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How to tell if you are you a selfish mom?

There is nothing that gets me going more than a selfish mother.  One who ignores her children.  A mom who sees herself as more important.  Her time, Her patience, Her things.  Who decided this type of motherhood was okay?

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When did we as a society make it socially acceptable to celebrate mediocrity and selfishness in raising children?

Motherhood IS the most selfless job that there is.  You create, carry, and birth a human.  That human then relies on you for love, support, nourishment, and safety.

Why did you create these children if you then did not want to commit yourself to the task of raising children?


What makes a good mother?

I read so many “parenting blogs” that celebrate being a “good mother” because she refuses to play with her kids, and tells them not to bother her unless they are dying.  One mother said that she cursed in front of her children because she could and because she was a grown up so that made it acceptable!

Sure I do these things occasionally.  I let my children watch TV when I have other things that might need to be accomplished.  Yes, sometimes I have a snack that I don’t want to share, but I am surely not going to specifically hide from my children to eat it.  Yes, I have let a cuss word slip in front of my children but those are not words that I want my children to think are okay even when they do become a grown up.

Why are we celebrating these parenting styles?

If you went to work each day and only gave 50% you would probably get fired.  Most normal people wouldn’t do that because they wouldn’t want to get fired.  SO why are we okay with not giving our all to parenting?  Why is raising children seen as something that we shouldn’t devote ourselves to because it might interfere with our own personal needs?

Don’t Freak Out!

Now I know you guys are going to start freaking out here.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think that you need to stop being your own person to be the best parent.  I don’t think that you need to devote 110% of your time to your kids all day every day.  No, I don’t think that you have to be a slave to your children.  I actually believe that giving into your children’s wants all the time is creating an even bigger problem but more on that later.

My real problem here is the celebration of poor parenting choices.  The celebration of selfish parenting, specifically a selfish mother.  A celebration of the mediocre. It’s this modern-day acceptance of half-assing (excuse my grown up word) everything we can.  Parenting has become no exception.

Today’s parent seems to have other priorities besides having good parenting skills.  Now I know that so many of us aren’t this way.  It hurts my heart to look around and see the general acceptance of other moms who don’t practice positive parenting styles.  It’s the children who are going to suffer in the long run.

A Selfish Mother

Is selfishness a learned trait or one that you are born with?  I personally believe it is something that is taught and something that you actively choose to do.  Even if your own raising taught you to only care for yourself you can still LEARN to put others before your own needs.  You can learn to raise children the right way.

Philippians 2:3 says “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”  Let’s look at this again because I want you to see the most important part here.  “count others more significant than yourselves.  This is not just parenthood but life in general.

When you are living only for yourselves you can’t REALLY care for anyone.  Selfishness eats a hole in every relationship that you have, including the one you have with your children.  You can put on a good front for everyone else, you might even meet other moms who will celebrate being a selfish mother with you.  At the end of the day though, your heart knows who you really are.

Selfless choices.  The choice to put your phone down, turn the TV off, breastfeed longer then you intended, skip girls night because someone got sick, selling your Lularoe to pay for a tee ball jersey... Intentional parenting.  Really KNOWING who your kids are and what their needs are.  Planning ahead on how to meet your childs wants and needs instead of simply responding when something comes up. Seeing parenting as your purpose at this point in your life.  Parenting is work.  Its more than just snuggles and playdates.  But parenting, no matter the situation is what your focus SHOULD be.


When you give any kind of excuse, it’s just that.  An excuse.  You can package it up as pretty as you can but inside it will still be a dirty little failure.  Failures are okay on occasion because they help us grow and learn.

When you fail to learn from your failures and make positive changes then you have embraced mediocrity.  You have made a conscious decision to let poor behavior into your parenting. You have given yourself an excuse.

If you find yourself giving the same excuse over and over you need to make a change. Changes are hard and scary.  If you know you need to make a change but don’t know where to start, be honest.  Be honest with yourself.  With your significant other.  With your child.  Reach out to someone you trust and ask for advice.  Shoot me an email.  Let me help you.  Whatever you decide just DO IT.

