Family Photographer serving Surrey, London

Feel like a bad mother? Here’s why you’re not

by Jo on September 25, 2018

Feel like a bad mother? Here’s why you’re not


So as I sit here to write this blog, the subject is particularly pertinent.

Am I doing a good job as a mum?Smiling young boys_Jo Robbens Photography

It’s around 5.00am in the morning and my eldest currently has one of those horrid snotty colds. He came in to wake me at 4.00am as the snot was literally streaming out of this nose (apologies, I know it’s gross but we’ve all been there).

I briefly assess the situation, i.e. no blood or vomiting… so mumbled gently;

“Just blow your nose darling and try and go back to sleep”

He sloped off to his bed again. Half an hour later, poor baby comes in again.

“Mum, I just can’t get back to sleep”.

This time I’m up, I head downstairs and fix him up a bowl of Vicks vapour, explain again how to blow his nose properly (I think we have nailed it now) and he has settled back to sleep. I’m relieved that he can now get some rest, but the guilt has set in, that little voice in my head…

“Why didn’t I just get up when he first came in?”

“Why didn’t I think about setting up the vapour contraption last night before he went to bed??”

“I’m such a bad mother” and so on…

A mother’s guilt

We all know that little voice, the one that constantly nags at us.

You know, the one that pops into your head on a regular basis. The voice, that when you see everyone else on Facebook or Insta looking wonderful and totally together on their summer holiday, that says “wow look at so and so… they are doing so many different activities and exciting things with their children and you are just managing to keep your head above water and not murder them!”

Jo Robbens Photography

But is it all real?

Ever thought they are just posting the good times? Highly unlikely any mum would post a shot of a screaming tantrum or the moment the little darlings choose the most inconvenient time to decide that they flatly refuse to do anything remotely helpful.

I asked a lot of mums what their biggest challenge was as a mum. I got lots of responses; childcare, achieving a work/life balance but the one that always appeared to be at the heart of the matter was a mother’s guilt.

Are we, as mothers, doing a good enough job? How do we know? Let’s face it you don’t get given a handbook when they send us home from the hospital or receive an end of year report to confirm we are actually doing a good job.

Surrey family photoshoot

So here my take on those times you ‘think’ you are a bad mum but really your being an amazing mum.

You think you are a bad mother because…

You haven’t kept your hair appointment for the last year because one of your brood had the latest bout of D and V or picked up the latest grot fest from school or…

You constantly run out the front door without as much as a swipe of mascara on your lashes to make sure they arrive at school in time? Therefore, not remotely resembling all those mums at the school gate who always look stunning and like they have everything under control!

You are actually a good mum because…

You are fiercely protective and determined to make sure that your child’s needs are met at whatever cost! I’d say that’s being a great mum.

You think you are a bad mother because…

You have those days at the supermarket when it descends into chaos and have one running round the aisles and the other lying on the floor screaming their heads off?

 Or perhaps those days at the playground, when sharing the roundabout with the other really well behaved children is just NOT an option.

 Or my favourite, when you take a lovely family trip to a restaurant, and it turns into more like a trip to the zoo and get those tuts and disapproving looks that say “Can’t she control her children?”

You are actually being a good mum because…

You are getting your children out into the real world.

You are providing them experiences and they are learning. You could keep yourself locked up at home but you brave these situations to provide your children with opportunities to learn and experience new things. 

You are going out to the shops to feed them and provide for your family! You have likely said no to something they wanted but didn’t need, like a packet of crisps or sweets or perhaps one of those toys that dangle sparkling in-between the different sections. They don’t need them and you are doing the best for them! Great mum check!

You think you are a bad mother because…

you’ve turned up at A&E only to find out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your child…
Have been the mum at parents evening that always runs over…
You have been mildly obsessed with your baby’s or toddlers poop colour and asked questions in a women’s group online.

You are actually a good mum because…

you care, you will do absolutely anything to ensure that your little one is safe, well and getting the very best in life. Yep, all totally normal and a huge sign you are doing a great job as a mum.

You think you are a bad mother because…

you have had to miss a sports day or nativity or some other crucial school event due to work.

You are actually a good mum because…

showing your children that you go out to work is an amazing way of instilling great values and confidence in children. This is a toughie though and one most of us of have been through.

You think you are a bad mother because…

You can relax and take time for yourself, maybe spend some time being creative.

You are actually a good mum because…

taking time for yourself to create that Pinterest board of gorgeous interior design ideas to beautify your home or even picking up that new DSLR camera that was bought for you three christmas’ ago, means you are looking after yourself. You are feeding your inner creative and valuing yourself. Looking after yourself and feeding your needs means that you will have more capacity and joy in your soul to be there for them!

You think you are a bad mother because…

your child screams, throws food at you and storms off from the table, when you put different food on the plate!

You are actually a good mum because…

you are putting new and different foods on their plates and are likely introducing healthy options and new flavours and textures. Meal times might be stressful and other people’s children may appear to sit there like little angels… but you are actually doing an amazing job as mum.

You think you are a bad mother because…

you are exhausted and just can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other some days.

You are actually a good mum because…

you are constantly entertaining, tidying up, feeding, nurturing, schooling and working to boot… All to provide your little ones a safe, secure and loving home. This is one of the surest signs that you are doing a great job as a mum.

So next time those pangs of guilt start to kick in or the little voice in your heads tells you aren’t doing a good job.

Please remember, you are an amazing Mum.

Jo Robbens Photography


I’m not just a family photographer though. I’m unashamedly passionate. I’m thrilled that you’re here and honestly can’t wait to work with you to create something extra special.