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Poppy Montgomery’s Blog: Is This Normal? I Feel Guilty!

08/24/2012 at 07:00 PM ET
Me and my Spider-Man – Courtesy Poppy Montgomery

Please give a warm welcome to our newest celebrity blogger, Poppy Montgomery!

Best known for starring as Samantha Spade on Without a Trace, she’ll be back as Det. Carrie Wells on the second season of Unforgettable, returning to CBS next summer.

In addition to her acting work, Montgomery is also producing a show, Sworn to Silence, for Lifetime.

Montgomery is mom to son Jackson Phillip Deveraux, 4½, with her ex, actor Adam Kaufman.

In her first blog, the actress tackles the topic every parent can relate to: guilt!

Is this normal? Is this my fault? I FEEL GUILTY!

The questions I am most frequently asked as a (now) single, working parent seem to be about BALANCE. How do I find balance? How do I juggle work, parenting, dating, love … LIFE … how do I prioritize in an attempt to “have it all?”

The very simple truth is … I don’t. That’s not to say that I don’t try. I do. I try every day. But I rarely succeed. Occasionally of course there are fleeting moments of pure, magical sanity that creep into both parent and child concurrently and those moments are the sweetest, but mostly I am wondering just like lots of other parents I know: “Am I doing this right?” “Is this normal?” “Is this my fault?” “I FEEL GUILTY!”

I love my son — my wild, irreverent, strong-minded, funny, loving beautiful baby boy more than anything in the world. As challenging and as frustrating as he can be, he is my life’s blood.

I love my work. Demanding, creative, fun, exhausting, exhilarating work. As challenging and frustrating as it can be, my work is also my life’s blood.

I would not be a good parent without my work and, conversely, I would not be fulfilled by my work without my son. Finding a guilt-free balance between the two sometimes seems like an impossible task.

I dream of being the ultimate mother and career woman — one who is able to prioritize time with the precision of a skilled surgeon. Look amazing, eat right, stay in shape and zip around on nothing more than a grilled chicken salad and a protein shake…

Add to that cooking endless organic treats for my perfectly dressed, highly intelligent, well-spoken, well-behaved child whilst juggling charity dinners, “parent share” at his school and acting full-time on my show Unforgettable whilst producing two other shows with numerous other projects in the air.

All this with a smile on my face and always on time … I am not that woman!

In all honesty, I’d sell my soul before I’d attempt to bake an organic treat. I’d rather eat a burger and fries than a chicken salad. Ninety percent of the time, my son is dressed in a Spider-Man costume that doesn’t smell so great because he won’t take it off to let me wash it. I seem to be late for everything.

I am in awe of the parents who seem to never raise their voices in anger, who reason and gently negotiate with their child no matter how bad the tantrum. When mine hurls himself to the ground red-faced and screaming in a crowded restaurant because I’ve said no to his request for a caffeinated, sugar-filled soda at 6 p.m., I long to be one of those parents.

Instead I find myself wrestling him off the ground, trying to get him out of there while hissing ridiculous threats that are impossible (if not illegal) to inflict … e.g. “If you stick your finger in my eye one more time I’m going to chop it off.” He knows I won’t and so of course he doesn’t stop.

I have tried (and would like) to portray myself as a cope-with-all-that-is-thrown-at-me, tough, resilient, breast-beating career woman with a soft side. The parent who can come home after a 12-hour work day, bake cookies and come up with super creative art projects. No! That is not me.

And I feel guilty about it every day. I feel guilty that I am not giving my all to my son. I feel guilty that I am not giving my all to my work. And yet, I am. In the best possible way I know how. Why are we parents so critical of ourselves? What is it with the guilt?

Smelly suit, but oh so cute – Courtesy Poppy Montgomery

Why does he freak out when he gets a single drop of water on his shirt and demand a full change of wardrobe no matter where we are? I ask myself “Is this my fault? Is this normal?” And again, the guilt creeps in!

Why has he been wearing the same Spider-Man costume for a month without a break? It smells but he’s adamant that I not wash it. I don’t want to stifle his creativity and sometimes I have to let my little superhero do his thing, but will he be dressing as a dirty, nylon-clad Spider-Man for the rest of his life? I ask myself “Is this my fault? Is this normal?” Guilt, damn guilt!

This week he has decided, “I will not wear any t-shirts that have letters on them, I just want plain ones, Mama.” Plain ones only? Oh man! I rush to the Gap and buy plain white t-shirts … dozens of them. I always have to have back-ups in case we get the dreaded drop of water on one and need to change shirts immediately. Is he obsessive compulsive? Is this just another phase? And yet again, I ask myself “Is this my fault? Is this normal?” Why do I feel guilty?!

Why can’t I simply force him into t-shirts with letters on, secretly wash his vile Spider-Man suit, let him carry on like a madman when a drip of water lands …. stifle his creativity? Take away his independence? In reality he is just a typical naughty little boy! What is it with the over compensation/guilt that plagues parents?

