If you're like most mothers, you've read lots of books and magazine articles, and had lots of advice on how to raise your children. And by now you're convinced that you're never going to be able to do half of what the "experts" tell you is necessary. Guess what, you're right. Parenting in the real world doesn't always have a lot to do with what the experts say. Most of the time it means doing what works for you and your family to get through each day. We know, we've been there, we're there right now and we're not ashamed to admit it.

So here are the things that real Moms do. We asked everyone to confess their sins so we could let others know that the world is full of imperfect human Mommies. Some will make you laugh, some might make you mad, but here are the real-world compromises that get us through. And if you see yourself in one or two or ten of the things mentioned here, then all we can say is "Welcome to the Bad Mommy Club, you're in good company."

Pick a Topic

Breast Or Bottle, Seems You Never Can Win
Working Outside the Home
Bedtime and Sleeping
Making Childhood Memories
Distracting Them
Walkers, Jumpers, Pacifiers and Other No-Nos
Setting a Good Example
Pregnancy or "How To Be A Bad Mom Before The Baby Arrives"
Being a Selfish Mommy


When they bring up simple subjects like, "My friend Bob was slamming into his locker he was so mad," I tend to give them these long, tedious, anthropological explanations about why Bob does that, stretching it sometimes all the way back to when Bob's ancestors were apes in the fields. And I won't stop, even when the kids are obviously completely tuned out and bored to tears, dying for the phone to ring...anything to get mom to STOP! And they say I do it in this really monotonous, teacher-like, droning voice, kinda like that science teacher in the TV show "The Wonder Years."

I spatted the well-padded bottoms of my toddlers, and even sometimes lightly spatted the chubby thighs when they were being total brats.

My kids are not allowed to say "That's not fair" to me.

When he refused to come inside one night, I told my son "I'm taking that bike away forever and giving it to a GOOD child." Then I left him alone in the garage clutching one of the support columns screaming "I want to go outside" for about twenty minutes.
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I never use bleach in my laundry or fabric softener, and I don't even get stains out very well. I take the bad stains to my MOTHER to get them out!

Speaking of laundry, I recently waited so damn long to iron that my daughter OUTGREW one of her favorite dresses, which was in the to-be-ironed stack.

I rarely change sheets....I don't change the sheets much (no June Cleaver here! LOL)....I only wash sheets now because he has potty accidents in our bed and his all the time. (But I'm afraid to go back to diapers.)....I rarely change the sheets on my son's bed--just brush the sand/dirt, etc. out.... I don't wash our sheets very often. Before getting a housekeeper it was maybe once every six weeks, if I remembered. Thank goodness she does it every other week now. I never seem to get around to ironing those dresses or washing those sheets either.

I rarely ever washed the pacifier....I blow off the pacifier instead of boiling it....I've also done the picking up the pacifier and putting it in my mouth to wipe it off thing....I regularly pick the pacifier off the floor under the bed and put it right in his mouth.

I washed baby bottles in the dishwasher. I just read this past weekend, in one of the parenting magazines, that this is not sufficient for sterilizing them though it never seemed to harm my kid....Now that I have also found out dishwashers don't sterilize, that won't deter me from putting bottles, nipples and breast pump parts in there....I will run the dishwasher when it isn't full just to wash the bottles if I am too tired to hand wash them. (Sterilizing them, what's that?)....I only wash his bottles and my pump stuff in hot, soapy water....I also used the dishwasher for bottles, didn't know you weren't supposed to. Now that I know I'll STILL use the dishwasher for baby #2.
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Mealtimes and Menus

My daughter refuses to eat breakfast early, so sometimes she doesn't eat before she goes to school.

I have given up on feeding her a normal breakfast and have been reprimanded by daycare staff for bringing her to the daycare with a Starbuck's kids hot chocolate in one hand and a plain bagel in the other. ( I told them that criticizing me for the Starbucks breakfast showed a lack of cultural sensitivity because I, like many Peruvian children, was raised on coffee with steamed milk and bread for breakfast. I was merely carrying on a family tradition.)

I forgot to feed my daughter supper to the other night because she didn't want to eat when the rest of us did!...Last night, between the time we got home and the time she went to bed, she had 4 popsicles.

I allow my 7 year old son to have Pringles for breakfast but draw the line at soda.

I consider popsicles food... I think that raisins and string cheese are a perfectly acceptable supper... Cereal is a dinner food, and peanut butter & crackers can be used for breakfast...One day I gave my daughter Cool Whip on her carrots to get her to eat them.

I tell my daughter that now Happy Meals come with fewer French fries as I dump some out in the bottom of the bag, hoping she'll eat at least one chicken nugget. I also let her have the toys before she was 3.

