The Mama Monster


The mama monster reared her head last night.

You know the one. She creeps up despite your best judgment. She surprises you with her ferocity. She roars. Sometimes you exit your body and watch her and think, Wow… who the heck is that? 

One of my friends said something about motherhood that always makes me smile: Until I had kids, I didn’t know I had so much yelling in me. Amen, sister.

So back to last night.

I heard a funny sound coming from the kitchen – something like rain, but more like pebbles falling, like hail. I went in to find Nico had poured an entire can of coffee beans on the ground.

At first I was calm. Oops! Let’s get those beans back in the can… “ but then he started thrashing around, sweeping his little starfish hands as fast as he could to and fro, trying to disseminate the beans as quickly as possible before I shut him down.

The beans flew everywhere – careening through the air, across the kitchen floor, under the stove.

He then proceeded to stomp around and crush them with his chunky, little padded feet.

That’s when the mama monster reared her head. “Stop it Nico!” I shouted. “If you’re not going to help, get out of here!” and I furiously tried to shove the beans back into the can, trying not to include old pieces of macaroni and dust bunnies in each handful.

I roared. But really, I wanted to cry.

It wasn’t a big deal in the end. Some went back in the can. Some got thrown in the garbage. Some are still hiding in the crevices of our home, under the oven. We will find them again one day when we move out.

But in those moments, when the mama monster comes out, it’s never really about the beans. It’s always about the exhaustion and the bills. The overwhelm and the worry. The filthy house and having to make dinner again. (Seriously? Dinner again?)

The trying to get it right and always falling short.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with Ben when he was a toddler:

Ben: (whining and dragging his feet behind me as we walk home from school) I’m roaring and crying.
Me: You’re what?
Ben: Roaring and crying.
Me: I know just how you feel. I roar and cry all the time.
Ben: I’m sad.
Me: What are you sad about?
Ben: I don’t know.
Me: Why don’t you just roar and cry then?
Ben: Okay.


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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.



  1. Heather

    Amen. We live in the country, but with the windows open and all the time we spend in our yard, I still wonder what my neighbors think of me.

    Hope it makes you feel better to know hat you’re not alone- not by a long shot.

  2. Andrea Scher

    It DOES make me feel better!

    and I always wonder what the neighbors think too.

  3. Marianne

    Ben has some of your deep wisdom.
    I hope you roared and cried. Can I bring dinner tonight? Seriously?

  4. Betsybeth

    Yeah for your honesty.. sometimes it was dirty dishes next to the dishwasher (not in it) sometimes it was ‘when is dinner ready’ (when I’d just worked in from work)… Really it was ‘i cant do this and you guy hate me anyway’ Step-mothers have one hell of a roar too.,,

  5. Christina Vega

    Thank you for writing this. I agree, you are SO not alone. I roared and cried at 4:30 this morning when my 4 year old came into my room wanting me to help her find her lost “ditty” (aka pacifier – and please don’t judge, yes she’s 4 and still sleeps with a pacifier, and I justify it by wanting sleep as a single mama, among other things). Anyway, I couldn’t find the dang thing in the dark and she asked for a different one that was waaaay down in the kitchen. I roared about the “ridiculous ditty” and she sweetly said “Maybe I can use it next time then” and snuggled up and went back to bed. Hello, Mama Guilt!!! I went back to bed with my heart aching. Gah. But yes, it’s never about the beans. Or the ditty. xoxo

  6. Andrea Scher

    With you sister!

    Thank you for sharing that story… and yes! never about the ditty.
    And omg, I would never judge. My guy will probably still be sucking on his ba-ba
    til he’s 13 years old.

  7. amybader

    the neighbor’s kid heard me screaming last night. the exhaustion and tedium. yes. that.

  8. AppleTree

    Yeah. I get it, and I needed this today (and yesterday and tomorrow). Thank you.