Why does he suddenly prefer to pee in public rather than in the bathroom? I ask him. His answer? “I like to feel fresh air on my pee-nus.” I don’t really have a clever response for that. Ahhhh! I ask myself, “is this my fault? Is this normal?” You got it! Guilt! Again, in reality he is a self-indulgent little boy doing something fairly anti-social that a little girl couldn’t (without some difficulty) and more than likely, wouldn’t, do! So why the guilt???

There are days when my boy can be a messy, unrelenting, confusing, selfish, button-pushing, rude, demanding little monster … however, that’s not to say that I would not lay my life down for him, or that he doesn’t give me the greatest of joy or make me roar with laughter, ache with love or bulge with pride. That’s just to say that no one is perfect. Not them. Not us.

So how do I balance parenting, work, career, love and life? How do I prioritize in a futile attempt to have it all?

I fly by the seat of my pants … I attempt to prioritize as I go by trusting my instincts and my gut. I rely on my friends and family and try to express my need for support. I try to remember that it’s okay — good, even — to carve out tiny moments just for myself and I try to give myself permission to simplify.

I allow myself the freedom to cut out what I am not good at (cooking, making the beds) and embrace what I am good at (reading stories, snuggling). I remind myself that most of the time I’m doing my best and try to remind myself that quality is more important than quantity — though I am yet to be convinced of this!

I try to remind myself that ALL parents, whether working, stay at home, single, divorced, married — all of us — attempt to do what’s best for our children and I try to remind myself that no one is perfect (especially not me).

I also try to remind myself that imperfection is what makes the world interesting — imperfections are what makes us unique — though this could be construed as justification for not matching up to expectation … I’m still working on this one!

I try to remind myself that I am not alone and that there is no such thing as normal. I also remind myself that I am human and have faults — justification again? — but most importantly, I try to let go the guilt. Guilt — an emotional desert that plagues parents and achieves nothing.

– Poppy Montgomery

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Showing 83 comments

Sarah on

I am not a mom (yet), but I LOVE Poppy. Really looking forward to reading her.

PS: this boy is GORGEOUS!

Bridget on

OMG … I felt like you were writing about my life. As a working mom of 2 ( 15 yr old boy / 3 yr old girl) I feel like I am constantly pulled in a million directions at once. It’s a constant daily challenge where I say to myself I will do the best I can … You’re doing great :-)

S.u.n.n.y on

Same spiderman costume for 30 days?! Disgusting. So what if he doesn’t want to take it off?? Be a parent and rip that thing off. How can you let a 4 and 1/2 yr old control you?? Apart from that, yes all mothers suffer from guilt. None of us are perfect! Just toughen up a bit Poppy….your son will thank you for it in the end.

KRS on

Poppy, I sincerely hope you find the balance you’re seeking and are able to come to terms with your constant guilt. My daughters are 11 and 8 now, but I remember 4 being the most trying and frustrating age with both of them. Just remember – YOU are the parent, not him. I think you’ll find that indulging his whims all the time will come back to bite you in the butt – the issues you’re dealing with now are small, but I promise you that larger ones are coming up sooner than you think. Teaching him about hygiene (clean clothes, especially underwear!), and appropriate behavior in public is not stifling his creativity or his independence – it’s just basic parenting. Good luck!

mama tess on

Oh gawd, S.u.n.n.y – I am sure she actually washes the costume. Get over yourself – she’s not asking you for parenting advice.

Poppy – if you are reading this: I love how refreshingly normal you sound. You’re struggling for balance just like the rest of us, but I would have never guessed. Thank you for not writing a blog where you make your life out to seem like one big unachievable fairy tale like Josie Maran.

Anonymous on

Since when did Poppy and Adam split?!

Kandyce on

Oh s.u.n.n.y. – get a life.

Holiday on

I totally get this! I am a stay at home mom of a 6 and 2 year old but I often feel guilt as well. And your son sounds a bit difficult… mine is the same way.

Universality on

Poppy: You are not alone. Your feeling guilty and wondering am I am being the best mom that I can be is sign of an caring parent. Don’t sweat the small stuff, this time with your little one is precious. Love and hug your son. Make the best of quality time with your son. Do not forget to take care of you.

merry on

I don’t have children yet, but when I think about them and how to handle them and my career, I think along these exact lines, about being perfect. I feel I can relate to Poppy anyway. Very well thought through and written.

Diana on

I swear your son sounds soooo much like mine. He is doing the exact same thing with the shirts, it must be plain shirts. While he has a closet full of batman, spiderman etc! He freaks out over things like a drop of water on his shirt.

Angela on

Best blogger yet!

Janna on

S.u.n.n.y. — Did you ever hear the expression, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”? Who cares if the costume didn’t get washed? If that’s the worst thing she ever does as a parent, she’s doing just great!

Halley on

I LOVE this post! I second that while I was reading this, I was thinking you could be writing about my life! I have a 3 year old son, and an 8 month old daughter, and I feel all the same ways you do ! Thank you for this post! It’s so awesome to know I’m not alone. :-)

Tasha on

I totally understand. I feel guilty a lot because I work nights and sleep days but I love my boys. Its refreshing to know that even stars are human. I admire you. Sounds like you are a great mom.

