Have a kid who likes to test the boundaries and make your crazy? It doesn't mean you're a bad parent. What *does* it mean? Well, I'll tell you.

Why You Are Not a Bad Parent

The Hmmmschooling Mom is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. You can view our full affiliate disclosure here.

Grab your favorite beverage and pull up a chair. We’re gonna have a chat about parenting. More specifically, we’re going to talk about why you are a not a bad parent.

Listen up, y’all. I am a mother. And I am tired.

I’m tired of telling my sons to aim when they use the toilet.

I’m tired of sitting down on a wet toilet seat.

I’m tired to of telling them to be quiet when their night-shift workin’ Dad is sleeping.

I’m tired of dealing with attitudes when the math books come out.

I’m tired of the sighs and the eye rolls and hearing how overworked they think they are.

I’m tired. My guess is if you’re a parent, you’re tired, too.

You’re tired of feeling like a bad parent.

I struggle with this whole bad parent thing every so often. My train of thought plows me head first into a dark tunnel that ends at the question am I just doing a really lame job as a Mom?

And while stuck in that dark tunnel, wondering and struggling, I realize something.

I have this tape that plays through my mind: 

If you are a good parent your kids will listen. All the time. And never ever ever disobey you.


Do you hear that tape in your head?

Look at what my kid did now…I am a complete failure as a parent.

Well, guess what?

That tape will ruin you as a parent.

It will ruin me as a parent.

It will absolutely ruin us.

You are not a bad parent. That tape running through your head is complete BS.

When we’re tired and struggling and overwhelmed and want to throw our hands up in the air, what we really need to remember is:

a) kids test and push boundaries. It’s what they do.
b) It is a parent’s job to remind them where those boundaries are.

It’s that simple.

(So why do we make it so hard?)

Here’s why. Because we think we’re going to get past some magical point and then everything is going to be peaceful. Like there is some parenting milestone we will reach when everything will be okay.

Once whatever happens, we will be happy. We just have to get past whatever and then everything will be perfect.

…Johnny is going to stop peeing on the toilet seat.

…Susie will remember to feed the cat.

…Danny will stop running through the house screaming while Maggie is on the phone.

…Miranda will finally figure out how to multiply by double digits.

The kids will listen and understand and we will have succeeded and everything. will. be. perfect.

But guess what?

That’s complete BS, too.

Listen. You’re not a bad parent. You’re just having a rough time. And it’s normal.

Parenting is wonderful and amazing. But parenting is also hard. It’s stressful and exhausting.

The challenges involved with raising kids don’t ever go away, they just change. We will stress and worry and over-analyze things regardless of whether our kid is 4 or 12 or 17 or even 36.

So when your kids slam the door in your face or won’t pick up their toys or draw with Sharpies all over their dresser or tell you they hate you or cry because you’ve made them finish their math or don’t come home by curfew, does that mean you shouldn’t respond?

No. You need to respond with a reminder of where those boundaries are.

But having kids who test boundaries doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It does not mean you’re a bad parent. It doesn’t mean you’ve completely screwed up and should send them back from whence they came.

It just means you’re a parent.

It means you have children who are alive and breathing and have brains of their own. (Be proud of those kids!)

It means you’re a caretaker and lover and supporter of those kids.

It means you actually care what happens to them. It means you want them to succeed.

And that means you are tired.

Very, very tired.

Have a kid who likes to test the boundaries and make your crazy? It doesn't mean you're a bad parent. What *does* it mean? Well, I'll tell you.


Tired of the sugarcoated version of homeschooling? Read my book The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick.


10 thoughts on “Why You Are Not a Bad Parent”

  1. I so needed this post today also. Mine are 15 and 16 and still pushing limits, with even MORE thought-out and reasonable ideas, even though I may not agree with them.

  2. Amy, we are homeschooling little sinners. That's tough. 🙂 I believe we have to have breaks–time to get help from other homeschool moms, time to pray, time to just rest. I hope you will make some time for that. My boys don't pee on the seat, but they love to get the rim between the seat and the lid. Drives me batty, especially because NONE of them are responsible for it! LOL You just have to laugh. Big hugs coming your way. The good news is it will soon be WARM!!

  3. AMy, I feel you. I have been there! I am there!

    I keep reminding myself that having kids that push the boundaries and scream "I hate you!" means that my kids are free to communicate with me. That means that we actually have a relationship and it's an honest one although sometimes not very respectful.

    I also remind myself that God is the perfect Father and look at His children!! so yeah…. my kids are going to sin and fall short all the time… just like I do… in the mean time, breath and be happy with the little things… celebrate the small successes and mop the pee on the floor.!!! hahahaha 🙂

    thanks for this post… it made my day. I thought I was the only one. I got you to share in my misery. Ha!!! 🙂

  4. I'm tired, too, very, very tired. I've been struggling with patience lately. Part of it is bad allergies acting up again which leaves me feeling drained most of the day, and part of it is kids who want me to play and do things with them every second of the day. I know I shouldn't complain about the last part. One day I will be crying because I'll want to play with them and they won't want to play back. But for now it's exhausting me. Thanks for reminding me that I can never do everything perfectly. I will never have kids who like me every second of the day. I'll feel like a big, fat failure lots of times, but it doesn't mean I am. – from Chris @ Interest-Led Learning

  5. Hi Amy, I have so far read two of your post on parenting and I love you already 🙂 Thank you for these uplifting talks, they r truly helpful to a parent, tired or not

  6. Thank you for this article! I definitely needed to hear this, especially the part about not expecting to reach a point where everything is perfect. If all of us moms tell it like it really is then maybe there wouldn’t be so much mom guilt. We all go through basically the same things! Thank you!

Comments are closed.