Good Mum Bad Mum

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Recently a friend of mine told me that when she becomes a mother she hopes to be one like I am. Another friend told me she often feels like she’s a terrible mother and feels really guilty.

The future mum’s words surprised me because I often think I’m a hopeless mother. The mum’s words surprised me because she’s an amazing mother who I strive, and fail, to be like.

So what makes a good mum?

Imelda’s Mum is a good mum. When I had a hangover on Sunday morning I gave Miss Rose a bowl of Cheerios, put on CBeebies, then clung to the sofa drinking strong coffee. When Imelda’s Mum had a hangover on Sunday morning she had her children making croissants, which she then baked and served beautifully at the fully laid table with assorted accompaniments. I sat at said table and glared. Whilst drinking strong coffee.

I was judged as a bad mum in a shop today. Miss Rose was having a tantrum because I wouldn’t let her run out of the door and into the street. (She does this. She is somewhat prone to dramatics.) I informed her she looked silly and that I would be looking at the dresses until she decided she was ready to behave.

An elderly lady approached and said “you want to be a good girl don’t you, why don’t you show me how to be a good girl”

Miss Rose said (from the ground to which she was pressed) “No”

“Come on, show mummy you want to get up and behave like a good girl”


I reassured the woman it was alright, she was just a bit dramatic and I prefer to leave her to it until she’s finished, so she doesn’t garner any additional attention.

“You should just pick her up!” She said, gesticulating at me crossly before stomping off.

I shrugged. Waiting until Miss Rose had finished the helped her up and we carried on as normal.

Interestingly following a near identical incident in a supermarket a week ago I was approached by another lady to praise me on my parenting. She said it was wonderful to see someone handling a toddler tantrum so calmly and not screaming at the child like so many mothers.

So what makes a good mum? It would apparently depend from person to person what makes a good mum. To some a good mum picks up a tantruming toddler, whilst to others a good mum ignores them. To some a good mum is strict, to others she is gentle. A good mum provides organic healthy food, or a good mum let’s her children have naughty treats. There are so many things good mums and bad mums do and don’t do.

There are good mothers and bad mothers all around us, and we all have our views on what makes them such. Most mums strive to be good mums in the face of judgement from every corner, and efforts to derail even the calmest mother by wayward toddlers. But I’m pretty sure most mums are good mums… Because a good mum makes croissants… But perhaps a good mum also provides cereal and CBeebies.

You can check out all my contact info an links on, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!


3 responses to “Good Mum Bad Mum

  1. I feel like I am both. I am the mom, who will do crafts and read books all day and snuggle and then the next, I am the one who is so exhausted that a “Little Einsteins video just will have to do”. None of us are perfect but most of us are doing the best that we can. I think any mom that is worried that they might not be a good mom is. You are worrying because you care. If you were a crappy mom, it wouldn’t even matter to you.


  2. I feel like a terrible mother most of the time, especially when faced with a puking daughter. Thankfully she tends to behave quite well when out but at home we treat tantrums the same as you do: call her a drama queen and let her get on with it! They have to learn they can’t always have their own way x



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