ClaireSamsmom on

Poppy, you sound like the rest of us…a normal mom who is just trying to balance it all. And we can’t do it all….we just need to do the very best we can for our kids….love, snuggles, quiet time with them, playing with them (my kids live for the moments I just sit everything aside and plop on the floor with them to do legos or barbies)….

I think what is so hard about being a mom is the expections that are placed on us as well as how competitive it is to do everything perfectly and ‘right.’

Moms need to support each other and be less judgemental. Wish we lived close to each other, our boys could romp around in their stinky spiderman costumes together and we could just chill and have coffee..:)

Earl on

My wife and I still ask ourselves the same questions about our three sons who are 39, 37, and 35. Although we both believe that our sons are better people than we are and are happy, we still wonder if their mistakes, hurts, and problems are due to something we did or didn’t do as parents or as genetic donors. I guess all parents want the best for their children and always feel some guilt when the best doesn’t always occur.

Mommytoane on

OMG I could not stop giggling at times. Poppy, your lil man sounds absolutely precious. Trust me, you are doing a wonderful job. Every parent feels guilt. As a SAHM, my daughter freaked out over drops of water on her clothes…tho she grew out of it. Kids are unique, wonderful, beautiful, perfect little creatures. They change when we blink, and grow while they sleep (or so it seems when you wake up in the morning and can’t find anything to fit your growing child), they are full of wonder, amazement. They see the world through rose colored glasses (Don’t you wish you still could?) and see so many possibilities out of everything. They are frustrating, but always there with a hug, a kiss and a “I love you momma” at the end of the day. Cherish it. They grow up fast.

Bee on

I’ve never commented on here before but I felt compelled to do so after reading this. I am not a parent but I’ve spent time with many different types of children (I taught swimming lessons) and am the nanny/babysitter/whatever to my “nephew.” What I’ve learned from teaching swimming is that each child is different and they all need to express themselves in their own way within certain boundaries. You clearly love your little-man and want the best for him. I would say that something need boundaries but you sound like you’re doing an amazing job and learning as you go – which I’m pretty sure is part of parenting as I’m constantly learning from my nephew. Enjoy every moment you have with him and keep up the amazing work.

Danielle on

I love that he says he wants plain shirts! My four year old refuses to wear plain shirts! Not even a pattern, it HAS to have some sort of graphic on it… which means he often ends up in longs sleeves… In July! and August! whatever, he’s dressed right?

Maria on

well, poppy. I think it is true that most of us do our best and the demands are high and we often feel guilt. However, I read from your post that your guilt is very strong and perhaps you do feel that the amount of time you spend away from your child makes him have some behavioral issues and this may be correct. If you are an actress then you can probably afford to take time off. What about taking 1-2 yrs off and just devoting yourself more to your kid and home- in due time he will be older and need you less but if you feel constant guilt then prehaps there is an imbalance in your life and you can experiment – I would rather see you err in the side of giving more to your kid and less to your job. Good luck!! It is a hard road for sure!!

Kala on

Thank you, thank you, I needed this!! :)

Kelly on

First, it was recently pointed out to me (as I worried about being the best mom to my 4 kiddos) that bad parents rarely question their parenting skills. Only great parents love their children enough to desire to constantly be a better person for them.

Secondly, when my daughter was 2, she would literally strip in public and have a complete meltdown if she noticed a speck of dirt on her clothes. Recently, that baby girl (now 10) walked up my driveway resembling some sort of swamp thing covered in mud from head to toe, giggling with her friends over the mud fight they just had.

They go through phases, hang on mommy and enjoy the ride. Blessings to you and your son, Poppy! From one guilty mom to another.

d.a. on

Thank you for this honest and wonderful post. Sometimes I wonder what made me think i was equipped to be a parent! It is so hard! But like you said, there are these moments it all comes together and you feel like you did something right that day. I feel guilt over everything. And judging from Earle’s comment, it never really goes away. But i wouldnt trade this life for any other. Crazy, right?

SLW on

“I like to feel fresh air on my pee-nuts!” LOL. That was too cute. Potty training is the worst, my 2 year old has suddenly developed a taste for going outside as well – she’s a girl and she will squat anywhere, anytime. You’re doing fine, kids are just weird.

Aja on

Poppy, More moms are like YOU than the moms who bake organic treats. I call them “perfect cupcake moms” and I imagine they pop pills and cry themselves to sleep most nights. Thank you for your honesty, it lets me know I’m not alone! Sounds like you’re doing just fine and yes – you are VERY normal. :)

Mindy on

Poppy (AKA Carrie!),

Best blog entry to date. Love it, love your dedication to his independence. My boy is 2.2 years old and starting to assert his wants. Cookies for breakfast pweease, spandax swimsuit everyday! You are funny, honest , loving, obviously an incredible mom!

TRUST YOURSELF! You are doing great as a mum!

Love your shows, your acting!

