I feel like a terrible person


Shame lives in the darkness; in the silence - the things unsaid. Freedom is found in honesty, vulnerability, and a round of "me too!"

Parents of strong-willed kids bear a heavy burden when parenting feels exhausting, relenting, challenging, frustrating, and defeating on a daily basis.   Today I break down 10 things parents are afraid to admit, and why it's 100% okay for them to feel that way.


  • Things that feel so cringe to say out loud but are true nonetheless
  • The paradox felt between the guilt of overreacting and underreacting
  • What to do if you check every single box


  • Why you should have more compassion for yourself than you do

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Danielle Bettmann 0:05
Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood I mean? Have too much anxiety, not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. This is survival mode, we're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up, and you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week, we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom, your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough. And you're not alone. I hope you pop in earbuds, somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend, we're so glad you're here.

Danielle Bettmann 1:15
Hey, it's Danielle, thanks so much for being here. Today is a really quick one. And then next week will be our Father's Day inspired episode. And you're definitely gonna want to listen to that interview, it's so good and share it with your partner. But before we get to that, I wanted to circle back and talk to my parents of strong-willed kids again, because nobody knows what it's like, then a parent of a strong-willed child, right? It's like, game recognizes game or if you know, you know, but today's episode is going to be a list of 10 thoughts that parents of strong-willed kids have that they don't like to admit. And the reason why I know these things are in your head is because they have been admitted to me from clients and I've had them myself, and you are not wrong or bad, or should feel shame or anything has gone wrong.

Danielle Bettmann 2:19
If you feel like you've thought any of these thoughts, okay, so nothing has gone wrong. This is actually this means that there are indicators that this is the place for you, you have found your home and your people, and there is so much hope. And when you're having these thoughts, it means that it's not okay with you, and that you are ready to do something about it. And you're thinking very deeply about it, which means that you care, right, you don't worry about things you don't care about. And you don't feel defeated unless you are trying, usually quite hard. Okay. So these are things that have been shared word for word with me, in the safety of a relationship that I get to know the families I work with on a very deep, personalized level, where we are individualizing everything to their strengths and weaknesses, their kids personalities and ages, their particular unique circumstances. And they trust me. And that is a huge honor to be able to then hold space for a lot of vulnerability between the two of us and within the community of Wholeheartedly CALM.

Danielle Bettmann 3:37
And I can tell you, nothing makes the biggest difference in how you see yourself then when you speak out loud, a very scary thing that you feel like you're the only one that thinks. And not only is no one looked at you with any guilt, fault or shame, but they say "me too". And they look you in the eyes, and your your eyes wide open, you just feel like okay, now that I admitted that I can move past it, and I can work through it. And I can find solutions and strategies and sanity. So this is big. There's a reason why I do the work I do in a way that doesn't allow you to just "add it to cart". It doesn't allow you to just have an impulse buy one day, it allows you to have the opportunity to think very long term, and strategically and intentionally about the parent you want to be and the childhood you want to give your child and the relationship you want to have with your strong-willed kid you have to wrestle through how much it's worth to you, and how big of a priority and whether or not you're in integrity and values and if not what needs to change and you know, is there any time better than now and can we make this work for our family? That whole experience of finding support is genuinely such a value. And I love getting to work families through that process. Because when they get to the other side, and they have committed and they are fully "all in", better days are inevitable. It's just fact at that point, you've done the hard work already. Now let's just figure it out and have fun, making it more playful, making it less energy. Making things possible, you didn't even think we're possible finding cooperation that blows your mind. That is what we do here at Wholeheartedly.

Danielle Bettmann 5:37
So what is that list? Alright, let's get to it. Number one, tell me if you've ever had any of the following feelings.

Danielle Bettmann 5:45
Number one, I'm scared of my child, sometimes, I never know what's going to set them off. It's yucky feeling like you live in a minefield that you are constantly on edge. Walking on Eggshells. Of course, that unpredictability is going to make you feel very uncomfortable. And if they are aggressive and violent and have physically harmed you or others, yeah, you're human, you're gonna feel scared. But admitting, I'm scared of my child doesn't feel like that's okay to say as a parent, but it is here.

Danielle Bettmann 6:24
Number two, I don't like being around my child right now, or spending time with them right now. I would rather be at work than hanging out with my kid. Or it's just easier to not be together as a family, it's easier to split up and not do things together. Which means I'm missing out on stuff my other kids are doing and it's not fair to them. But we just can't afford the luxury. Because you never know what's gonna happen. That's okay. That's valid. Why would you if it constantly feels hard or forced or rejected or resisted, you're human, you want to connect.

Danielle Bettmann 7:12
Number three, I feel like I'm being held hostage in my own home. Everything is on their terms. It's just their world and we're living in it. Unfortunately, that usually means you're not able to do the things you want to do. You don't go out to eat, for how it'll go, how it'll go. You don't travel, you don't go out by yourself. You don't schedule date nights and hire a babysitter. You don't take that extra job opportunity right now. You don't do the things that will propel your family forward into the life you want to live. Because you're held hostage. That feels claustrophobic.

Danielle Bettmann 7:54
Number four, I feel like our relationship trajectory is in jeopardy. I don't know how to fix it. And again, that's not because you're not trying. It's not because you don't care. It's the opposite. Nothing freaks you out more if you feel like you've tried everything. And it's not working. Of course you love your kid, you want to know that they're going to come to you when they're 13. And going through a lot of hard things. And was their behavior gets riskier and riskier as they get older. You want to know that you've built that solid foundation that you can build off of, if you don't have that now. Future feels scary.