  9. Liv Lane

    Um, last night I flung my 10 year old’s door open so wide as he tried to slam it on me…that the door made a dent in his wall. SHIT. Didn’t even know what to do with myself. Was in the middle of a roar…and suddenly I had to apologize for his wall. It actually made us both calm down and giggle at the wall, thank God. Long way of saying I’m with you sister.

  10. Maribel

    I’m with you. I can totally relate and see myself in your words. You’re not alone. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Micheline

    I’ll admit that before I had kids I was (in my head) pretty harsh on moms losing their cool. Now whenever I see it happening I have nothing but the most sincere empathy. I’ll think, “Oh, they’re having one of THOSE days.” And if I can, and if it’s appropriate, I’ll try to do whatever I can to help out. Even if it’s just to say that I remember days like that. You are so not alone.

  12. Sarah

    I love the comment about not knowing how much yell we have in us until we become mothers. As much as I try to catch myself, the roars come out. Thanks for sharing a moment where we ALL have been.

  13. Charmel

    Thanks for sharing. Any one wanting more support or proof that they are not alone should check out and her Facebook page. She challenged herself to not yell and is going on a year. Great support community and ideas to help you keep calm and not yell.

  14. tea_austen

    While I’m not in the trenches myself (not in that particular trench, at least), I think of the monster as a positive thing–it’s our protection mechanism, the switch that gets flipped when we really cannot take any more. She’s looking out for you, guarding you, and striking out only when we’ve been pushed to the edge.

    If it weren’t for the monster, we’d be rolled flat as a pancake.

    Sending love to you and your monster. She’s doing the job she was meant to do. xox

  15. Anna

    I was just sitting here … clutching the stomach that aches because of all the things I am holding in. And I thought, what I really need to do is cry… but I was wrong. I really need to ROAR and CRY!

    Thank you and thank Ben for all of that … let’s all roar and cry together and let go of all these things that do not serve us, at least for a minute.

  16. RookieMom Whitney

    Dinner has killed my spirit. I am dead of dinner.

    I’m with you.

  17. Susie Lubell

    thank you for this. I roar in English so that my neighbors maybe won’t understand me…in Israel…but duh, everyone here speaks English. Or they speak enough to know what STOP FIGHTING OR I WILL KILL YOU BOTH means. I have a two year old with starfish swiping paws too. It’s the worst.

  18. Larissa

    I’m right there with you. Times two. Moving is not so good for keeping mamas peaceful. I don’t think I’ve roared or cried so much since the boys were 4 months old and never sleeping at the same time. A couple of days ago, a skipped nap and a bunch of accidents (busted toes, brother-on-brother bites) had me weeping in the backyard of our house-sit. And now the boys hear my voice start getting tense and say, “Mommy sad.” Oh dear. Better start my own one-year program. Or do more yoga. Or something.

  19. Vivian Mandala

    OMG, what a well timed post! I’ve got three little ones and going through some rocky
    times with my husband. We were walking through our little village tonight. Super cute, know the place where you vacation and think “Why don’t we live here?” We moved there. Anyway, walking down the street and they were all talking at the same time, no one really listening to each other…talking talking talking. I freaked. Right. In. The. Middle. Of. The. Street. Ugh

  20. caroline

    its like having an out of body experience.I Roar like a lioness and scare myself when i see how one of my boys stare at me like”whoa where’d my mom go?” I know how it feels and moms need to ne compassionate towards each other..not critical

  21. stefanierenee

    If I could get rid of the goddamn dinner I so would and I wish to God I didn’t know what you were talking about but I do …so very much it hurts. I’m crying and roaring over here with you…along side of you…always. the joy of motherhood and adulthood wrapped into one.

  22. Meg

    Andrea, thank you for this story. It was just the story I needed to hear today. We are in the middle of selling our house and there is nothing like living in a house (with 2 young ones) and trying to make it look like you don’t live there that brings out the monster mommy in me.

  23. Sandra

    I am so thrilled to see so many people mention “the dinner” – for some silly reason, I thought that was only my thing. It makes me a little catatonic sometimes to have to approach dinner for the 4000th time (haven’t you guys eaten enough already??) especially with a picky eater. You have a feisty boy on your hands, Andrea! 🙂

  24. Lara

    Baby, the other night I screamed so hard that I peed in my pants a little. Just sayin’ – you sure aren’t alone in this.

