The moment I realized that I had become a Mean Mommy.

So there is a moment in every mom’s life that she realizes that she has indeed been, as I describe it, a ‘mean mommy’. There was a defining moment in my life as a mother, where I realized that I indeed had turned into a mean mommy, and I decided to do something about it. I vowed to never judge or criticize another mom again, cause you never know where life will take you or what challenges you and your family will endure. This will make more sense as your read about my own ‘mean mommy’ moment.A few years back I was in line at the liquor store around the holidays. In front of me was this mother with a little girl who looked to be about four years old. She had a full leg cast on and the mother had her on the counter sitting next to her bottles of wine. At the time, I thought to myself, ‘How on earth did your four year old daughter break her leg?’ Oh…it gets worse. My mind continued to wander, ‘Why would you bring that poor little girl out with you to get your beer and wine?’ Oh…and worse still, ‘You were probably busy drinking wine and not watching your daughter when she broke her leg.’ I’m not just a mean mommy, I’m a mommy monster. Luckily, I have enough sense not to open my big mouth, and stood quietly judging this other mom. Writing this, I am embarrassed to have been such a horrible judgemental mother, even if I didn’t say it.

It often takes hindsight before we can really grow and improve as human beings. This is exactly what it took for me. Almost two years ago, our daughter Jocelyn fell while we were camping. She is a tough little cookie and didn’t cry too much. Days later, we noticed her collarbone area turned yellow and green, oh and there was a bone sticking out. She had broken her collar bone, and we didn’t even know it until days later. The aftermath of doctor’s appointments, x-rays, and a ridiculous amount of judgement, opened my eyes to the tremendous stress that mothers go through when their children get hurt.

james_slingOh wait… it gets better. The universe must have really been sending a message to me. Less than six months later our son thought it would be a good idea to jump off a couch on to an exercise ball. He launched himself across the room and on to the floor. The scream was deafening. After a night at the emergency room, and him almost needing surgery, he was sent home with a sling and a stuffed bear. Oh yeah… and a broken collar bone. Yes that’s right, both our children have now broken their collar bones.

So, this was my moment. After both our children broke their collar bones you can imagine the amount of judgment and criticism I received from other moms. I couldn’t even be angry about it, because I myself remember doing this to another mom. Looking back I wish I had been able to realize a few things about the mother at the liquor store. First off her child was too young to use crutches but too big to use a stroller. This poor mom had to carry her child everywhere. Secondly, it was the holidays and she probably had a million errands that she had to do, including a stop to get some wine. Thirdly, maybe after being through a traumatic event like your child breaking a bone, she just needed some freaking wine. Seriously, I can’t believe that I was once the mommy monster I described. I wish that I would have told that mom that she was doing a great job and that her patience was commendable. I wish I had offered to help her get her daughter out to the car, and her wine safely into her trunk. I wish I would have opened a bottle right there and then and done a ‘cheers’, cause any mom who goes through the stress of a hurt child needs to hear that they are doing a good job.

Please don’t judge me, but reflect on yourself and realize that we all have had a mean mommy moment. Join me now and vow to tell another mom that she is an amazing mother and to support one another through both our struggles and triumphs.


The moment I realized that I had become a Mean Mommy. — 41 Comments

  1. Great blog Janet. My mom tells me all the time what an amazing mom, coworker and person you are. You are not a mean mommy- just a normal one. Often we just need experiences to realize that we are “mean” to judge. Awesome that you are recognize this….so so many never do. Love your positive blog! 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Jen. I really make an effort now to recognize when that ‘want to judge’ urge strikes. Seriously, after having two kids with broken bones, I learned that you never know what life’s going to send your way. Hope you will keep reading!

    • I’m so happy that I got a great response with this post. Being honest with yourself is hard enough, but it was a little scary to write such an honest post about myself for everyone to read. Thanks for your kind words.

