Hard Kids Have Good Moms Too


I was walking through Kroger around Mother’s Day when I saw it:  a mug on display featuring the hand illustrated note “Good Kids have Good Moms.”

I wasn’t really trying to get punched in the emotional gut while picking up our weekly gallon of milk, but that’s what happened. I felt a bit embarrassed for a moment. My own child had been sent to the preschool director’s office for misbehaving too many times that week. What kind of mom did he have?

There’s no mug for our situation. No cutesy doodled encouragement telling us “Strong-Willed Kids Still Have Good Hearts” or “Hard Kids Have Good Moms Too” or “You’re NOT Raising a Sociopath, Mama.”

I think about my own kids and the reasons they are hard sometimes. My oldest son has been overcoming apraxia with speech therapy at least twice a week since he was a very young toddler. My middle child is terrified by thunder, so he’s sleep deprived after every stormy night. My soon-to-be-youngest child will have an entire new world of challenges to navigate as an internationally adopted toddler.

I see joy and life and love in their little faces. But on a hard day, a stranger would just see a whiny brat.

To the moms of hard kids, there’s no mug for you. So let me write you a little love note instead.

Hard kids have good hearts. Hard kids are supremely loved. Hard kids are smart, funny, kind, generous. Hard kids are world-changers. Hard kids have bright futures. Hard kids don’t back down from a challenge. Hard kids are uniquely qualified to befriend other hard kids. Hard kids are a perfect garden for empathy. Hard kids aren’t “bad.” There’s nothing wrong with them. They aren’t less valued or less important or less welcome. They aren’t a burden or an annoyance to the world around them. And there’s nothing wrong with you either. Hard kids make you grow as a person. Hard kids bring you to the end of yourself and show you how strong you are. Hard kids learn their own strength and courage by watching you. Hard kids are good kids too. Hard kids have good moms too. 

One more time for the people in the back:  HARD KIDS HAVE GOOD MOMS TOO.

So go give those spirited kids a big hug. You may not get a mug, but you get to raise an incredible child. And let’s be honest:  there’s a chance that mug was going to get accidentally destroyed anyway.

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Whitney Sewell
Whitney is rediscovering Nashville with a toddler and baby after spending a few post-college years (Go Blue Raiders!) exploring other cities in the South with her high school sweetheart turned husband. She is a stay-at-home-mom to two boys, and no, she is not trying for a girl. Sometimes she puts her former marketing career skills to good use by designing kid-centric decor on Etsy. When the kids are napping, she enjoys cooking, reading, and rearranging the playroom for the 87th time.


  1. I needed to read this today. I rarely end the day feeling like ive done right by them. I rarely think they look up to me. I rarely believe im nailimg this momma thing but instead dwell and harp on the fact that im failing at it and them. I keep fearing I’m screwimg them up dsily and in the worst possible way. I always fear they’ll grow up and resent or hate me because I wasn’t good enough for them. I was a less than perfect mom but I promise I try. I try so incredibly hard for them every day. Even on the really tough days. I try even harder on those days because I know they can sense when its a less than ok day. I love them more than I will ever love myself or any other human in this world. When they hurt or are upset I feel it too. I want them to know I tried to be the best mom I could ever be. And yet at the end of the day especially on those rough days when they’ve not listened to a word I’ve said to them or spent the better part of the day fighting or whinning or misbehaving. I feel like ive once again let them down because they finally pushed the last button they hadn’t yet hit and good nerve i had left in me and I lost my shit. That’s when I really feel like the biggest failure. I know im an ehhhhh ok mom. But I hope they know all I do and have done for them to have a good life. I try to make sure they know I love them and how much I love them daily. Multiple times a day. No matter what I will always think im failing them. That im not good enough. That they are amazing boys (have 4 sons) and deserve a better mom.


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