Who is the Bad Mother?

Who is the Bad Mother?

Yesterday I posted “‘How I Coped’ by A Mother of 13” and one Facebook reader commented that mothers of large families are bad mothers of bad children.

Which got me thinking about which mothers are bad mothers.

1st time mothers?
5th-time mothers?
13th-time mothers?
Working mothers?
Stay-at-home mothers?
Poor mothers?
Wealthy mothers?
Single mothers?
Mothers in difficult marriages?
Mothers in easier marriages?

And for the next few hours my mind flipped through my mental rolodex– stories of the hundreds of mothers I’ve known or read about. Very different mothers in very different situations. Some coping more and some coping less with their mothering challenges. But for the life of me, I couldn’t think of any iron rule, any specific life or family situation that makes a mother or her children good or bad.

I once heard that the famous 4 sons of Seder night are not actually referring to individual children. In reality, each one of us is ALL 4 SONS. During the morning rush I’m the evil son, at gan pickup I’m the smart son, by dinnertime I’m the innocent son, but by bedtime I’m the son who has no idea what to ask.

And like all of us, I’m trying to be a good mom. I don’t always succeed. But I never stop trying. And I think that’s what makes all of us:

The 1st time mothers
The 5th-time mothers
The 13th-time mothers
The working mothers
The stay-at-home mothers
The poor mothers
The wealthy mothers
The single mothers
The mothers in difficult marriages
The mothers in easier marriages…

The mothers who struggle and fall (and fall again) and still pick ourselves up and try again…that’s what makes all of us good moms.


  1. Beautiful!

  2. Love it! so true! I always am so judgmental about myself and others. If as adults some of my children have made choices that I am not happy about, I start questioning my mothering abilities from their childhood… At some point it is not about us at all. That is why I really liked yesterday’s article.

    • Hadassah, I can totally relate to what you wrote, about adult children and about questioning what kind of mother I was when they were small. I would like to be mechazek what you said – it is not about us at all.

  3. awwww love it. ❤️❤️❤️

  4. I would add young mothers and older mothers, mothers with health conditions and mothers after infertility (or with secondary infertility) to that list. There is no end of judgements of “you should have had kids earlier/later/more of them/less of them/closer together/more apart” etc etc.

  5. Love it!
    I would add to the Last lines….in the torah it is said : seven times fall the tzadik and raises up.
    The explanation i had heard is that just because he falled, he could become a tzadik
    So the struggles in motherhood is What really make us better and push us to grow. And definitily, We make our effort and from hashem comes the result!
    Also good children come from difficult homes and they chose overcome they situation…and the contrary.

    Have a great week!

    • I never heard that before–that a person became a tsadik because he fell! interesting:)

    • Chagit Zelcer

      Agreed. Especially with the last 2 lines. Reminds me of that phrase: “You’re not a winner or a loser, you’re a chooser!” Thank you!

  6. A non-religious Jewish newspaper here in Melbourne once did a feature article on large families. A reporter came to our home to interview us, as well as three other families. Unbeknown to us, it was to accompany an article about new services to help the ‘underprivileged’ religious families. Thank G-d, when the reporter asked the social worker who worked for the Jewish social services provider if large families had more problems with their children, she answered with a resounding “NO!”
    In addition,all of the families in the feature article made a favorable impression. It turned out to be a real Kiddush Hashem!

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