General Mom Excuses

Laundry.  I get it.  I really do.  It has got to get done.  Here’s the thing though.  You CAN stay on top of your laundry AND still have time to devote to your children.  My cleaning schedule allows me to only spend 1 hour per day cleaning and it INCLUDES laundry!  Check it out.

Cleaning. Yes, they are messy.  If I hear the “excuse the mess, my children are making memories” excuse one more time I might scream.  A clean and organized home has nothing to do with your kids. It has to do with your ability to prioritize and organize your day.  No, I don’t expect your house to be showroom ready every day (or any day for that matter) but it should never be filthy.

Sleep and time.  This is a prioritizing issue as well.  If you are taking on too much, its time to give something up.  Maybe you need to start meal prepping.  Maybe you need to start napping with the kids.  Maybe you need to give up an activity.  Figure it out.

Money.  You cannot buy good parenting.  Good parenting has nothing to do with your income level and the things that you can buy for your children.  The most important thing that you can do for your children is mental.  Not physical.  Raise a child who cares more about internal things instead of external things.  

Here are a few of my previous posts that can help you organize your time a bit better if you need help in that area.

How to be a better mom

I promise that you have the power to be a truly GREAT mom inside of you. “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12.  No matter what your life is throwing at you, you have a choice about how you react.

When chocolate syrup is ground into your freshly cleaned carpets, you can decide to respond with anger or patience.

When your child darts away in a crowd and you catch up to them with fear in your heart you can decide to respond with anger or gentleness.

When your baby is screaming in a restaurant you can respond with humility instead of humiliation.

When your child accidentally breaks an heirloom you can respond with kindness and sincerity, not frustration.

Your child is learning too

As hard as it is to try to be a good mom, try to remember how hard it is to be a child.  Think of all the social cues you have to learn, all the emotional, physical and age appropriate things you have to learn.

It’s hard to be a child too.  Their brains don’t make the same decisions and choices that grown-up minds make.  Have compassion with these learning little ones who haven’t quite learned impulse control or how to behave in all forms of social situations.

Societal Pressures

Stop feeling like you need to keep up with other moms.  You need to parent the best way for YOUR children.

Instagram makes me feel like a failure almost every single day.  The moms I see on there who clearly had several hours to get ready with perfectly styled hair, makeup, outfits, accessories, and children make me feel small.  Like my clearance rack cutoff shorts and oversized t-shirt are somehow a reflection of how I’m doing as a mom.

Follow my real life parenting on Instagram!  

False.  I’m in cutoffs because my kids and I have been playing in the backyard all morning.  My t-shirt is the third one I’ve had on today after the first got covered in oatmeal while I was teaching my baby to eat with a spoon. The 2nd was drenched in an impromptu water hose fight.

These are the things that happen at MY house!  Maybe your kids love art or science.  Don’t throw them outside because that’s what other moms are doing.  My kids LOVE to dance.  Don’t think that the dance classes I put my kids in will make you a better mom.

Choices, intent and purpose will make you a better mom.

Selfless choices.  Choose to put your phone down, turn the TV off, breastfeed longer than you intended, skip girls night because someone got sick, sell your Lularoe to pay for a tee ball jersey…

Intentional parenting.  Really KNOWING who your kids are and what their needs are.  Planning ahead on how to meet your child’s wants and needs instead of simply responding when something comes up.

Seeing parenting as your purpose at this point in your life.  Parenting is work.  It’s more than just snuggles and play dates.  But parenting, no matter the situation is what your focus SHOULD be.

You won’t always be breaking up sibling fights and folding mountains of laundry.  For now, get used to it.  Be okay with it.  Learn to love it and cherish it.  Learn to put yourself LAST.  “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

So today, you get to make a choice.  Do you want to devote yourself to being a really, genuinely GOOD mom?  Or do you want to keep putting yourself first and hope everything turns out okay?

I hope the answer is an easy one for you!  I would love for you to join our community of moms who are working hard to be the best women, wives, and mom they can be.



  • Laura April 27, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    I am SO happy to read something about putting children first! It seems like the current trend is “Mommy First” and it drives me nuts. My babies are first on my list no matter what and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    • TheGracefulOlive April 27, 2018 at 11:59 pm

      Drives me crazy too! I don’t think mom’s need to be doormats or anything but if you take on the task of motherhood recognize that it is NOT about just yourself anymore and BE PRESENT.