Katie on

Obviously you don’t have children… When I was that age I wore a clown costume for about 5 months then a pink tutu for about 3 months, and my son who is two will probably have something he loves and does it too! It’s a phase, let it happen don’t be a prude and ruin your child’s thrill for life

Anonymous on

It’s all normal, Poppy! I have two boys…18 and 15. They both went through these weird phases with clothes. My older son, all of a sudden, at age 5, refused to wear any shirt with a collar on it. It had to be T-shirts only..or hoodies. My younger one went through a phase where he would not wear jeans and would not wear shirts with any logos, letters, or stripes.

My younger son, all of a sudden, one day at the age of 3 or so, freaked out when I wanted to give him a bath. He would take a shower, but would scream bloody murder if I tried to sit him down in a bathtub filled with water. Did he get burned at some point and now developed a phobia? I didn’t recall that happening…and it didn’t. He just, for some random, unforeseen reason, decided that he didn’t like baths…only showers. OK…so be it.

Luckily, they both outgrew these phases and now wear all the things they dreaded wearing before. Ditto for the temper tantrums. Had them and luckily, outgrew them.

Like you, I am a working, single mom. It is a hard gig, no matter what your occupation is. Bottom line, you always juggle between kid time and adult time. I had a fabulous date planned with a potential suitor, but my son cried out because he needed help with a school project and needed my time and attention. So, guess what? I stayed him and helped create a desert scene in a shoe box instead of going out on the town with a fabulous guy. I missed that boat, but the trade-off was that my son felt loved and knew that I am there for him when he needs me.

There are daily tests to our sanity, commitments, priorities. Parenting is hard…made harder when you are a single parent and cannot hand off some of that responsibility on your partner. It’s all on you, baby!

As for the Spiderman costume, I suggest you wash it when your little superhero is asleep. He may be upset in the morning, but he will get over it, and will get the gist that you are in charge and not him. Kids absolutely need boundaries and you have to be firm. They may have their little tantrums, but, at the end of the day, they will be happier if they know that they have limits and that mom is in charge. Is this hard? Yes. Is it easier to just let them have their way and avoid another tantrum? Absolutely. But, in the long run, you and your child will have a better relationship and he will be much more behaved if you set ground rules and let him know you are in charge and that there are consequences for bad behavior and poor choices.

Just take it day by day. Sounds to me like you are on the right track. And, remember…you are not alone in your concerns. You could have been writing about my family dynamics. I am just a few years beyond you with my boys, and have witnessed them getting out of these funny phases and evolve into great people.

It does get better and easier. You just gotta get a little tougher is all. Be his parent and not his buddy. He will have lots of friends in his lifetime, but only one mom. He needs to learn to listen to you and respect you and your authority. That will all come with time and experience. Best of luck to you!

cindy on

you are doing great! and you look great. i watch unforgetable just to inspire me to work out b/c you are so buff! i also ask myself if it’s my fault when my 3yo gets sick with a cold AGAIN!

Nicole on

Wow finally someone who gets my life. My lovely little man will melt down if he drops any liquid on his shirt and yes I have to always have a back up or he’s wearing no shirt. Yes he wears his favourite halloween costume for months on end until he decides clothes are good again.

He will not wear any sweaters unless they are zip ups which is crazy because its cold where we live and those zip ups are not warm but its a battle I have lost more times then not.

I have given up finding balance with parenting and the rest of my life. I give the best to the situation I’m in and occasionally my house is spotless and I can bake those cookies.

Thank you so much for this blog.

Karen on

“I would not be a good parent without my work”. Don’t really get that, as I chose to be an at home mom with my children and have never pined for the office I left behind. However, you sound very loving and your son knows it. He will be secure in the love you provide for him.

Annieya on

A-men! My son is now two weeks old and this definitely struck a chord!

Angela on

OMG. This sounds just like my daughter. I love Poppy’s view on this. Nice to know there are other moms like me.

Tracy on

I’ve been a single mom for 18 years, it never got easier. Having an ex criticize every decision without any support made it harder.

I regret not telling him to go sit on a snake ( a poisonous one) a long time ago and not let him bully me. I should have had more children and enjoyed being the mom of many children that I wanted to be. There is nothing wrong with dating, working even as a single mom…don’t deny yourself what every other person in the world does. Buy earplugs for the time the critics come around.

arnaux on

Her guilt feelings is simply an inner knowing that she belongs with her child during this age. She overrides what she knows in her heart and rationalizes it all away. Her inane comment that : guilt feelings do nothing” says it all. She chooses to dump her husband (if she was married) and go for the career. Simple enough- She will regret it later and should stop the angst.

Molly on

Another “celebrity” crying about being a mom and how hard life is. Trying working a real job where you don’t get weeks off at a time and actually have to go everyday. Disgusting to hear her complain about these little things.

Amy on

You could have been writing about my life, except my son is 10 months. I definitely feel the guilt about being a working mom.

P.S. your son is beautiful!

