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I'm not a mom but I saw that portion of the interview on a morning show last week and I, too, thought it was a watershed moment. Who knew one could like even Felicity Huffman more? It helps bring the truth to the surface for women who are mothers but who realize that it's not a happy, simple, delightfully Martha Stewarty life and for women who aren't mothers, for a variety of reasons, and know that they can still be important and productive and worthy without being someone's mom.
Good luck with the hard work, and thanks for telling the truth.


Excellent piece, amen, and thank you.


Thanks. I really needed that today. My eyes light up too, but right now I'd give them both away for a six-hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep.


Very interesting. I'm terrified of being a mom to an older kid, pre-teen to teen years. I'm so scared that they're going to make a mistake with major, major consequences, like AIDS or their own death or the death of someone else.

What do you think of people who mostly enjoy this time with young kids? Does it say something bad about my life that this might be the happiest I've ever been?

Also, what IS the best experience of your life? I'd love to know.


Both kids, I mean, not both eyes. God, I'm tired.


Linda, I think it says you're cut out for spending time with little kids in a way that I'm just not. I don't enjoy playing volleyball, but I don't think any less of people who like it.

Thre have been several phases of my life in which a higher percentage of my daily activities were fun and made me feel great about myself. The summer after I graduated from high school was amazing, as was the year in which I met and started dating El Grande. I'm positive that the best experience/happiest time of my life is in front of me. And that it involves more sleep and no diapers.

Lisa V

I think in many ways this is probably one of the happiest times in my life, but motherhood is only a part of it.

When I think about aging, I think these years 30's, 40's, 50's must be the best. You are still young enough to have your health. But you are at last mature enough to get a sense of yourself and gain a little wisdom. Maybe all that wisdom tells you is that you don't really know anything, but it's comforting to even figure that much out and be okay with it.

I can remember in the days when we were struggling with infertility I used to daydream about babies and teenagers, with little in between. I adore babies (though I don't want anymore), but I pictured a tall lanky teenage boy leaning against my kitchen sink, eating cereal and telling me about girls or school or something. I pictured a teenage girl who was a total hippie and willing to take risks in places I was not. The teenage thing is most certainly emotionally harder than the baby thing. Though ironically, my daughter is just who I pictured, it's just I'm not the all accepting mom I thought I would be. I try not to judge her and let the small things go. I am scared I will chew my tongue off from biting it so hard.

Big picture- this family (my spouse and kids) is undoubtedly the best experience of my life. However, it's also the very hardest when you look at the day to day living of it.

Great, great topic Moxie, and great discussion.


Cheers to Ms. Huffman! I think she hit the nail on the head. Being a mom is fantastic and rewarding, but I certainly don't want it to be the only thing that defines me. I was a normal, functioning human with my own thoughts and ideas before Thomas the train infiltrated my house. I'm really tired of this new wave of mothering that pushes utter perfection and undying commitment to your kids, your playdates, your uber-musical kids sessions, your bootie knitting projects, your all-about-my-most-perfect-child-in-the-world blog.... There will be a backlash from this hyperparenting syndrome when 10 years from now a new generation of overly pampered kids find it harder to cope when they are not the center of the universe. Let's get back to being human and finding a balance between self and mom.


I just want to say thank you for voicing my thoughts. I love my little daughter so much but I hope things just get better and better. I want to be the mom she runs to with problems or funny stories. And if that means she will slobber and barf and poop on me, then so be it.


Amen. I like to flip it around: Do I think that being a mother should have been the best/happiest thing in my mother's life? Absolutely not. I think that we (my siblings and I) should be and are immeasurably important to her, but this is different from making her happy. "The happiest time in your life, being a mommy?" -- gag. It's GREAT if it IS the happiest time in your life -- happiness is a wonderful thing, no matter how it comes about -- but if it's not, that does NOT mean you love your children less, and that's the implication.

Nikki S

Mox, I think that Huffman's response to the second question, "Are you a good mother?" was just a continuation of her original refusal to answer Questions Like That. But then, you know me, I love the bad mothers.

