Regret Not Being a Good Enough Mother

Feeling sick, difficult to sit with how I have parented my son. It’s been hard, but I have done my best. I feel sorry for him. He complains that I yell at him, that I am abusive, too loud. That he experiences me as abusive kills me, causes me great pain. I’ve tried SO HARD to be the best mother I could be. It has been SO IMPORTANT to me. And I’ve failed? How could this be? I know I have bipolar disorder. I know I have a temper. But abusive… really? I want to be a good mother, a good enough mother. It pains me to think that I may not be. His complaints may be unrelated to my diagnosis, save for the temper my son engages. My son and I push each other’s buttons. We both pick and engage in fights with each other. Resentment builds on both sides, me wanting more freedom, him wanting more of me, of my attention. How much more can I give? I believe it is time to give less, not more. I’ve worked so very hard, for so very long. Please, God, help me be a good mother. Please, God, please.

Regret Lashing Out at Those I Love

Remembering an old home movie of my mother as a girl, she danced circles around a group of family members standing on the sidewalk. They stood still. She couldn’t. There was no music, yet she danced. That dancing girl, she is I, I am she. I am the girl dancing around the group, out of sync, dancing to my own music. There are other ways in which I resemble my mother. We share an ability to slay with words. She was not only the dancing girl, but the debate team captain. This characteristic, the pugilist in me, I must restrain. I have been mean. I have lashed out at those I love. Please, God, help me be a kinder, more loving person.

Regret Withholding Love

Recently my husband mentioned that he always says “I love you” first and that I then respond “I love you, too.” Am I withholding love? Since he pointed out this dynamic to me, I’ve been saying “I love you” first more often.

Back in high school, a history teacher told me that I held people at a distance. At the same time, he said I was a people-person and should go into business, not medicine (at the time I aspired to become a neurosurgeon). Which was it, aloof or social? Years later, when I was a legal assistant, I had a co-worker who claimed he didn’t like me until he got to know me. He said I came off as a bitch at first. Some people don’t like me because I act too smart and seem condescending. Maybe I protect myself by holding back, by putting on airs, by not participating, by hiding my flame, by covering my heart.

My goal is not to be liked. At the same time, I do not want to hurt people, least of all my husband and son. Please, God, help me give love freely without withholding.


  1. Thank you for your kind thoughts. I am well. We are actually a very close and loving family, but all three of us are very sensitive and sometimes overreact to each other.

  2. Tough stuff! Wish you everything well.

  3. Haha, you’re welcome!

  4. Never too late. Parenting is a life long endeavor.

  5. In my case, my son has left and is in 3rd year of college. Probably, too late. But, yea.

  6. I pray that you have continued success in your efforts to become a better parent. Coping, just getting through the day and being functional can be difficult. Parenting is our greatest challenge and our highest calling. I hope your mental health continues to improve and that you gain greater insight into how your behavior affects those you love and that you gain the self control needed to make the best use of that insight.

  7. Thank you again, Aul.

  8. Hi, I have similar regrets with how I parented my son. I’m just becoming aware of my ‘actual’ problems. Much understanding your way.

  9. I understand. It’s nice to know you have a good family relationship and are striving to be the best you can be for them.

  10. Thank you. And, I was being hard on myself, trying to examine and root out flaws. We have a very tight, very loving small family. As such, we affect each other deeply.

  11. I’m not saying that your way of loving your husband is FLAWED. However, I don’t think you should feel bad about him being the lover and you being the beloved. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
    And I know that you can overcome any negative part of yourself with the support of family, friends, and God 🙂

  12. Thank you, Aul. You have an interesting perspective. I show my love for my husband in how I care for him. Although I consider myself a feminist, I find that women often act as caretakers. My husband provides for the family, plays with his son, loves us well and is devoted. I love both my son and my husband, showing it by cooking many (but not all) meals and tending to them. We have settled into fairly conventional roles. I, though, am fiery and can be ruthless. My intellect needs an outlet. My husband and son are both brilliant, so we do challenge each other intellectually, but our interests differ. I’m more artist than engineer, more ruthless bottom-line businesswoman than detail-oriented technician. This part of me, the ruthless fiery warrior woman has to rein her fury when parenting a sensitive adolescent.

  13. I’ll pray for you again! But, respecting that you’re an adult and I’m not, I don’t think you should worry about saying “I love you” first. Men are the givers in a relationship; they are made to give love. Women are made to receive love. Just because you don’t say “I love you” first doesn’t mean you don’t love your husband. In fact, how you receive his love is how you love him the most, by allowing him to do or say nice things to you, and in this case, you obviously receive his “I love you”s quite well because you return them.

  14. Thank you, Dyane. Check out my response to Shayna where I describe somewhat that this post is part, but not all of the story. I do try to be the best mother I can, but I am not perfect. I stumble. I fall. I snap.

  15. Honestly, I was focusing on my downfalls. I actually make a concerted effort to be an excellent mother and I do try to be a loving wife. But, I’m something of ambitious, intellectual, artistic snob whose illness and whose son’s needs have made working while mothering untenable. Balance is a difficult goal to reach. On the one hand, I succeed; on the other, I fail.

  16. I agree with Susan – this post is honest and raw; those are my favorite kinds of posts. They stay with me and make me feel less alone, for I have some very similar issues. You are brave to admit your faults so candidly. Your vulnerability comes through clearly as you express your desire to be kinder and more loving to others. I respect your faith and perspicacity very much. I look forward to every post.

  17. You are strong for taking an honest look at yourself. It isn’t easy to admit our shortcomings. Best of luck to you in working through them.

  18. Thank you, so much, Susan, for your kind thoughts and for your prayers.

  19. This is so honest and heartfelt, Kitt, it makes my own heart ache. These surely are the kinds of prayers God hears – humble pleas of mourning and repentance. Lifting you up to Him now.

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