There are few things better than hearing a solid mom confession. It’s a glimpse into the realities of life and parenting. True reality, as opposed to the manufactured reality we see on social media, is a very beautiful thing.
As mothers, indulging in a momfession lets us breathe a sigh of relief. They recenter us and remind us that we’re not alone. Because you know what? Motherhood is hard. Motherhood is the real deal. Perhaps most of all, motherhood is something we’re constantly learning about, learning through.
Take me for example. Two months ago, my fourth baby was born. And since then, the confessions I’ve racked up…wow, they amaze even me (and after four kids, not much surprises me!). But the oddest confession I have to share?
Ready for it?
I love that my baby doesn’t sleep through the night.
I know, I know, wild! Who would like that? Well, I do. With a gaggle of kids, I have to be super intentional about spending one-on-one time with each of them. Most days, I either don’t or can’t get that time. It’s something I’m working on, because I know how they and I both crave that special connection. It grounds us and brings us back together. It lets them know that they are intensely loved, and it reminds me why I’m at home, investing in their lives no matter how monotonous these little years seem.
Since the big kids can all race for my attention, my youngest doesn’t get that one-on-one time during the day. But at night, he’s all mine, and I’m all his. When he wakes up to nurse, I love that I get to hold and snuggle him. Granted, when it happens every hour, I start feeling a bit foggy, but once or twice? That’s perfect. Sometimes he’s awake, and we stare into each other’s eyes. Sometimes he dream feeds, and I just hold his little hand while his body is cradled up against mine.
I do look forward to the day when all of my children sleep through the night. But until then, I’m soaking up every last moment of that precious time with just the two of us.
I’ve got a crew of moms ready to spill their deepest, darkest secrets. Maybe one of them will put to words something you’ve quietly thought to yourself recently!
“I let my kids decide how much candy they want to eat.”
“My most recent guilty pleasure,” says Jacoba, a mom of two, “was enjoying the smile on my toddler’s face when I let her eat as much of her Halloween candy as she wanted. It turned out to be about five partial pieces before she got distracted, but I felt a bit like a kid again myself when I let her do it.”
Maria Sanders, a licensed social worker and a parent coach, completely understands Jacoba’s rationale: “Sometimes it just feels good to give in! I love seeing my kids happy! I tell my kids no so many times throughout the day. We all know a bunch of candy in one day won’t kill them. So, why not just say yes?”
“It’s important for our children to know that while we set many boundaries for things like TV, food, and other things,” Sanders says, “we can also have some flexibility.”
“We are models for our children, so it’s good for them to see that sometimes it’s okay to break the rules! Setting boundaries is necessary. However, we must also allow enough independence to be given to our children so they can express their true, authentic selves.”
“I lie about song lyrics.”
Laura, a mom of two, has a brilliant little life hack for all us moms: “My children think that whenever Bruno Mars uses the word ‘sex’ [in his song, ‘Locked Out of Paradise’], he’s saying ‘snacks.’ I am just not ready to explain what sex is, and I don’t think they actually care yet. So I’m saving myself drama and get to have a cute little secret along the way.”
Emberlee, a mom of three, does the same thing: “My kids have heard the words wrong before, and I totally go with it.”
“I’ve also changed words myself. For ‘Uptown Funk,’ they think it says, ‘I’m too hot, I am’ instead of ‘hot damn,’ so I love that. For ‘Shut Up and Dance With Me,’ we say ‘Get up and dance with me.'”
Sanders understands these moms’ thought processes and comments: “Changing the words in songs is actually a really good skill! Many children are not developmentally ready to engage in these heavy duty topics.”
“I water down my kids’ juice.”
“My kids are grown now,” says Kathy, a mom of three, “but when they were little, I would buy the juice concentrate from the freezer section and put an extra container or two of water in the juice pitcher when I mixed it up.”
“My girls were baffled why the same brand/flavor of juice at their grandma’s house tasted so much better … well, grandma bought juice from the refrigerated section and wouldn’t dare to think of throwing off the ratios!”
Sanders says this mom is spot on: “Children should get 5 percent of their daily calories from added sugar, but they tend to get 12–15 percent. If you can find little ways to cut out sugar, you’re doing a good thing for your child.”
“I love it when my kids have a sick day.”
Quite a few moms shared this sentiment. Because let’s face it, when our kids aren’t feeling well, we get to snuggle them up, watch movies together, and fit in extra naps. It’s nice to slow down!
