What Will Your Kids Say About You? 

Picture this: It’s like 20 years from now. Your kids are all grown up. They are on a first date. Or in some sort of discussion group setting. Or they are talking to their therapist (God forbid they are talking to their therapist about YOU), and this question is posed to them, “So, what was your mom like when you were growing up?”.

I don’t know why I pictured that scenario this evening, but I did (when I pictured it, my son was on a date. Probably with a girl I won’t like). Anyway, I can tell you exactly how I HOPE he would be able to answer that question, and I can also tell you how I think he WOULD answer it, based on my CURRENT brand of mothering.

Let’s start with the bad, and get that over with. Here is what I think he would say based on my current mothering:

“Always kind of frazzled. Always rushed. Impatient. Stressed. Always seemed like we were wearing her out. Pulled a million different directions. Always feeling guilty ABOUT being frazzled, rushed, impatient and stressed, and always trying to compensate for it. Didn’t spend enough time just being goofy and having fun with us”.

Ugh. I actually am on the verge of tears just writing that.

But…I think in order to improve at anything, it is important to know:

1) Where you are

2) Where you want to go

So…drying up the tears, and moving on to what I would LIKE for him to be able to say:

First Date Girl: “So, what was your mom like growing up?”

Darling Boy of Mine: “She loved being a mom of three boys. She played with us a ton, was always willing to be goofy, be silly, and get dirty. She was ok with us being loud. She ran the household smoothly. She had things well-organized and under-control, so things at home always seemed pretty calm. She enjoyed us, and we enjoyed her. She laughed a lot. She wasn’t bothered easily. She was firm when she needed to be. She taught us well. She showed us how to be real men. She gave us her full attention, and never seemed distracted. She was ALWAYS there for us”.

This is a simple exercise, that I highly recommend for every mom to do. Picture your kids describing you one day, and then decide whether or not you are ok with that description.

If you are not, take a big sigh of relief, and be glad that they are still at home with you, they AREN’T talking to their therapist yet, and you DO still have time to become the mom that you want to be.

If your ideal description and your real description already match up perfectly, well….by all means… PLEASE share your wisdom and insight in the comments below!




  1. At 55 I look around at the clutter in my home, sigh, and think “Like mother like daughter”. It Is easy to look at my faults and think my mom could have done better i.e. made me pick up my toys. But I only hope that one day I will be as good a grandmother as she was to my kids and as supportive to my daughter and daughters-in-law as she was to me because that’s what really matters.

  2. Honestly I don’t think our kids are going to remember as much of what we did, and we beat ourselves up way too much about it. They WILL remember how we made them feel. I want me kids to look back at this time and know without a doubt they were loved, so very loved for exactly who they are.

  3. I have to agree with Cassie’s comment above, that they will remember a lot less of the details… I do believe they will remember how they felt so I do my best to make them feel as though everyone’s emotions are par for the course and totally ok as we work at managing them in a healthy manner… I also really love the idea of the exercise in this post, as it reminds me of what I beliefs around motherhood I can release to let life feel “easier” for everyone:) I should also mention that friend just sent me the link to your “this is hard” post today (how I found your writing) which was so exactly what I needed today. I am two months out from being mama to three boys and life feels insane most of the time… Haha, anyway thanks for sharing your life/wisdom!

  4. They won’t remember even a third of what you did for them, and definitely nothing before the age of ten. This is going to go way off topic, I can tell already, but it is something I need to share. Please forgive me.

    We had two sons, who are now in their thirties. We both had full time jobs in the city and made the one hour commute to the city every day. My kids were my life and had my full attention after work. I was a Beaver Leader, a helper with the skating program and ice show coordinator, a school helper in the younger grades, the general manager of my oldest son’s hockey team and a director with a children’s theatre that I helped to set up one year, amongst other things. My ex helped with the hockey teams until my son didn’t want him there anymore. The ride home was too ugly to bear. The boys always had birthday parties where the entire class was invited (between 18-25 kids), and they were usually themed (e.g. dinosaurs, mystery parties where one of the stuffed toys mysteriously disappeared only to be found in with the cookie pans).. One year we had a parade where they all came in costume (I had extras on hand) and we marched around a couple of blocks banging on pots and pans. My husband never stayed for the parties, but went to his mothers to hide out while the kids were still there. To listen to him talk now, it was like he organized the parties and events at the house, and sadly, the boys say nothing. It was as if my contribution to their young lives was nothing.

    My husband belittled everything I did because what I did was all “fluff”. My job, which paid 35% more than his, was, apparently “a waste” because I was a woman.. My husband did not believe in holidays or spending money in general, so it was me who always took the boys on vacation every other year, using my own money.

    I was not permitted to invite my friends over to the house, and he even disliked having my parents or siblings, many of whom lived across the country from us, stay with us, so he threw his nasty insults and glares in their direction every chance he could get, and even went as far as to get angrier and angrier with them at the dinner table for every bite they ate. For obvious reasons, it was mortifying for they accepted him and his rude behaviour and said nothing. It was horrible. I just wanted to die, and sometimes still do..

    My husband and I separated 11 years ago after a 24 year marriage. The boys were in high school. Eight years prior to that I discovered that he fathered a daughter with a woman he worked with, and who was the same age as my oldest son, and was giving the woman support money from our savings for his daughter, and then accusing me of throwing it away. When confronted, he told me that if I EVER told our sons what he did, I would regret it. He then vowed to make my sons hate me if it was the last thing he did. He has succeeded. I may see them three times a year (Boxing Day and their birthdays and one other if I hold a Family Reunion) and we only live an hour apart. I live “too far” for them to come out for a weekend and neither one of them have a car. They are usually too busy for me when I drive into the city to visit with them, so I cut down on those visits over the winter months.

    My oldest son has a 6 year old daughter and he and his wife of 7 years separated about a year and a half ago. Their separation was harder to take than my own (which was a huge relief), and within a couple of months, both parents found their “significant others” and have set up housekeeping. I try to keep things as normal as possible for my granddaughter, but it’s hard because I can’t see her during the week and her mom takes her to the family farm on weekends. What is she going to remember from her childhood? I worry because my ex husband is an avid gossip and he talks down my granddaughter’s mom in front of the child, and he gets her dad to do the same. When the boys were younger, my ex always teamed up with the oldest son and bullied the youngest one telling him he was stupid. My ex thought it was funny. I thought it was disgraceful and told him so. He just snarled at me. Now, the three of them always get together on Fathers Day and his birthday for dinner and a few drinks. I don’t get called on Mother’s Day or my birthday as a rule, unless it’s after ten o’clock in the evening after I’ve gone to bed.

    As it all worth it? I thought so when I was raising my boys, but not so much anymore.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here