  • Mike December 27, 2018 at 7:34 am

    Great Post, I really enjoyed the whole article. You write this on a very different topic and I like it.

  • A Kindred Spirit January 13, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    It’s extremely rare to find an article that goes against the current trend of being a selfish mom and holding firmly to the “me time” myth. Kudos to you for being brave and speaking truth. I’m a sixty-something kindergarten teacher in a Christian School and I’ve seen firsthand the effect such selfishness is having on children. Never before have I seen such insecurity and behavior issues in young children, and most feel just as entitled as mom does to her “me time.” Why do these women have children? It’s such a short season in life…they’re little for such a short time! Christ was a SERVANT! I find it absolutely shocking that Christian mothers have bought into such a blatant lie.

  • Alice November 23, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Thank you!! This was brave of you to write! This will definitely be one of my re-reads 😊

  • Aj January 9, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Love this article. We, the ones who’ve been so blessed to have these little darlings, once cried for them, prayed for them. Some still are yearning for them. Why should ANY of us take them for granted… we had them, we should take FULL responsibility for them.
    Arghh… it sometimes sounds nice but Me Time trend makes me wild.

  • KME3 April 23, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Mother of two here, and I was searching around for ways to be a less selfish parent and came across this beautifully written blog that really reminded me of what my goal is. I grew up in a home that was more of a “children should be rarely seen and not heard,” sort of family and my husbands family was the same. We’ve both been struggling to be less selfish since our daughter was born and we took custody of my niece. I can say that working on being less selfish is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m actually really ashamed to say that it’s hard to be selfless. It should come easily, and it should feel normal. It feels hard and I get down on myself for not doing good enough every single day. My house is still a disaster, and I still have a lot of selfish tendencies I am gradually chipping away at. While practicing selflessness for my kids I’ve realized how little I even appreciated myself and what low self-esteem I had as a result of my environment growing up. I cannot speak for others, but I hope to share my story for anyone who may be in a similar situation as myself. The journey of becoming selfless after being such a selfish person is a journey to inner freedom. And it is singlehandedly the most difficult thing you will do. There are highs and lows. There are tears and fears and worries and adult tantrums as well as toddler tantrums! But take it one step at a time because every day gets a little brighter and you feel more energized as time passes. Your finances get better (because you’re not filling a void,) and your home gets just a little more organized. Some days are better than others and some days you feel like you lose all the progress you’ve made to become more proactive and less self-centered. Some weeks and even a month pass with bad behavior on your part sliding by. And then you break down because you suddenly realize “that. That’s what I felt as a kid and that’s what I don’t want my child to feel because it’s an awful feeling!” And so somehow you wake up the next morning and clean the heck out of your house, complete almost all the laundry, and still find time to play dolls or make slime or bake or what have you with your child. This is not easy, IT IS DIFFICULT!But my children have taught me more than I could ever teach them and I want them to know that I will forever love them, support them, and be there for them. As the days go by I grow and I hope that I haven’t scarred them. I feel guilty for having to put effort into building my self-esteem instead of inherently knowing what, how, and when to do things for and with them. I still have a lot to change. I still have more to organize. I suck hardcore at getting down on their level to play and do anything with them. But I am learning! And having to teach yourself to love yourself while also parenting is sometimes an absolutely difficult thing to do. DON’T GIVE UP! It will get easier and you will feel less depressed! You will look at your child and regret not having been better to/for them during this transition in your life but please, please fight your selfishness and get up! Do the dishes, play dolls (even if you don’t know how to interact, just learn and figure it out!) read to them, tuck them in and sing to them every night! Make a vow to YOURSELF to do these things for them and don’t give up when you hit bumps in the road or fail! Keep going, keep at it!

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    About Zhade

    About Zhade

    Hi Mama

    I’m wife to my high school sweetheart, and mama to three little girls: Everleigh, Magnolia & Juniper. I LOVE motherhood, holidays and hot chocolate. I crave efficiency and NEED to figure out the easiest and best way to do EVERYTHING. Life is short & I refuse to waste it on being boring.


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