“We don’t have time to snuggle anymore! We live in a fast paced, do-do-do world,” Sanders says. “We have access to emails and phone calls all day long, but we crave that physical touch.”
On average, parents spend somewhere between an hour to an hour and a half caring for their child. “So wishing that your child is sick so you can snuggle makes sense. We get quiet time, we get that physical contact, and maybe we can even have a nice conversation with our children.”
“I hide veggies in TONS of meals.”
“I put protein powder or shredded veggies in so many things,” Charissa, a mom of four, shares. “I tell my 6-year-old that I put special powers in his food (like superhero type powers), and he eats it all up!”
“I think it’s important to give children veggies, and if you have to sneak it in, that’s better than nothing,” says Sanders, “But you need to balance that with having your kids try real solid food … for example, cooked carrots and raw carrots; mashed potatoes, french fries, and a whole potato.”
I think we’d all agree that’s true, but I, for one, love Charissa’s superhero spin. What kid doesn’t want to try something that will make him big and strong?
“I enjoy coparenting with my ex.”
“Ah, this is something divorced moms don’t admit when they are talking to married moms, but the truth is they’ve earned that ‘mamma only time,'” says Amy McManus, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Thrive Therapy. “Being a single parent is even more exhausting than parenting with a partner, and you are allowed to enjoy the breaks!”
Tina, a mom of three, is all about the coparenting game.
“Coparenting is awesome,” she says. “You and the kids get a break from each other, and you’re more apt to give them your best since you aren’t with them every single second.”
Sometimes, seemingly negative situations can create some bright opportunities.
“I love summer break more than the school year.”
Often, we hear parents lament the start of summer break since the hours of childcare significantly increase without the routine of school, but Julia, a mom of one, shares: “Summer break allows a flexible schedule. The school year is stressful to me.” And it’s not a secret that stress is commonplace with parenting.
Sanders notes that flexible schedules allow for more creativity in the activities parents plan for their child.
“I don’t mind when my kid misbehaves.”
“I’m always so proud of my teen when he does well during the week and earns his allowance. When he doesn’t, however, I spend his allowance on myself at Ulta or Sephora,” Kelly, a mother of two, confesses.
Eek! What a lesson.
“‘If you don’t do your chores, then I will do them and I will treat myself to something nice,'” Sanders says. “So if your teen can see that if they actually did their chores, they too can spend the allowance on themselves, then maybe they will be motivated to do some work around the house.”
“I embrace my kids’ messes.”
Jody, a mother to triplets, relishes in a messy house…and a less-than-pulled-together look for herself. Why?
“I kind of don’t mind when my kids dump their toys everywhere—like, everywhere—or when my kids are uber tired and cranky and throwing fits at the witching hour,” she explains. “[It gives me] an excuse [as to] why I look like s*** and am tired and in a bad mood when my hubby comes home.”
Many of us go in to motherhood believing that it will be possible to figure out the best way to parent. It doesn’t take long to realize that is simply not the case.
Jody is completely normal, according to Sanders, who commends her for looking at her life through a positive lens: “… being able to find the bright side of things is a good skill. My kids’ crazy messes can drive me nuts, too, but it’s great when you can flip it around and use it to your benefit.”
Transparency is huge in parenting.
It makes the picture-perfect social media life disappear and returns to it an element of truth. When you and I take the time to be transparent about our struggles, shortcomings, hopes, and desires, we open the door to build a village of like-minded moms.
“It’s tough to be a mom,” McManus says. “There are a lot of expectations, some from outside, and many we just put on ourselves. Many of us go into motherhood believing that it will be possible to figure out the best way to parent. It doesn’t take long to realize that is simply not the case.”
At the end of the day, your best is good enough.
“There are many different theories of parenting, and when you are in the trenches, sometimes you just do the first thing you think of. There is a lot of judgment, as well, not only from society in general, but also from other moms,” McManus continues. “The more moms can open up and share their true feelings and experiences with each other, the more they can all begin to support each other in this crazy endeavor called ‘parenting.”
No doubt we are all trying our best in this motherhood gig, confessing our secrets along the way.
“At the end of the day, your best is good enough,” says parent coach Gina Baker. If you question whether or not you should make a confession yourself, don’t hesitate! That dose of reality allows us to thrive as moms. The real deal is the best deal.