MFA Mama

Oh man...remember when you so kindly answered my question about the baby on Ask Moxie and I linked to you and said that I loved you before but now my feelings for you verged on the creepy? Well, they are no longer verging as of today. I love you in an entirely and deeply creepy way, and will spend all day imagining scenarios in which I persuade you to leave El Grande and enter into one of those creepy three-way marriages with me and my husband and co-parent all of our kids.
All kidding (um, yeah...I was KIDDING...) aside, parenting my little guys probably IS the happiest I've ever been, but I'm not a good respondant for this impromptu poll that's going on in your comments today, because a) my life up until the time I became a parent largely sucked, and b) this probably makes me a horrible mother, a large part of why I have three small children is that having lots of small children is a crucible I think I need to pass through in order to deepen my understanding of life in general so that I can be a better writer, and I'm constantly thinking "ahhhhhh...yeeeeees" when I'm sleep-deprived and covered with poo, because this is SO going to make me rock the house in a future novel not as a scene necessarily, but as part of my background in writing it, and c) I enjoy a good challenge. But that said, I certainly hope that in twenty years when I look back at these crazy days they are FAR from the best of my life, because while I have not personally experienced it, I KNOW it has to get better than what I had before or what I have now.
I'm so damn happy and introspective lately, I don't know what to do with myself. Must be the pills.


MFA Mama, I am so not moving out into the woods with you. That's a dealbreaker.

Nikki, I agree. I think it may be that Huffman doesn't actually know if she's a Good Mother, but I don't think she really cares (within the frame of public discourse). I think she's decided to take her stand and take a hit for lots of us, and saying she doesn't know if she's a good mom is a political statement.

It's a political statement for me to say that I know I'm a good mom, but it's for factors most people don't think of as essential to or sufficient for good mothering.


Hi Moxie,

I love you.

Now! To the point.

My kids are 5 and 7, well behaved, very self sufficient, loving, kind, and can entertain themselves for long stretches of time.

THIS IS GREAT!! Babyhood and toddlerhood, um, NOT.SO.MUCH.

To put a fine point on it, I loved the kids and HATED THE DRUDGERY.

My sistah, the best is yet to come.


I was so going to post about this today...

Why does everyone seem to think that motherhood is the one thing that should define us? Yes, it's an important job. Yes, it's important that you do it well. But I already had an important job - I'm a public school teacher. Think it's hard to have two kids rely on you for support and guidance and understanding? Try two hundred of them. I don't want to be defined solely by my status as a mother, even though it is an important part of who I am.

I don't always love being a mom. Sometimes, it sucks. I'm okay with admitting that. I'm not always the greatest mom, either. I'm okay with that, too. I try. I make mistakes. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I fail, but at least I'm willing to put forth the effort for my kids. And that's impressive to me, considering that I always said I never wanted children.

Moxie - sorry for the big long aimless ramble. To recap: Felicity Huffman rocks for saying what I think many of us have longed to say but never had the courage to.

MFA Mama

Moxie--but if I MOVED...

Regarding being a "good" mother; at one point early in my third, unplanned pregnancy, after the miscarriage scare when panic and reality set in, I had a really deep conversation with a therapist friend who is AWESOME; I want to be her when I grow up, and she said "Don't be so hard on yourself, kid. You don't always have to be a GOOD mother. Sometimes you can just be GOOD ENOUGH, and everyone will be fine." Part of how I hold it together on the worst days, when the baby is having a GI bleed and I'm walking him up and down the living room trying to listen over his screams for the doctor to call and tell me whether to bring him in the hospital, I just do a quick mental checklist (has everyone eaten? Does the toddler have clean britches? Is he gated off from harmful objects?) and if everyone is GOOD ENOUGH I give myself permission to not feel guilty and just make a note to read an extra story to the preschooler at bedtime and spend some quality block-tower time with the toddler later. This saves my sanity.
But for a member of the media, or anyone for that matter, to speak the words "good mother" is so fraught with judgement of so many women who are doing the best they can as to be distasteful. Even if they're praising someone as "good," that's a highly subjective term that necessarily involves a comparison I don't like to see getting made.
In other words, pffffft.