Danielle Bettmann 8:40
Number five, I feel like I'm overreacting. And it's all in my head. That will drive you crazy, especially if you try to share examples with friends and they blow it off or you share examples with family and they tell you all of this conflicting information as to advice of what you should do. And you know that their behavior is probably developmentally appropriate. So you should just know what to do to figure it out. You shouldn't need help. You shouldn't need practitioner or maybe you do? Maybe you're under-reacting. Like, should they be seeing a therapist? especially as they get older, and they're like six now. Like surely they should know better. Or they should be able to manage their tantrums better at six and they did it three almost seems like they're regressing or that there's so much more condensed and I'm the one dealing with it at home the most. What is going on here? Are you holding them back? Should you be doing PCIT? Do they need a diagnosi?s Am I holding them back from not getting them help? I don't know. Right?

Danielle Bettmann 10:05
I don't know, I don't know what I don't know. And I can't compare them really to any other kids. I mean, they're different from my oldest or youngest, but I don't think they have that it's not, you know, affecting them at school, maybe guilt, guilt, guilt.

Danielle Bettmann 10:24
Number six, I hate how angry I get with them. I don't like the person I become around them. Especially if you're trying to be a gentle parent, and you're talking to them kindly and trying to be a Mary Poppins. And you can only be nice for so long. And then it boils over and they push you off the edge and you react, you get defensive, you get loud, or you start out loud, because nothing else works, you're trying to get their attention. That never feels good. Of course it doesn't. If you're taking parenting seriously, and you care. You want to be proud of your own behavior, you want to feel in control of your own behavior, right? That feels like you want to be able to look in the mirror, and be proud of yourself.

Danielle Bettmann 11:19
Number seven, I feel like I'm failing them, or doing them a disservice because I'm not equipped to handle them. If you don't feel like you have the tools in your back pocket of the best way to manage their personality or crack the code of their behavior, you don't know where it's coming from, you don't know how to prevent it. Clearly, they need someone other than you to teach them the emotional coping skills that they just don't have. And you just don't know what you're doing. But of course, you know what you're doing at your job, because you went to college for it, and you went through orientation. And you've had a lot of experience on the ground. You don't have that with parenting. So of course, of course, it feels hard.

Danielle Bettmann 12:12
Number eight, my heart goes out to their sibling, or siblings because they're either learning negative behavior from them, are harmed by them, or are getting scraps or leftovers from me with my attention and capacity. That is use a lot of times what sends my clients over the edge. And they end up diving and asking for help because they cannot see, they cannot let especially a younger sibling or a baby be harmed in the process and feel like that is preventable. They can't let them follow in their footsteps, they can't let an older sibling become neglected and resentful and disconnected and pull away into their teen years. They can't let it happen. That's good parenting.

Danielle Bettmann 13:10
Number nine. We're on the same page as CO parents, where we know what we're doing isn't working but don't know what will. So it's not that we haven't distributed the load or that we're not both helping out with parenting or that we want to know where we're going or parents who want to be. It's just that we don't know what to do instead of what we're doing. And we both agree on that. That doesn't feel good, because you don't have a lot of hope there. Especially if the other parent is staring at you saying What am I supposed to do right now? And you don't know? Or you? You're calling them at work being like, what am I supposed to do? And they're like, I don't know.

Danielle Bettmann 13:56
Number 10. Deep down, I'm mad at myself. I should have this figured out by now. It shouldn't be that hard. Does that sound familiar? If you have that expectation that parenting should come naturally. And we have the internet and all the tools at my fingertips. And I've read books, and I've taken a course and I've gone to therapy. I got this. But you don't feel like you got this. That's frightening. And it's okay, because that's exactly where a lot of my clients have been. And they have completely transformed their relationship with their child. They have eliminated almost all of the major meltdowns going past that point of no return. They have cooperation beyond belief throughout the day now. They're so proud of their patience level. And this is just how they parent now ongoing you're mad at yourself because their behavior doesn't mean extense, right, and you're just trying to figure out the formula. Because if you can just figure out where it's coming from or what the problem is, you can solve it. And you are smart. You may even have a PhD. You may be like a lot of my clients and be a dean of a college or be a neuroscientist, or work for NASA. How much shame are you putting on yourself because you have that title. So surely you shouldn't need help with parenting. But that's where most of my families come from. They are academic, they are professionals, they are smart. Of course, they take parenting seriously because they know the influence. And they are ready to just invest in themselves so they stop feeling so behind behind the eight ball, so incompetent, feel like they failing. S

Danielle Bettmann 15:56
o if that's you, if this sounds like I just read your diary insert from last night, or hacked into your text messages to your bestie. Then don't stay silent. At least reach out say hi in Instagram, and say thank you for this episode. Then from there, then reach out and schedule a consultation because there's no pressure, no obligation to just learning more. At that point, if we're both entirely convinced that Wholeheartedly CALM is the best fit for your family right now. Then we dive in, and better days are inevitable. You won't feel like this anymore. Okay. So thank you for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you. And I'm cheering you on.

Danielle Bettmann 16:53
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms note they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong willed child, and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.




Tuesday, Sept 27th at 1:00 PM CENTRAL

Confidently parent your strong-willed child without caving in or dimming their spark so you can finally break free of power struggles, guilt + self-doubt!