I let him eat lollipops first thing in the morning (anything to get him into the car and on our way to school).
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I let him snack as much as he wants...There is no limit on candy, ice cream or juice... I let my son have chocolate on his first birthday and whenever we feel like it since then. Good chocolate. It's something we both love. Some weekends we have chocolate milk shakes for dinner.

I've been known to ignore it while my daughter picks up her cookie from our carpet and merrily munches it.

I allow her to paw through her Sesame Street vitamins looking for Elmo.

I let her have peanut butter when she was less than 2, despite our pediatricians warning, and she developed an allergy to peanuts... I let them eat peanuts after age 2.

I went along with my husband's efforts to wean her by replacing "mama milk" with chocolate milk.

I used commercial baby food (always planned to make my own; hasn't happened and probably won't happen).

I don't force them to eat their vegetables--in fact, we've been known to have cereal for dinner when my husband is out of town!...I don't let them have dessert unless they eat their vegetables.

I love fast food & give in to the boys almost every time they beg to go to McDonald's. And I allow them to drink soda.

I occasionally pick up the cracker or biter biscuit my daughter has thrown on the floor, wipe it off, and give it back to her.

I started solid food at 2 months (with the doctor's Okay).
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Breast Or Bottle, Seems You Never Can Win

I never breastfed, all formula from day one... Had the hospital give her a bottle so that I could rest and she was supplemented from that day forward (breastfeeding lasted two weeks)... I didn't even TRY to breastfeed my youngest...I gave up breastfeeding my first daughter after 2 weeks (it was driving me nuts). I didn't even try with the second one...I quit breastfeeding when she was 4 months old, with work and pumping it got to be too much of a hassle.

I breastfed for over 2 1/2 years, even when I knew it was just for comfort or because it was easier to get him to sleep that way than by being patient enough to sing, tell stories, rock, etc. And even when he embarrassed others by lifting my shirt in the middle of a restaurant, etc., when he was obviously not a baby anymore...I "gave in too much" to my infant, feeding him whenever he asked, day and night, even if he was "just using me for comfort" (Yes, this was an actual criticism! See? you really can't win)...I currently breastfeed my 4mo, but regularly use a pacifier to squelch his happy squeals when we're in church, at parent's meetings, etc. (Now they're saying to breastfeed isn't enough, you also have to let them use you as a pacifier)...

I only breastfed for 4 months and supplemented with a bottle of formula the whole time...I breastfed for only 4 months and supplemented with formula, sans guilt.

My second child, my daughter, and I both disliked that breastfeeding experience...never did work as well as the first kid. So I eventually switched to a bottle, AND I FELT NO GUILT! And I'd do it sooner if I had it to do over again. AND FEEL NO GUILT!
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Working Outside the Home

I work fulltime and don't even do daycare drop off/pickup, so all of the information that I have about my son’s day is third-hand, via my husband. (Working fulltime bothers me, but the information conduit doesn't.)

Because I work fulltime, I miss out on most of the really bad poopie diapers, and am secretly happy about that.

I went back to fulltime work when she was 5 weeks old. Sometimes this choice has saddened me to the point of madness and sometimes it seems like it was the only reason I didn't end up with severe Postpartum Depression. In any case it seems like the right choice now.

I took him to work with me for the first year or so and let him spend as much time sleeping in the swing as I could get away with. And when he started moving around, I would spend up to an hour with no idea where he was or whether my co-workers, bosses, or customers were stopping him from chewing on the electrical cords or banging on the glass. (We sell showcases - there were tons of both everywhere he went!)

I started fielding phone-in questions from work when my son was two weeks old.

I was anxious to get back to work after nine weeks and I like my job but don't LOVE it.

I work full-time and LOOKED FORWARD to going back after maternity leave.

I work in a job that involves some travel and some nights away from home.

As a working mom, I gave birth to a second child "to leave with someone else to raise".

Like most of you, I'm out in the workplace while someone else is influencing my child! Horrors! He has MORE THAN TWO consistent, loving, people in his life who he sees every day!

I like working and am not giving it up, ever.

Only took off 4 weeks and back to work.

I worked from home during my 4 months of maternity leave (started when he was 5 days old) - I mean working at least 2 hours a day....

I work full time and love my career.
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Bedtime and Sleeping

I'm fairly intolerant when it comes to nighttime wakings.

I let her snuggle up with me on the couch in front of the TV and fall asleep--then I carry her to bed--did I mention that she's 8.75! (she is, however very tiny for her age--lucky for me!

I let him go to sleep with a bottle in his bed.

I absolutely refuse to let my all-elbows toddler sleep in the bed with me, even after a nightmare. (funny story here - last night he asked if he could sleep in the bed with me, I told him "no Sweety, now you're a big boy and you sleep in your own bed." He looks around at the bed in our bedroom and says "what, is this a crib?" who would have thought a toddler could master sarcasm?)