Well said darling! I like you and Felicity.

Lisa C.


I get upset with those parents who push everyone else to become parents because it's so WONDERFUL and REWARDING and YOU JUST LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT. I have never, ever said those namby-pamby words to any non-parent. I don't encourage everyone to be a parent, because in absolute truth, sometimes it sucks. Other times, it really sucks. These times are mitigated by the non-sucking times, but it is still a huge, unadulterated commitment, and sue me if it's not total bliss.

Do I love being a mother? Yes. Is it the best time of my life? Sorry, no. Does it have potential for the future? Absolutely, and that's what keeps me going.

I know that I relate much better to older children. Like you, Candyland, legos, and the Wiggles only have a certain amount of appeal. A kid who's interested in the science (or history, or whatever)? Hand him over and don't expect to get him back for a while. A toddler who has a singluar obsession for the Wiggles? Give me 15 minutes, tops.

Jen P

I wish I could have seen the interview. We don't get enough of that sort of thing here.

While I've only been a mother for 5 months and a week I am safe to say this has not been the happiest time of my life. It has been hell. I thought I knew hell in abusive relationships but this, by far, has superceeded all that. Sophie has severe GERD and in that time of getting her medicines right, and in worse times pre-diagnosis, I wondered why in the hell I fought for so damn long to try and have a baby.

But now that her medicines are regulated and despite the beast of teething I look at her and feel immense love and devotion and my heart soars. THAT is why I became a mother. When she learns something new developmentally I feel so much pride. When she raises her arms for a hug I fall to pieces with love.

But it ain't easy, and it's hardly been what I'd call a fun journey. We didn't have a good babyhood and I hope her issues are resolved before pre-school.

Am I good mother? I struggled with that for a while but I know I am a good mother. I am a damn good mother. I'm sorry Ms. Huffman doesn't feel that same sort of confidence in herself. I have struggled with some of the worst fears and moments of my life with Sophie (apnea, etc) and I have come out bruised, battered, bleeding but I have come out BETTER. I am a better person for having mothered Sophie and I am a good mother.

Am I a conventional mother? No. Do I do things according to books or other mothers? Probably not. But I do what I feel is right and we're making it day by day.

I don't believe I've ever experienced a good pattern in my life. But I know it's to come. I know my 40s and 50s will be divine and I know Sophie can only influence those moments. She is the light of my life, but not my purpose.

Brilliant post Moxie. Absolutely brilliant.

Num Num

Quite a beautiful post. Thanks. Num Num

El Grande

If my wife gets a threesome, then I get a threesome, too.

MFA Mama

LOL! You can sneak into my house and clean my kitchen any day, El G.


Moxie - I like you, I really do but the lovefest in here - gaaah!
This is a very tender topic for me because I was given a child who's challenges in life didn't emerge until he was past the baby stage. I was a great mother when he was a baby, except I wouldn't qualify it as mothering. It was caretaking with kisses. It wasn't until later, when I was faced with real behavioral challenges, not to mention pressure from outside interests(my mom) and ongoing psychological assessments, that I realized that I am not a good mother. I am a woman trying to get by who unknowingly afflicts her child with her own expectations. Time will tell his story more fully but there's more to it than baking cookies and helping with homework.


Lala, I'm not sure what you mean. You mean you hate the lovefest because you think the baby and toddler years are the easy part, and in retrospect turned out to be the happiest time and we're all chumps for looking forward to the older years? Or you mean you hate the lovefest because of our definition of "good mother"? Or you just hate the lovefest period, and that has nothing to do with your own story?

MFA Mama

Moxie--I think I just creeped Lala out...I'm better at the baby years too--the four-year-old just KILLS me some days...and then others, like yesterday, I was a bit tense and he came up to me and said "Mommy, if I knew you when you were a little baby I would hold you very gently and not drop you on your head" and...(swoons)...

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