Steph on

Thank you for being so honest. It was so nice to read this and hear that I’m not alone. I find myself constantly wondering “Is this what other kids do?” “Is he doing this/not doing this because of something I have failed to do?” I have learned since becoming a parent to stop being judgmental about other people’s parenting. Being a parent can be the most difficult, emotional and exhausting job you have and yet the most rewarding and meaningful. I look forward to reading more!

lyn on

Everything you said sounds normal to me. I have an almost 3 year old and I completely understand what you are talking about. Thankfully we do not have a spiderman costume or he would wear it everyday. We do have several spiderman tshirts and that is all he ever wants to wear. I always have to have one on backup in case the shirt somehow becomes unacceptable to the toddler. Crazy kids. Sometimes you have to pick your battles. I don’t think giving in to what kids wear is a bad thing.

Jenny on

it’s refreshing to hear another single mom, who is a hard worker at a demanding job life myself struggle to be the “Everything” parent. Thanks for being honest and allowing me to feel less guilty on this tough monday morning :)

Anonymous on

Poppy – I too have a 4 year old .. and can totally relate to your picking your boy off of the restaurant floor. 4 has been very challenging for me and like yours, my boy is the love of my life. Your post is one of the best I have ever read here. You remind us all that no matter what someone’s life looks like on the outside .. underneath it all we’re all just struggling toward the same goal .. to be the best possible mother to our children.

Thank you for sharing this frank insight into your life – you’ve made a bunch of us feel validated in our struggle and reinforced we all need to stick together and support each out.

Cari on

Maria- she IS an actress, if she quit for 2 years she wouldn’t be able to provide for her son. You try quitting your only source of income for 2 years and see how far you get. In the entertainment industry, six months of being off the grid could mean the end of your acting career. And EVERY good parent has guilt issues. Poppy sounds like every great parent I have ever encountered. Maria, you need to keep your rude opinions to yourself and to not psycho-analyze people unless they ask you to and pay you for it.

WorkingMotherof2Under5 on

Specifically directed towards S.u.n.n.y., Karen, and arnaux: Some of your comments on here astound me. Not every woman is cut out or WANTS to be a Stay at Home mom. I have a 4 & a 1 year old, and I COULD NOT stay home with them all day without doing them bodily harm. For real. I love them dearly, but being able to work is a way for me to unplug from them so that when I AM with them, it makes me a better parent. Otherwise, I run the risk of being depressed 24/7. Does this make me less of a parent? No. It just makes me different from you. HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t guilt and a constant inner tug-of-war trying to decide if you are doing what is best for your family and if the stress that being a full-time mom & worker is worth it. Deep down, you know what is for the best for you, your family, your situation in life. That doesn’t necessarily make it any easier when faced with the actual day-to-day struggles of life.

As to Poppy, bless your heart! I am not a single mom… yet… but I am getting the feeling my husband will be filing for divorce within the next few months (and for those naysayers, yes I am doing everything I can to try and fix it, blah, blah, blah… but you can’t FORCE a grown man to do/not do certain things) and I have slowly but surely begun having to do everything on my own as he pulls away. It is depressing, frustrating, and hair-pulling, but you do what you have to do for the kids, right? Which means that I need to be ok with a sink full of dishes, or laundry piled in baskets because I can’t find the time to put them up, or unmade beds. But I did get to take a rest with my daughter the other day when she asked me too. And I did get to read a new book to my son. And we did play outside yesterday afternoon. So I’ll roll with the dirty dishes. So just hang in there, Poppy, and thanks for opening up. Your thoughts and struggles are things I deal with all the time. It is refreshing to hear those things from a working mother’s perspective.

Eri on

I’m a stay at home mom of two. I have a five yr old girl and a eleven month old boy. Like Poppy I spend a lot of time dealing with my oldest who never seems to listen to anything I say.

She spends 95% of the time in a Spider man costume or green lantern One. I don’t stop her from dressing this way but I’ll be damn if she stops me from washing it. I have to peel it of her and I spend a lot of time fixing the holes in her Spider man costume. She hates wearing girls clothes, that’s other fight altogether. After a well she wins on what she wears. If its not a boy shirt she won’t wear it. But now sometimes she’ll wear a girl shirt if its hello Kitty. I can never get her in a dress or a skirt. If I put one on her I find her 2 mins later with something on that has Spiderman or batman on it. We spend a lot of time late to things cause I can’t get her out the door.

I feel guilty all the time with my son, I don’t give him enough mommy time because I spend my time yelling at his older sister or putting her on time out. I sometimes forget I have him cause he’s quiet Half the time. But now he acts out from time to time but its still not as bad as his sister.

I let her be who she is but I put a stop to somethings I don’t want her to end up getting herself and others hurt.

Poppy I know how it feels, I totally understand where you are coming from so hang in there. It’ll get better with time.

Anonymous on

Finally, an actress that is honest about her life. Thank you Poppy!

Michelle in ON on

Poppy,

I rarely comment on celebrity blogs..but my goodness, your little one sounds just like my youngest. He just turned 5 last week and I have to bargain and negotiate with him to get his spiderman costume off. I’ve introduced a transformers costume into the mix so that we have one to wash and one to wear! But they are so amazingly stubborn and fiesty at that age!!