I suggested that my mother give her ice cream as part of her going to bed ritual when I was not there to nurse her to sleep.

He sleeps in our bed as much as he wants, even though I don't really want him there anymore. But training him to go to his own room is too much effort.

I let my colicky infant sleep in the bed with me.

I often let my colicky infant fall asleep in the baby swing while I fell asleep next to him on the couch, sometimes for hours on end.
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I let them cry it out, if nothing I tried seemed to comfort them.

I let him scream and cry if he wants to (he's 2) and I ignore it.

I did "let him cry" when I realized he was going to want me to rock him forever in order to sleep.

I've pulled her beloved Pooh underwear out of the dirty laundry rather than fight to get her into a different pair.

I have sent her to day care in her pajamas (regular clothes packed in her bag) when she refuses to change.
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I keep the TV on a lot....Taught our child how to turn on the TV at the tender age of 10 months.

I don't limit TV time.... I don't screen or limit TV....No limit on TV as long as he leaves me alone in the evening....No limit on TV, he watches all the Babylon 5 and Star Trek I can find....We watch TV during dinner....I've been known to let them stay up past bedtime for just one more TV show, story, game, snack, etc., just because I'm too tired to argue about it.

He is now obsessed with the Big Comfy Couch which allows me to sit & read, COOL....I pop Blues Clues videos into the machine on weekends as soon as he wakes up so DH & I can sleep in....I sometimes bribe my son to come inside and watch a Thomas the Tank Engine video on a beautiful day so that I can sit back with a magazine.

I refuse to buy any of the licensed products from all of those Disney movies. I refuse to allow the videos into the house too. DS is the only child in daycare who has no idea who Hercules, Godzilla, Superman, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles are.
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Making Childhood Memories

I haven't put any pictures in albums since my daughter was about 1 month old.

I have gotten up with her when neither of us could sleep and had an outrageous amount of fun playing in the living room.

Take pictures of the kid in the absolutely cutest outfits, or bare-bottomed. Know these will embarrass him someday, but do not care.

I'm WAY behind on baby book entries. I also only wash his bottles in the dishwasher and his pacifier in hot soapy water - at the suggestion of my sister, a pediatric nurse. So I'm not sure if that's enough to qualify as a bad mommy!

I posted "naked butt" pictures of him on my homepage.

I cut his hair at 4 months (it was really, really long).

I NEVER return the invitations to sleepovers and play dates because I don't like having extra kids around at this point!

The last photo that found it's way into an album was when he was 10 months old. The last professional photo (since I screwed up his class picture) he was 7 months old.
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Distracting Them

I never do arts and crafts with them. I'm just terrible at it.

I thought it was cute watching my daughter (10.5 mo) pull my tampons out of the box--until she chewed some of the wrapper off.

Sometimes I won't let Josh go outside to play because I'm too tired to keep running after him.

I sometimes leave my son alone in the bathtub while I'm puttering around in the next room. I figure as long as he's making noise he's OK.

I let her play with coins when she was less than 1, and watched her swallow a dime.

I would go back and pick her up and take her with me to work if she cried really hard when I left her at daycare.

I am too lazy to play 'tiger' and 'monsters' and let him trike around, even though I send myself off for a bike ride every evening.

I haven't gotten out my daughter's roller skates she got for her birthday because it's too tiring for me to hold her up as she tries to use them.

Sometimes I want to get the kitchen clean, and make Daddy watch the baby, rather than spending my free time with them and cleaning up later.

My husband changes almost every single diaper (I maybe change 2 a week) and I openly LOVE THAT.

I tell him I'm too tired to play ball because I don't really like playing ball.

I refuse to read a book more than twice in a row.

My husband and I sent our daughter to stay with her grandparents for almost two weeks when she was 7 months old. We packed and moved into a house (I won't do that again until she's older...it was terrible on all of us)

Some days, while I look very much forward to seeing my daughter after work, I dread the nightly routine with her.

I immunized.

I REFUSE to buy a certain pair of shoes (jeans, etc.) because so and so has them!

My 35 month old son is still in diapers. He shows no interest in getting out of them, and I show no interest in dealing with the accidents.

I have been seen more than once in public accompanying my "poopy butt crack boy". Sometimes I forget to bring along diapers, wipes, extra pants... (Ok, usually I remember...)

I send my kid to daycare in stained AND mismatched clothes.
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Walkers, Jumpers, Pacifiers and Other No-Nos

My daughter has slept many a night in clothing "Not Intended for Use as Sleepware."

Used the swing and jumper a lot when he was smaller.

She loved her walker and jumper, and we used them a lot.

