I am THAT Mom. We are THAT Family.


I am THAT mom. I am the mom of the naughty kids. My kids are the ones who are getting in trouble at school. They are the ones that have a rap sheet a mile long at day care.

Before you judge me, please know I’m doing all that I can.

I read my boys bedtime stories. I make them dinners from scratch. Ok, sometimes it’s Mac & Cheese and hot dogs, but we sit around the dinner table every night talking about our day. I snuggle my boys before they all fall asleep. I pray for them every single night. I read mom blogs and study the parenting books.

I’m not always sure how my kids turned out to be “those” kids. I’m not always sure that they really are “those” kids. They’ve been through a lot; we all have. They have had me by their side every step of the way, but it’s still been a rough road.

Here I am, the single and divorced parent, just trying to do my best by them and I can feel the stares, the judgmental glances. I just wish that before anyone judges my kids or me and my parenting skills (or lack thereof), they would just hear my story. Hear how far my babies have come and what they have been through. 

Disclaimer :: Our story does not excuse their behavior. It does not give them the right to act any way they want. Let me be clear — disrespect and disobedience have NO place in my home. It’s my #1 priority and often what I talk about the most. However, their story might explain why they might struggle more than many children do. It might explain why they have a temper hotter than the average child.

My boys lost their brother when my youngest were six months and my oldest was four years old. They heard their father call their mom every name in the book. Their family was broken in half when they were two and six years old. We lived in a small 800 square foot two bedroom home while I tried to make ends meet. I gave up all of my social life to be home with my kids at night. Two boys struggle with ADHD. Their mom struggles with her own depression and does everything she can to push through her own fog in order to lead and guide her children. It hasn’t been easy for any of us, especially them.

I hate myself for this. I hold myself 100% responsible for the way my children act. I feel it’s all my fault and a direct response to my own failures. 

They have always been loved beyond words can describe. I was the stay at home mom who fed them every bottle in the middle of the night. I made fresh baby food rather than feeding them out of a jar. I’ve sacrificed my own space in the house to give them a huge play room. We went to story time at the library and joined play groups.

Yet, here we are — my boys are the naughty ones. I am THAT mom.

So what do you do with kids like mine? With moms like me? The simple answer — don’t judge. Assumptions about our family cut deep and it hurts me when people think they know our story just based on outward appearances. I’m not disengaged from my kids. I don’t condone their behavior. I’m struggling. I’m drowning. I know how to love my kids, I’m just still learning how to discipline and lead a family that has been through trauma. I’ve taken parenting classes. I seek council from my friends who seem to have it together better than I do.

My kids are more than I can handle. The life they were given is more than they can handle. We’re in counseling. We talk about feelings. We pray together. We are doing the best that we can. We’re just struggling.

So yes, I am THAT mom. We are THAT family. 

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Melissa is a Waukesha native and is raising her boys in the same neighborhood she grew up in. Her friends call her Mel. She’s a single, full-time working mama to three boys (12 and 8) and an angel. Mel lives on coffee and Diet Coke. After the boys are in bed, she spends her nights making lunches, doing dishes and crocheting to crime TV. She loves trying new things and laughing until her sides hurt. Mel is daughter, sister, mother, auntie, godmother, coworker and friend … but most of all she says, “I’m just messy me.”


  1. I agree take away that word naughty they are spirited! Parenting is the hardest thing we will ever do. Don’t be so hard on yourself you sound like you’re an amazing Mom. ❤❤❤

  2. I feel your struggles. My boys lost there father to suicide at 4 and 8 years old. They are now 7 and 12. I related completely to trying to help them while struggling with your own depression. I relate to feeling like whatever they end up like is completely on my shoulders. Keep loving, keep praying and keep sharing. You’re not alone in your struggles

  3. I feel your pain as a mother of one son, but I am somewhat angry as a teacher of 180 students. I totally see where you are coming from, but at the same time, children like your son are often distracting from the learning of many other students. Is it fair? No, it is not fair that you work so hard and your son acts this way, but it is also not fair that another person’s child has to sit in a class and lose valuable educational time because of a child who misbehaves. Please let me know what a good solution would be, as I have dozens of students like your son.

    • Please look into trauma informed care, as I think there are a lot of strategies that you could use in your classroom to make all of your students life better.

  4. Even if they hadn’t experienced the trauma, ADHD will certainly make them “act out” and traditional discipline strategies don’t work. Sometimes there’s not a lot you can do but meds and CBT or another therapy can help (although I’m sure you’re already familiar with the options). It’s not your fault by any means. You are absolutely right; people shouldn’t judge since they have no idea what others are dealing with.


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