Good luck to you..doing it all alone can be hard..but you are right, as long as your trust your gut you’ll be fine!

Michelle

Anonymous on

You might want to get your child screened for sensory processing disorder. The pickiness about clothing and wanting to wear the same thing over and over could be signs. How does he do around sand? Does he avoid messy, sticky stuff or seek it out and coat his hands? Does he insist on long pants even when it’s 98 degrees? Does he refuse to put on a coat even when it’s 40 degrees? Does he have trouble getting himself dressed and undressed? Has he figured out a way to get you to do these things for him?

CarlaMarieV on

OMG- first off it is a great change of pace to read that celebrities are real and their kids are not perfect. Thank you for that. Secondly I am a single working mom of a 5 and 4 year old. I too feel a little guilty and over whelmed at times but I wouldn’t change my life one bit. Well except to have a full time housekeeper, lol. Thanks for joining the Blog Poppy, I know I am going to enjoy reading it!!

Motherhood is a Sisterhood on

I love your honesty. As a part-time-single, full-time-working mom (husband works in a different city during the week) I also am having an enormously hard time balancing my life. As cliche as it is, it just makes it a little easier when you realize you’re not alone in your feelings of guilt (as well as the feeling that your child is not this perfect little creature that is always sunshine and roses)

Sarah on

kids need boundaries. As a nanny who spends more time with the children I watch than their parents do, I watch the metamorphosis that occurs when I leave. The kids respect me and thus we have fun, laugh, play, read, do projects go places together, and have a great and uncomplicated time. When the parents come home, those boundaries disappear. And everything those kids want, or need, becomes dependent on parents who have worked a long hard day, are tired, possibly already frustrated, and yes, feel guilty about it. So one day the answer to a question may be “yes”. The next day, inexplicably, it’s “no”. It depends on their mood, exhaustion level, etc.

And, speaking from a third party perspective, I watch these joyful, creative, smart young children devolve into screaming, miserable, rebellious, confused toddlers. You are not “stifling his creativity” by making him take off his spidey suit briefly to wash it, or by making him wear a t-shirt with a letter on it that he already owns.

You call your son self-indulgent. That is because you are indulging him. Children are partly who they are, and partly who you raise them to be. If you teach him that this type of behavior is indulged, acceptable, even considered positive, he will continue to do it. Just as even an adult would. And any behavior that makes him feel the same as these other behaviors is now good in his mind. A world with no clear boundaries is a terrifying place for a kid. And I see every day what happens when those boundaries disappear every day.

To not give your son boundaries, direction (like to be clean), principles to live by, and consistency in following through with reasonable discipline is to rob him of joy, self respect, security, and the simple good things in life.

Anonymous on

That was so real that was great! We as parents all have had days like that. Just remember there is no perfect parent we all learn something new everyday. Keep up the good work. Im a mother of four crazy beautiful girls.I’m crazy some days also :-)

Sarah on

Without boundaries, you rob your son of joy, security, self respect and the freedom to grow up to be the man he could be. If you don’t want him to be self indulgent, don’t indulge him.

keewee on

I don’t normally post things, but your post made me laugh. It’s nice to see a ‘celebrity’ who is totally honest and truthful about not being perfect and having the same troubles and guilty feelings as most parents. My son had a Pikachu costume (from Pokemon) when he was about 2 or 3 and it was quite the hassle to get it off him, he even liked to sleep in it. He is 8 now and did eventually give it up! :)

B on

I SO relate. As a mom of three I feel like guilt and motherhood go hand in hand, it’s tough.

We are all doing our best and the fact that you worry about being a good mom usually makes you one.

Kelly on

Your article is so refreshing !! My son is the EXACT SAME as what you descibe (changing constantly when imaginary drops of water come near, wearing the same outfit for now 2 months straight, prefering to go to the bathroom outside). i appreciate your honesty as some of us try and juggle kids (I have 3) and working.

Gloomy on

Sunny dear, did it ever occur to you that they took it off, washed it, and put it back on the boy?

Nia on

Wow. I wonder how Moms got along all these years without the TMI of blogs and sharing their every little thought on a subject. Your generation obviously has no idea. Get over your self centeredness already. Blah, blah, blah. Yada, yada, yada. OMG.

Jennifer on

Oh my goodness. Thank you for this! Best blog post I have read. I too am a career mommy who is trying to balance boh worlds. My husband is a naval officer who is deployed A LOT. Wearing both hats without guilt is nearly impossible. Thank you for your honesty. Believe me you are not alone!

Kari on

Definitely look into the sensory processing disorder. My son has it but we caught it when he was like 2yrs old and he does great now, very few flare ups! Don’t let the guilt take over otherwise you will get sick from stress and he needs you healthy!

Tracy S. on

Wonderful blog. Thank you Poppy! I can relate to so, so much of what you’ve written.

Kerri on

Hilarious – I laughed out loud. You sound a lot like me, and I appreciate your honesty and humor.

Eri on

If you don’t like it don’t read it. Don’t be rude and disrespectful. You are surely not a mother if you don’t understand don’t comment.

