Being Their Best Mommy (Instead of THE best Mommy)

best mommy

RachelKiser_200TallRachel Kiser
Blogger | Mom of Two


Dry shampoo. Toothpaste. Travel-sized face wash…..

I had accidentally left my shopping list at home on the counter, so remembering all of the items I need before I leave town this week had to come straight from my brain. My poor, exhausted, stressed out brain. It didn’t look good for my list. I’m sure I’ll be back tomorrow to pick up what I’ll inevitably forget today, I thought.

As we traversed our local Target (something we could all do in our sleep by now), My daughter took her customary spot, perched on the edge of the cart, hanging on as I pushed. My one-year-old son was sitting in front of me, chewing on my keychain. We had just come from the gym and had a few more stops on our way before going home. It was a boring, but necessary, string of errands.

To be honest, it’s been a long week. Downright difficult, actually. The days have all melted together as my husband’s insane work schedule has kept him away from breakfast to well after we’re all in bed for most of the week. Because of the oppressive southern heat, park days have been few and far between, so the kids have been bursting with pent-up energy. Teething and sleep regressions have made for some frustrating afternoons and nights. My after-bedtime workload has been piling up, as have my mountains of dishes and laundry.

To put it lightly, I have felt like a mom who has way too many tabs open in the ol’ noggin… or at least one who has her hands in too many things to accomplish any one well.

The week culminated in one of the worst meltdowns in my daughter’s four-year history. She lost her most beloved toy dog at the gym, and despite all of my searching and crawling through ball pits and tubes and netting, digging through every bin and corner, we couldn’t find it. We had no choice but to leave without it; it was dinnertime and both kids were getting hungry and tired.

This figurine is more than just a toy for her; it’s a constant companion. She sleeps with it tucked into her arms every night. My daughter, being one of the most particular children I’ve ever come across, needs everything in her routine to be meticulous and consistent. It’s relaxing and soothing to her to know what comes next, especially at an increasingly anxious time such as bedtime. With her dog being misplaced, that was derailed.

She begged me from the back seat to please turn around, please go get Duke. I tried to reason with her and explain that although we couldn’t find him, the cleaning crew might, and we could go get him tomorrow. Anyone who has tried to reason with a worked up preschooler knows that this is basically always futile; she was too far gone to accept this solution.

From the back seat, red in the face and choking on her tears, she screamed at me, “YOU ARE A MEAN, MEAN MOMMY!”, over and over again. Her tone was desperate and anxious.

Those words cut a bit like knives that evening. Not only was it the first time she’s ever called me mean, but in the middle of a week where I felt like I was just barely holding it together, where I felt insufficient, they sunk in.

Of course I was mentally aware that her words weren’t actually about me; that they were her expression of sadness, and fear of losing something precious to her. She had no control over what was happening. Her heartache broke me a little bit. After a rough week, I felt like a failure. A mean mommy.

So days later, as we worked our way through Target, collecting items that were none too exciting, I hear these words:

“You’re my best mommy.”

I look over and see my girl, hanging off of the side of the basket with a shy smile on her face. There was no prerequisite to her statement, and no request following. It stood alone and hung in the air as I looked at her and processed her compliment.

Not the best mommy, but her best mommy.

Sure, I may be the one who spills the whole box of cheerios all over the ground once per week, or forgets to pack the kids’ water bottles on an outing. I may turn on the television when days are long, or forget to pay preschool tuition on time. I’m not the best mommy.

But I’m the one who cradles and rocks my kids while I sing to them at night. I kiss boo-boos, say ‘yes’ just because, and remind them that I love them every single day. I cut grapes in half so they stay safe, role-play in silly voices in the middle of the grocery store, and sing ‘one more song’ when I’m asked.

I know I’ll be called mean a million more times before my children are moved out of my house. Regardless of what is said and felt in the heat of a tense and upsetting moment, my prayer is that they will always look back and say that, although I wasn’t perfect, I was their best mommy. That’ll always be enough.



RachelKiser_200TallAbout Rachel Kiser

Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.

View all posts by Rachel Kiser here.



0 Comments on “Being Their Best Mommy (Instead of THE best Mommy)”

  1. I think this is a great reminder! Families are different and I think we are prone as woman to compare ourselves and be our worst critics. Enjoy the time with the family, forgive yourself for forgetting the list or the laundry and take photos with your kids no matter what you’re wearing!

    1. Alicia, that is some great advice! Words to live by, for sure. Let’s not criticize ourselves– we are driven by love for our family. That very often is all that matters, right?

  2. Being a mom to an extremely hyper toddler is hard. I have learned that dealing with her mood swings as you would a normal child just does not work. Being her best mommy is me doing what is best for her and what works best for her. As mothers we cant worry about how others raise their kids or how they think we should raise ours. We can only worry about how we raise ours.

    1. It sounds like you know what to do– SO true! You know better than anyone what your daughter needs. What works for you may not work for others, and vice versa… but you just keep on loving and raising her the best way.

  3. It is hard keeping all the ducks in a row, I always forget my list somewhere so I just started listing mine on my phone notepad….something I never leave behind. I do not try to be like other moms just try to be myself in hopes of pleasing my boys which they tell my all the time how the think I am the best

    1. clearly you’re doing something right, Natalie, kids don’t give out compliments easily! (Great tip about keeping your list on the phone, by the way!)

  4. oh my gosh just your first paragraph alone had me going “yup thats me”. I have done that many times so have starting putting my list into my phone which of course a week ago went to the grocery store and forgot it. Even when we go shopping I am always missing something and having to send hubby to the store the next day after work. awe I couldn’t even imagine if my youngest lost her Cora. It is a pink seahorse that lights up and plays melodies. She actually broke a couple months ago. No matter how many times we tried new batteries it wasn’t working and therefore not being able to sooth poor baby girl to sleep. so what did daddy do? he went and bough another of course. Now she has her new (working) Cora to sleep with and the other Cora is travel Cora which we leave in the car just in case. Just like your daughter, Cora is companionship to Sofia. Taking her everywhere in her arms, when times get tough she asks for her. She too lose something like that and not being able to find the same replacement, understandably so hard. You may not be the best mommy out there but you are her best mommy :) and that is all that matters. Is there really even that Best Mommy of them all out there? Because I would love to meet them lol.

    1. Kristen, I feel your pain SO much on your Cora situation! It’s one of those moments that you’ll do anything, literally anything, to replace that object. I’m glad your daughter has travel Cora and sleeping Cora :) So glad that you can relate to the list mishaps. We are all in this together, aren’t we?

  5. Oh, I loved this because I can so relate. Our kids are around the same ages, 5,4,&1, so this sounded so familiar. We can’t hold ourselves to any standard but our own, no comparisons. Just be ‘their’ best mommy – you nailed it.

    1. Thank you so much, Holly! It’s so amazing (and encouraging) to me how so many of our experiences as parents are universal. You keep on being their best mommy, too!

  6. Children to at time say the most hurtful things but more times they say the things we will hold in our heart for a lifetime but being their Best Mommy makes you the Best Mommy

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Kathy! I feel like the best mommy when I hear those words out of my daughter’s mouth. You know it makes a parent feel spectacular. It’s all worth it, isn’t it?

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