  2. I completely agree. I always used to judge and now I think karma has come around because my two boys are wild and out of control. Ha!!!! I am sure you are an awesome mom and accidents happen with kids…. It’s just important that all of us moms support and feel for each other. We never know what is going in at home, work or with the kids.

    • Absolutely. I love the feedback people are providing. It is so important that we support one another, and if we could just try to do it more often than not I think it would make such a difference!

  3. I love your post! I used to look at other moms all the time and wonder why they don’t properly care for their children! I’m now past that and we must realize we only get to see half the story so we can never judge anyone.

    • So true. We can never really understand what another mom is going through until we’ve walked in her shoes.

  4. Society today is conditioned to blame someone every time there is an accident. As long as there are humans there will be accidents. So yes moms, parents, women everyone– quit blami g and start supporting each other.

    • Quit blaming indeed. That’s why they are called ‘accidents’ right? No one ever intends for bad things to happy. And certainly not for our children.

  5. I am overcome with emotion right now Janet – I’m so glad that a) you are my friend and b) that you have found a way to express honesty to the world about being a mom, and find ways to inspire people to be better….well done dear mommy, well done xoxo

  6. Pingback: Are you a mean mommy? | Tell Another Mom

  7. So true! My son goes to the hospital once a year for stitches. The last time was from jumping around on a new beach towel that he had laid out on our carpeted living room floor. His feet just came out from under him while jumping and he split his head open and needed staples. It was nuts but it proved to me that things happen even the most helicopter mom can’t prevent so don’t beat yourself up.

    • Oh no… I can only imagine how stressful need stitches must be. Love the ‘helicopter mom’ comment. It would be so great if we got an extra set of both arms and eyes with every child.

  8. When a friend of mine was very pregnant, she stopped by a liquor store to pick up a bottle of rum for her husband. She got an ear full from the lady behind the counter thinking she was buying it for herself. But then one time, I had my two little girls with me (at 1 and 2 yo) and bought a huge bottle of vodka and a chocolate bar at the grocery store and the cashier said, “Is this for after bedtime?” and gave me a knowing laugh. It was actually for vodka marinara sauce 🙂

    • Ha! Too funny. Just goes to show you that we can’t judge a book by its cover. And really we should never judge to begin with. Love your comment. Hope you will continue to read.

  9. For me it was my horror and judgement at hearing my son’s friend had had 4 fillings and two tooth extractions aged 4 years. Since then my now seven year old has had three fillings and 1 tooth extraction. Mean Mommy indeed!! Great post x

    • Ha! I totally hear you. Stay tuned for my upcoming post on this. My 5 year old son with super high anxiety had to be put out at the hospital to have 3 fillings, a cap and a tooth extracted. Last time I ever judge when I see a silver tooth (or as my son calls it, ‘his bling’)

      • Janet & Be His Mother: PLEASE read the book about curing cavities! Google it – I will be getting a copy as soon as I can afford it. Here’s the link to the site, although I believe it’s cheaper on Amazon:

        And before you ask, no, I get no benefits from sharing other than knowing I have tried to spread the word & maybe helped someone else.

  10. It reminds you of the old saying “walk a mile in his shoes”. We can’t judge others because we really don’t know what is going on with them.

  11. What a great post Janet! We’ve all been there. I can think back to many mean mommy moments of my own! We learn, we reflect and we become better people. I’ve come to realize that we have no idea what is going on in someone else’s life and if we don’t want to be judged, then we shouldn’t judge either. No one is perfect.

  12. Oh yes, we have ALL been there! I think that it’s the pressure we put on ourselves that leads us to judge others. We set our own standards so insanely high there’s no way at all we can live up to them, so it makes us feel a tiny bit better to realize that others have fallen short as well. Children get hurt, even when we’re awesome, amazing, attentive parents! My daughter used to go to school with a boy who had brittle bone disease and I used to think oh his poor mother! So many ER room visits and so many questions she had to answer. I know the bones breaking hurt him, but I think they hurt the mom even more. Give yourself a break, you will do better next time! (maybe that mom will even see this post!)

