When we’re children, our parents mean the world to us. So having one or both of them fail to take care of us the way we need them to can be incredibly hurtful. Bad mothering can cause even more distress further down the line, especially for women, who are then afraid of repeating their mothers’ mistakes. These bad mothers quotes I selected illustrate the many different ways someone can fail as a mother.
Clearly, not all women deserve to experience the joys of motherhood. But if you’ve been wondering whether you are a bad mother, you can probably rest easy. After all, how could you be a bad mother if you care enough to worry about that?
On the other hand, you may still be struggling with the trauma you have survived while dealing with your own mother. Hopefully, these words of wisdom will provide you with some comfort and reassurance.
19 Bad Mothers Quotes for Those Who Need to Hear Them
Bad Mothers Quotes That Show What Makes Someone a Bad Mom
#1. “If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am, in fact, a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.” — Ayelet Waldman
#2. “More than any other personality trait, my mother seemed to be ruled by anger and sadness. She seemed to hate being a mother. Watching her unhappiness as I grew up made me conclude that the answer was to try and be as unemotional as I could, which many therapists have taught me is a bad idea. It also made me want to avoid marriage and having children.” — Merrill Markoe
#3. “I don’t yell back at my mother. When I’m angry or scared or upset, I don’t yell. I stay quiet. I’ve seen how she is, how she would get with Kent and with me and with other people, like if someone at the pharmacy got in the wrong line or asked too long a question, or if someone on the bus accidentally bumped her. I’ve watched her my whole life, the way people react to her. It doesn’t actually help you get what you want, yelling and being like that. It only makes people think bad of you.” — Sara Zarr
Bad Mothers Quotes That Confirm Some People Aren’t Made for Parenthood
#4. “I make a bad mom, but I can pull off a crazy aunt.” — Ilona Andrews
#5. “I work too much to be an appropriate parent. I feel like a bad mom to my dog some days because I’m just not here enough. I just feel like I would do a bad job if I took the time to literally give birth to a kid right now and try and juggle everything I’m doing.” — Rachael Ray
#6. “I work too hard; I’d be a really bad mom, unfortunately. I can’t even keep a plant!” — Maria Ressa
#7. “And that’s the insult of it — how always, it comes back to a woman being a ‘good’ mother in the world’s eyes or a ‘bad’ mother, how everything in a woman’s life is funneled through her body between her legs.” — Joyce Carol Oates
Bad Mothers Quotes That Show Why We’re Afraid of Being Bad Parents
#8. “One of the darkest, deepest shames so many of us mothers feel nowadays is our fear that we are bad mothers, that we are failing our children and falling far short of our own ideals.” — Ayelet Waldman
#9. “Social expectations about what constitutes a good or a bad mother haunt every decision, and the rise of the parental advice industry ensures that moms and dads feel inadequate at every turn.” — Jessica Valenti
#10. “Fear is at the root of so many of the barriers that women face. Fear of not being liked. Fear of making the wrong choice. Fear of drawing negative attention. Fear of overreaching. Fear of being judged. Fear of failure. And the holy trinity of fear: the fear of being a bad mother/wife/daughter.” — Sheryl Sandberg
#11. “Admitting that this job isn’t always easy doesn’t make somebody a bad mother. At least, it shouldn’t. We’re all on this ride together. We are not the first ones to ever accidentally tell our children to shut up or wonder — just for a moment — what it would be like if we’d never had children. We aren’t the first mothers to feel overwhelmed and challenged and not entirely fulfilled by motherhood. And we certainly won’t be the last. Nothing can be lost by admitting our weaknesses and imperfections to one another. In fact, quite the opposite is true. We will be better mothers, better wives, and better women if we are able to finally drop the act and get real. Who are we pretending for, anyway?” — Jill Smokler
Bad Mothers Quotes for Moms Who Worry Too Much
#12. “You’re always going to wonder if you’re doing things wrong, but that’s what it means to be a mom. To care so much about someone else that you just want to be as perfect as possible.” — Naya Rivera
#13. “Repeat after me: ‘I am not a bad mom! I am a good mom having a bad day.’”
#14. “Good mothers make all kinds of choices. Making a decision that might sound selfish does not make a woman a bad mother.” — Jada Pinkett Smith
#15. “I don’t beat myself up anymore about going to work. It doesn’t mean I’m being a bad mother just because I want to go and do my job sometimes.” — Kate Winslet
#16. “I hope my work ethic and positive outlook can be a testimony to other working mothers who may doubt their ability to be a career woman and a great mom. You can accomplish both.” — Gwen Darby
#17. “Every single second of every single day… I don’t know if I feel like a bad mom, but at the end of the day, I’m always plagued with, ’Did I do enough? Should I go in a different direction?’” — Sandra Bullock
#18. “Stay-at-home moms feel guilty because they’re not doing enough… Working moms feel guilty because they’re not doing enough… Let go of the guilt. You are enough.” — Amy @ The Savvy Sparrow
#19. “I’m not a good mom; I’m not a bad mom. I’m the mom I am, and I try very hard, and when I fail, that’s okay.” — Kristen Bell
Most of our mothers will disappoint us at some point — that’s a simple fact of life. But that doesn’t necessarily make them bad mothers. What does make someone a bad mother is purposely and continuously neglecting the needs of their children without trying to change that behavior. But that also means that one can’t be a bad mother if they’re trying to do what’s best for their kids.
Sadly, there are plenty of bad moms around. However, there is only one way to prevent them from inflicting lasting damage. Essentially, people need to know themselves enough to understand that they wouldn’t make a good parent, at least for the moment.
On the other hand, I’ve also included plenty of quotes from women who clearly want to be or already are mothers. So many of us live with the constant fear that we’re doing something wrong in most areas of our lives. However, motherhood amplifies and focuses that anxiety.
We want our children to have the best of everything, but we’re afraid of spoiling them. We want to empower them to live their lives capably and honorably, but we also want to coddle them. Hopefully, these bad mothers quotes can help you strike that perfect balance while avoiding the pitfalls of parenthood.