It is easy to feel like you aren’t a good mom. Like you are failing. Here’s my story on how I came up short but still found a way to connect with my daughter. 

I’m a bad mom. This is the exact thought I had this morning as I sat on my kitchen floor with my tearful 5-year-old clinging to my neck. School’s out for the day. And I was headed off to work—once reality sunk in that I wouldn’t be at home all day like she had envisioned . . . all hell broke loose.  

“I want my mommy! I never get to see you anymore!” 

My. Heart. Shattered. 

It would be an understatement to say I have been busy. My typical day starts with hauling off my rambunctious kindergartener to school. Her uniform wrinkled. Her pigtails uneven. 

But she’s there on time! This is a win after trying to get her to just brush her teeth for a solid 20 minutes. 

After eight hours of sitting at a desk, I drag my tired, lifeless body to school for the evening. But not before I grab an extra-extra-large coffee. Zombies have nothing on this mama. 

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Homework and deadlines multiplying by the minute. A couple of dogs sitting at my feet begging for belly rubs (and treats). A husband who has lost his wallet for the third time. 

These days, a quick scroll through my newsfeed is my social life.

A kindergartner who needs help with her spelling—Handwriting Without Tears, my butt. 

Dishes and laundry piling up, and I attempt to convince myself that it’s all an illusion. I blink and chaos ensues. 

To say I am mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted doesn’t quite define it. If I’m being completely honest, I’ve been running on fumes for months. We all know how unhealthy that is. 

But that’s the life of a parent sometimes. 

I have tried (and failed) to use free moments for some form of self-care. I bear no shame in that. 

But I forgot my little mini-me was needing some quality mommy and me time, too. 

So as we’re sitting on the cold floor, and I’m wiping her tears away, the mom guilt kicked in. The mom guilt that never fails to creep in at the worst possible times. You know what I’m talking about.

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I scolded and kicked myself for being so self-absorbed in getting everything on my to-do list checked off, I failed to take a moment to grab my daughter by the hand and just dance like no one’s watching or to even ask how her day went. 

I failed. It rings over and over in your mind like a church bell at noon.

Your brain wastes no time going to war. You berate yourself for being a bad mommy. You attempt to reassure yourself you’ll make up for it by taking them to do something fun. But, Oh no, don’t do that tonight because you haven’t slept in days!

Sometimes as a parent—you have this undeniable instinct you cannot ignore. There’s no question that your mini-me desperately needs this. Today. 

Not tomorrow or this weekend. Today. 

I promised my daughter as soon as I got home from work, we were going to do whatever her little heart desires. Just the two of us.

I pull in the driveway to see that she already has her jacket on ready to go. My once shattered heart is now bursting. Somebody is actually excited to spend time with little old me?!

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My daughter chose a simple night of shopping at the mall, boba tea, and cuddling with every puppy at the pet store. Exactly what the doctor ordered. 

I’m not sure whose smile was bigger. 

Quality time with your children that doesn’t drain the very little energy you have left. Impossible, right? 

Not exactly . . . 

Go for a walk together. But stop to smell the flowers.

Sing in the car REALLY LOUD.

Build a super cool fort. And then cuddle in it.

Make ice cream sundaes—don’t forget the chocolate syrup and sprinkles!

Give your daughter a face mask and pedicure. And let her paint your toes too.

Remember, it’s about quality time, not quantity. 

We moms are busy trying to keep our heads above water and survive. We often forget the best remedy is to hang out with our pretty cool kids. A chance to escape the world together for a while. 

Turns out I needed this more than she did. Today. 

Not tomorrow or this weekend. Today.

Stacy Ritter

Hello everyone! My name is Stacy Ritter. I am a very proud mommy to a lively kindergartener and two giant fur babies. I am also a proud wife to my wonderful husband who sticks by us through all the chaos. I am a working mom, freelance writer, and pursuing my degree in Psychology. I just want to use my own experiences to help other moms feel as if they are not alone.