  13. Aw man.. hindsight is always 20/20 isn’t it? It took me learning some hard truths about myself and others to come to the same conclusions- we as mothers are all in it together!

  14. LOVE! I remember a certain mom giving me the hairy eyeball and a lecture when she saw me feeding my child formula instead of breast milk. Did she know that I had medical issues? Did she know that this was the healthiest thing for my kiddo? Was it her business? Moms should be helping each other out and not pitting ourselves against one another.

    • I know….I actually felt ashamed to feed my baby formula…with all the looks I was getting you would think I was feeding her nails. I tried breastfeeding and it just wasn’t working. As long as the baby is eating, I don’t think there should be any issues with what you chose or have to feed YOUR baby. Every mom out there shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed with what they are feeding their baby. Whether it be formula or breast milk.

      • I agree… we should all do what is best for ourselves and baby. Since starting this blog, I love that I don’t feel ashamed of any of my decisions because I know there is a whole community of moms here that will support me. Thanks.

  15. Thank you for a great read! We all have our moments where we look back and think maybe I shouldn’t have judged that other Mom. I remember thinking my sister was so mean when she wouldn’t let her kids fall asleep in the car. Thinking back, it was close to bedtime and I now know napping close to bedtime means children up late. I am now that Mom that if we are in the car and nearing bedtime and one of the kids is falling asleep I blare the music, talk to them non-stop and open up their window! Maybe not all at once but you get the idea! 😉 We all have our mean Mommy moments and have to learn that our kids forgive us within minutes so we need to forgive ourselves and move on because we ARE good Moms!!

    • I have TOTALLY been the mom blaring the car radio to keep the kids awake too!!

  16. It’s so great you wrote this. I think women are eachothers own worst enemies…especially moms..and especially moms of younger children.
    I’ve seen so many judgemental blogs about moms on their cell phones at the park or other judgy, preachy ‘perfect mother’ posts and it’s just horrifying. I’ve done it myself on more than one occasion.

    What moms DON’T need is more stress and pressure and judgement. We need acceptance, kudos, understanding and, yeah…sometimes a cold beer and a moments peace and quiet.

    I’m glad your punkins are ok. Jumping off the couch onto a workout ball sounds exactly like something my son would do..good thing I don’t exercise!! 😉

    • I agree, there are a lot of judgy mom posts out there. The thing I love about this community is that everyone has always been SO respectful even if they don’t always agree with what’s being said. I wrote a post on breastfeeding and was amazed that despite there being different opinions everyone seemed to support one another. THAT is what it is all about… support and encouragement. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article and hope you’ll spread the word.

  17. Thank you for writing this Janet 🙂 I believe that every mother out there can relate to this and maybe rethink about stuff they think or say about other moms…I believe no one should judge because there is a story behind every mom and child. This post will stay with me and help me rethink :), and if I see someone else picking on a mom about her child I will stand up for her.

  18. great article! I know I have judged and been judged. my favorite was when my daughter at 15 months broke her arm (fell off a chair, she was a climber) some one asked if social services had been called and if i was being investigated because she felt,my daughter was too young to break a bone. I held my tongue because I wont cus someone out with my children present. If anyone knows my daughter at 5 now, she is active and clumsy! a few broken bones, stitches and many bumps and bruises doesn’t slow her down!

    • I totally hear you Laura.. I honestly kept telling myself that my son was going to be okay because I was so scared to go to the hospital with a kid with ANOTHER broken bone. No one called social service and my doctor actually was amazing and calmed ME down. But strangers… whooa look out… judgment thrown at me every which way!! Glad your daughter is okay.

  19. I really enjoyed your story here Janet. Motherhood teaches us so many things… but what it has made me personally most recognize is that everyone is different AND that you are SO much for effective as a mother and a person when you leave judgement and guilt behind you. I love your mission here on this site – and I have enjoyed keeping up with your blog as a subscriber since Lisa passed your info onto me!