She had a "plug" until she was 31 months old (my husband's grandmother told me how awful pacifiers were every time we saw her). We got rid the dear old plug by NOT replacing the old worn one and letting it break. And now for the all time gross one (drum roll please), once whenmy daughter dropped her plug in a store I stuck it in my mouth to clean it off and gave it to her.

I gave my son a wide assortment of cars and other "for 3 and over" toys before his second birthday.

I play music other than Disney and classical for him - he especially loves swing.

I let DD climb trees up to almost 20 feet above the ground when she was three!

I turned her infant car seat to face the front when she reached 20 lbs, not when she was 20 lbs AND a year old.

I put DD in forward facing car seat a little before she weighed 20 pounds.

I have taken her out of her car seat and held her while someone else drove, because we really couldn't stop the car, and she really will never stop crying once she gets worked up.

I put sunscreen on him before he was 6 months old.

I let my daughter use velcro shoes instead of teaching her to tie them up.

I told them the TRUTH about Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny because I'm tired of competing with the image of them.

I let my two year old use the toaster oven by himself to make frozen waffles. I taught him to use the potholders and now I just leave him alone to do it himself.

I made big time use of the baby swing.

I used the baby swing constantly, put the bottle in the dishwasher and throw binkys all over house.
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Setting a Good Example

I don't cook much.

I don't cook much during the week…well, actually not at all. My daughter LIKES bagels for dinner.

My grandmother gives my son huge Lindt chocolate bars every time she sees him. I let him have one square and then devour the rest after she's gone home. Not because I worry about my son eating junk food, but because I don't want to have to clean up messy, chocolate covered child (so I'm a bad mom, and a bad granddaughter).

I regularly steal some of my kids' Halloween candy, especially the really good ones like the mini Hershey's dark chocolate, leaving those yucky pumpkin-looking mushy things for them to eat.

I also steal the Halloween candy (and birthday goody bags)

I've rarely remembered, on my own, to give my kids their promised and agreed-to allowance. If they forget to remind me, or if I don't have it on me at the time, they don't get paid...or I guiltily try to pay it back at some point and probably fall short of the full amount. They can never count on me for getting their allowance on time or even in full.

I'm incredibly inconsistent on some things.

I chase the neighborhood cats out of my garden, yelling "Scat" and completely humiliating my teens, who are sure everyone of their friends can hear me.

I laugh when my daughter uses the word "ass" appropriately.

I trick my daughter into letting a neighbor cat into the house, because I know my husband won't get mad at "her".

PMS.... enough said.

I didn't follow through with my planned summer reading program for DD.

My husband STILL can be heard telling her that she is small enough to fit in the recycling bin

I have been known to tell her that a particular book is missing when I can't stand reading it one more time. Ditto certain tapes.

I tell her that our TV doesn't get Barney

I think horrible thoughts about my children. (The other day while fighting with my 3 year old, I was fantasizing about kicking her little bu!! out of the car at daycare and pealing off in the parking lot while yelling, "GOOD! Spend the day with people who actually LIKE you!")
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Pregnancy or "How To Be A Bad Mom Before The Baby Arrives"

I didn't play Mozart to my pregnant belly, get a black and white mobile, or try to speak a foreign language to him.

I ate enormous amounts of chocolate throughout my pregnancy.

I unwittingly hiked past a uranium mine at four months (great photo next to the warning sign we didn't see 'til we were right there).

I toasted my best friend at her wedding, and drank wine at Thanksgiving and Christmas, too.

I completely ignored the "Best-Odds" diet, I just drank extra milk and let my cravings tell me what else to scarf down.

No classical music while pregnant, HARD rock.

Don't like milk, didn't drink it during pregnancy.

I used to play "Poke the Foot" with her for as long as she'd play in utero.

I didn't take pregnancy vitamins with iron because they made me so constipated.
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Being a Selfish Mommy

I have also been immunized against guilt and feel none at all for all of the above transgressions and the million others that I have forgotten.

I CHERISH my time alone!

My husband and I get a babysitter once a week to go to our bowling league.

Relish (without guilt!) when the baby takes a 3-hour nap. Do NOT use this time to catch up on the photo albums, but rather take a long nap myself. Follow up by complaining about never having any private time.

I take time for myself even though I work - in the form of a daily workout before dinner.

I take time for myself everyday (albeit after he's gone to bed).

I cherish my time to myself

I take lots of breaks from mom-hood for myself.

I tell my daughter "I'm working" when I'm really posting on the bulletin boards.

I long to get out of the house without him sometimes, and go to the grocery store, drugstore etc. to fulfill this longing.

Walk around the house with no makeup or bra on. Scary.

My husband and I fight in his presence.

I still want to sleep in on the weekends!
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