Angie on

Well Poppy love your article but even at 6years old my DAUGHTER decided it would be cool to pee in a cup and leave said cup in her room her Daddy brought me the cup and said the famous (smell this) I said very calmly it’s pee he freaked out. I said Oh for heaven sakes just throw out the cup. He got mad at me because I was NOT hestarical, at that point what can you do other then to tell them that they are too old to pee in a cup and stop being lazy and go to the bathroom. Dad made a bigger scene then the child.

Eri on

That’s funny! I have that same attitude after while you feel like you just don’t know what to do any more but brush it off. I feel your pain but that’s funny story tell when she gets older.

Dee on

What a wonderful blog. She is refreshing and honest!

I am amazed at the nasty comments! First of all, if you aren’t a parent you have no idea about rearing a child (don’t care if you are a nanny). I used to make the mistake of thinking I knew everything about raising kids just because I, too, was a nanny. Turns out I had no idea. I am a mother now and realize that instead of critiquing and being judgmental, mothers and women should lift each other up. Just wish we could all learn to be positive instead of negative! Anyway, good job Poppy! Look forward to your next post!

Hushababy on

OMG! Poppy, I could not have written this better! I hear you and feel you and this is my life, as the single mom of two gorgeous 2.5 year old toddlers. The guilt creeps in every day about this or that, but also at the end of that day, in those quiet moments, I cry with happiness that I have been blessed with the most beautiful children and how lucky I am. Nobody is perfect. Don’t worry. This too shall pass and provided we do the absolute best we can, that’s more than enough. Hang in there! Helen

Kristi on

Oh Poppy, I LOVE, LOVE your blog!! I am a 40 yr old, single (engaged) mom of 3 kids. I have a daughter who is almost 19, my oldest son will be 10 in the spring and my “baby” boy just turned 4. Guilt is a DAILY thinking pattern of moms! Welcome, to motherhood. I would love to lie and say, it gets better as they age, but it would be an outright lie. It, actually grows the older they get, because they engage in more serious behaviors, or can. My oldest son has diasabilities. So, I REALLY have fallen into the vicious, never-ending cycle of guilt. Having a teenager brings ALOT of guilt to the surface. Ex: All your mistakes, anything one said to “offend” or “hurt” the teen, all of it comes slamming back into your face full-force. Because, most teens as soon as one suggests it may not be a wise choice, so to speak they are REALLY quick, to throw it back at you: “you did it.” I have asked myself, over and over through the years (especially as things have grown increasingly more difficult with my two oldest kids) what the hell I did wrong? Was it because I worked so much when they were little? Why have I been “blessed” with such strong spirited, at times rude, temper tantrum ridden kidlets? I was very passive, people-pleasing, empathetic, etc as a child. So, it really hit me hard when ALL 3 of my kids came out strong-willed, strong-tempered and I felt totally at a loss! I ask myself “why me?” And, quite frankly don’t always feel like I have done my best. Everything, I have ever said, or done that wasn’t kosher, or “right” makes me feel bad, or I obsess on the impact it has had on my kids. Especially, when they misbehave! However, this all being said…I love all 3 of my kids with all my heart! They motivate me, to push ahead, work hard and awe me. They are all so smart, creative (in their own ways), individual, sweet, humorous and are going to forge their own paths. I have heard from talking with my own mom and other more “experienced” mom’s that this guilt is ever present. Even, when your children become adults. All, mom’s if honest have it. ;) As goes, being “superwoman” it was a pipedream, I had to learn to let go. I tried, so hard when my two oldest children were younger (I was married most of their earlier years to their father’s). I worked full-time, busted my ass to keep a “perfect” house, cooked, baked, the “June Cleaver” kinda mom was what I strove, for. Yeah, well I ended up exhausting myself and divorced twice. So, now I am learning to relax. Part of it, is having a man in my life who’s expectation is simply to be “me.” I still bake, I try my best to work out, I try to eat “healthier” and am a successful full-time college student. I have come to the realization: I am HUMAN! Its ok, to be tired. Its ok, not to be perfect and if, I kept it up I would end up dead. I work really ,really hard on not comparing myself, to other mom’s who seem to “have it all” or “all together”. No, my house isn’t always picture perfect and my boys play in the dirt, or wear their superhero stuff. My youngest son’s shirt/pants dont always match because he is independent. Instead, of exhausting myself and insisting on him changing… I realize it isn’t really going to hurt anything. Other people’s opinions dont really matter. I dont live life to please everyone else. I used to cry because I thought something was seriously wrong with my parenting style. My kids are the ones’ (also) throwing the temper tantrums in public, yaddi yaddi. I would see other mom’s (like you mentioned) so calm, so collected, so polite and I wondered if something was missing in me? No! One has to not compare one’s kids, to another’s. They are all individual. And, if you are observing the other parent’s in a public place, it doesn’t always mean they are the same at home. In conclusion, I want to say, it would be a helluva lot easier if society stopped thrusting the idea of “superwoman” down our throats. And, if more celebrity mom’s came forward and admitted they have ALOT of help in their daily lives and in maintaining a svelte, trim figure. If, I had a chef to cook my family’s meals, a personal trainer that came to my house and made sure I worked out, plastic surgery as soon as I have a baby, a nanny to give me those well-deserved breaks, etc I would be better equipped as “super mom”. If, moms stopped trying to COMPETE and COMPARE themselves to other moms, it would help. And, if working/stay at home mom’s stopped arguing about who was the “better” mom and opened up about guilt, and mothering struggles we could strengthen one another. Then, maybe as a collective group we could assuage our minds of guilt!! lol I look forward to your blogs. Thank you, for your brutal honesty and please realize you are NOT alone :)

