there is nothing more important for a new mom than honestly sharing some of those crazy thoughts with other moms. Being a mom is indescribably wonderful and unbelievably difficult. Moms need to stick together and support each other!

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