Top ten ways to be a miserable mother

Top ten ways to be a miserable mother (and a little encouragement).

I know. Quite the ironic title for a “Mother’s Day” post.

Mother’s Day is about honoring the women in our lives who have mentored, guided, raised and loved us. I have many, many women whom, without them, I would be less intelligent, compassionate, kind, efficient and aware of my blessings.

Top 10 ways to be a miserable mother (and a little encouragement).

But while we are honoring all those who have walked this holy path of motherhood and womanhood before us and as we demonstrate how to honor women to those behind us, I want to pull up the corner of the red carpet and sweep out a section that is often overlooked.

*Stage whisper* Men just as often make these same blunders.

To make yourself and those around you miserable, be sure to:

  1. Be completely inflexible. Never allow room for yourself or others to make mistakes and learn and grow.
  2. Always assume your way of doing things is the best and right way.
  3. Never allow room for others to fail and try again.
  4. Micromanage every event and choice in your child’s life.
  5. Assume your husband was merely a sperm donor and ignore his thoughts and insight into parenting.Top ten ways to be a miserable mother (and a little encouragement).
  6. Assume that the only way you can be happy is if everyone does things your way and on your timetable.
  7.  Always, always choose things and deadlines over people and relationships.
  8. Forget that you are raising them to be independent thinkers, feelers and doers. Fill in all the blanks, all the time.
  9. Try to encourage your children to be mini-yous. Never let the kite string out so they can explore things that you find boring or weird.
  10. Always compare your worst self to others’ best selves. Let that mean girl in your read run rampant with discouragement and despair. Never think you can change. Put on repeat all your failures and missteps. Remind yourself constantly that you will never be good enough and there is no possible way that you will ever succeed (whatever that means) in your mothering.

Most of us are feeling slightly uncomfortable at this point because we might recognize a few bad habits in ourselves.

It’s my hope and experience that most of the time we keep our behavior in check in regards to how we treat those closest to us but in certain phases of life when we are inexperienced, ignorant or stressed to the max, we may inadvertently fall into the rut of being a person we’d rather not be.

Top ten ways to be a miserable mother (and a little encouragement).

Before you start sending me venomous comments or emails on how I’m shaming or guilting women on the ONLY BLESSED DAY WE GET POSITIVE ATTENTION, please pause and consider how this list could be generated in the first place. I have done (and continue to do) many of these behaviors.

I write on parenting and marriage and I still struggle to be a decent, kind human being to those I love most dearly. We’re all in this together, y’all.

In one of my favorite scriptures on charity/love (1 Corinthians 1:4) Paul states:

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind” You can read the rest but I want to discuss that one little comma there. Go ahead. Go back and read it again and pause for a good three seconds at the comma before you finish the phrase.

Top ten ways to be a miserable mother (and a little encouragement).

As a writer, the comma puzzled me. Why couldn’t it just say “Charity suffereth long and is kind”? What’s with the comma?

The comma hit me like a 2×4 in my forehead as I felt, Elizabeth, you are incredibly good at suffering long. Let’s give you a nice hip-hip-hooray for that but let’s not stop there. Let’s just pause a moment and reflect that that’s only half of the equation for this depth of love and service. I also need to you be kind. I need you to be kind even when you don’t feel like it or if they don’t deserve it.

 I have been shocked to learn that I can be kind even when I’m stressed, tired, pregnant, exhausted, busy, worried or in a rush. I can be kind regardless of anything. Anything.

Top ten ways to be a miserable mother (and a little encouragement).

 I’m not saying it’s easy, y’all. It’s graduate level love and I’m still struggling to show up to class some days.

I certainly don’t want you to start berating and degrading yourselves trying to convince yourself that you’re a horrible mother.

We women sometimes like to hang out at either end of the extremes—we’re either beautiful or ugly, intelligent or imbecilic, workaholic or binge-watcher, Pinterest genius or burnt toast loser—when honestly the middle ground is a much more humane and generous place to be.

So, if you see yourself in a few of these habits, realize that you and your family are less happy and content because of them. Understand that you CAN change. Small, incremental changes over long periods of time can shift yourself and your family onto healthier and more peaceful paths in the future.

Top 10 ways to be a miserable mother (and a little encouragement).

From one bossy know-it-all mom to another: give yourself some grace, pick one thing to work on, let God’s strength fill you with determination and peace and do your best and for the love, see a therapist if you need it. When you slip up and fail, hit the reset button and try again.

Most of us, most of the time are phenomenal, self-sacrificing and compassionate women. We all do this mothering thing with our own flair and pizzazz. I love watching each of you nurture and develop yourselves as you do the same for your children.

Top 10 ways to be a miserable mother (and a little encouragement).

Enjoy your day. Enjoy your life. Enjoy letting your children enjoy theirs.

Happy Mother’s Day, all you fabulous women out there!

(photo cred:

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