Angie on

Just remember that no Dad has ever been asked the question of “balance.” Working moms are far too hard on ourselves. “Having it All” is a myth. The sooner we recognize that and relax about our commitments, we will feel so much better. As long as you are engaged and present for your child, they know how much you love them.

Nicole on

Poppy, thank you for the chuckle and your honesty. I can so relate to your feelings of “Is this normal? Is this my fault?” and I am sooo over the superior sounding blogs of those who supposedly do everything right. My favorite part-

“I dream of being the ultimate mother and career woman — one who is able to prioritize time with the precision of a skilled surgeon. Look amazing, eat right, stay in shape and zip around on nothing more than a grilled chicken salad and a protein shake…

Add to that cooking endless organic treats for my perfectly dressed, highly intelligent, well-spoken, well-behaved child whilst juggling charity dinners, “parent share” at his school and acting full-time on my show Unforgettable whilst producing two other shows with numerous other projects in the air.”
Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone. :)

Aussie Girls on

Thank you Poppy,
You make me feel normal. I am embarking on an education degree and feeling guilty as i seem to have more energy for kids that aren’t mine, single mum most of the time (hubby in the mines and works away), trying to juggle friends and oh yeah having a coffee and trying to breath. Thank you just as I am about to start a new essay when the kids go to bed I can be assured I am not the only mum struggling. Thank you.

Tara on

Finally! Someone who sounds like a normal mother. Refreshing read. Thank you for sharing, Poppy!

Sara on

Great post. Honest and real..i have two little girls and even though i stay at home i still feel guilty and like i dont do enough. Guilt comes with motherhood! Thank you for beeing open and honest and I hope to read more from you.

Tracy on

Great read! My son was the same way. He had Spiderman pj’s that he wore ALL THE TIME….store, park, bed, etc. He was the same way w/anything getting on his clothes. Major mealtdown. I just stayed calm & changed him. He is 7 now and much more relaxed. They all go thru phases. I found not making a big deal about them worked best. You have to pick your battles.

ndr on

This was a fabulous post. Mom to mom: thanks for being so refreshingly honest.

Courtney on

I initially thought why is a mom to a 4 1/2 year old on a BABY blog. Yet I read the blog anyway. AWESOME! So humble and open. The best I’ve ever read. Poppy – please continue to share!!

H on

Poppy, the reason that you feel guilty when you are away from your son is that he needs you. Kids need their mother, not the nanny, not the daycare center, not the daycare masquerading as a “school”- the kid needs you and your time with him. No one is bettert suted fo being with him, caring for him, picking him up when he falls, hugging him, watching him sleep – you can’t pay anyone to do it like you would. What I think is a shame is that someone like you, with enough wealth to step away from your career while your kids are small – that you won’t do it. I am sure you have the best help money can buy, and think you are gettng balance by shortchanging your kids, and spending your time on TV. The kids would rather have you. People who cannot afford to be with their children because they have to work so hard to pay rent and buy food – not talking to them. But you could work less, be a mother more, and give your kids more of your time. You love them, I’m sure, but what about taking a few years (like maybe 18) off so you can make sure they turn out all right? You feel guilty because they need YOU.

Ginger on

I hope you was taking poetic license when you said you can’t get the spider man suit off your kid to wash it. You are the boss, Poppy. He has to listen to you. If need be, make up a story about how the washer adds more power to the suit and he can stand there and watch as it’s being cleaned. As for the rest of it, you’ll survive and so will your son. Kids are amazingly resilient. Enjoy him as much as you can, they grow up way too fast.

Joanne on

I loved the blog and look forward to reading more of Poppy’s writing. I loved her work in WITHOUT A TRACE and UNFORGETTABLE.

Poppy, I do think you need to set boundaries so that he knows what is expected of him and when and how and why it should be done. I work as a tutor for special-needs kids and have an Asperger’s Syndrome client whom I have tutored for close to 3 years. She does much better when expectations for her behavior are set and she is gradually learning to be more independent. Her mom has done everything for her because she feels guilty, with the result that the daughter often seems to be “in charge” because she is very indulged.

Boo on

Really Kandyce? You mean she/he shouldn’t read a public blog and post? Please..

lora96litdiva on

Oh i really enjoyed this. Very funny and true.

Susan on

You are doing great!

i am charm on

i can really relate to this. thanks Poppy! :)

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