  25. Karen Main

    You had me at “Until I had kids I did not know I had so much yelling in me”. It is the following guilt that does the most damage in my house. It causes me to become inconsistent and want to over compensate. Knowing I am not alone helps keep the guilt away. Thank you

  26. Nina

    After the roaring and yelling, I was 1/2 way up the stairs getting ready to put the garbage in my 10 year old’s bed (!) because he wasn’t doing his chores on my time when I came back down and said to him, “I really don’t want to put the garbage in your bed, that’s just mean.” He agreed but still didn’t take the f***ing garbage out.
    Oh, I just call it my mamabear voice.
    I’m convinced (or have rationalized) that it’s all about the repair not trying to somehow do away with the yelling. Think about how many times a day your kid(s) yell or cry in ONE day…
    Roar and cry, roar and cry.
    Then maybe some hugs and ice cream.

  27. Elisa Mikiten

    My sister-in-law calls this “Rhino Mom,” and she says her kids know when to run!

    I don’t see anything wrong with it.

    Probably the best we can do is offer our kids 5 seconds warning!

  28. Kari

    I so hear you! Exhaustion and the bills. Overwhelm and worry. That’s my experience too. The societal pressure to be calm, nice and happy moms all the time is enormously and unbearably unrealistic.

  29. Susan

    Ah, yes, the Mama Monster, I know her all too well. And there are times when I just can’t seem to rein her in until the roaring is done…and everyone has fled the room.
    BTW, I feel as if all I do is feed the family and clean up the kitchen, ugh!

  30. Barbara Schwartz

    This was absolutely YUM! So universal. So the mama part of me that still cringe about decades later. A great snapshot of the whole mothering thing! And those coffee beans will always and forever popup as a reminder!

  31. Manisha

    I only have the one child and I feel like roaring and crying A LOT. I don’t know how those of you with multiple children do it! Some times it’s more roaring then crying, then during some parts of the month (the PMS parts) there is just crying. It’s such a relief to read a post like this. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Stephani

    From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for being vulnerable…for all of us!

  33. arabella

    we all do it. all the time. Right now we are all jetlagged. I had fed my kids the same thing that for lunch that they had for breakfast (toast). The baby at hers off the floor. My house is a total and utter disaster. We move in 4 days. The TV is on non stop. I’m pretty sure this is how it’s going to be for the next week.

    I’m going to work on the idea that it won’t actually kill them. And it’s not likely to damage them for life.

    I’m probably going to lose my shit several times in the next week. I also want to cry right now. But….I’m over it. But…it will be ok. My kids know they are loved. And if I do I will apologize and we will make it up. Because that’s life. xo

  34. Rachel

    wow, thank you for the honesty! I am still praying for patience because it seems like this happens with my three year old son every morning. love the roaring and crying very appropriate description.

  35. Sarah

    Roaring and crying feel really good sometimes…

  36. Joy

    Well…two things. As I read I thought that sounds like fun, I think I have always wanted to do that *grin*. And I am learning to just jump in to whatever mess has been unexpectedly created and just enjoy it (because I was raised in a household where perfection was the standard and abuse was the discipline, so spilling coffee beans would have been *forbidden*).

    And, two…oh my…my children and I lived on a boat in a very quiet marina during their formative years (from 7-13) so we didn’t have a space to yell–we learned to talk out things that most people really wouldn’t (and that I probably hadn’t until then)…but I perfected the look that felt like yelling…the one that can freeze a person into that space until the smile comes back out…so I get it..absolutely. And I think the key is to acknowledge it happened, forgive self (because the kids move through it) and then keep enjoying each other. (Think the reminder is for me, thank you!)

  37. kate

    We are allowed to get angry, and tired, and stressed, and cry, and roar and forgive ourselves, and hold ourselves with compassion. Anyone who tells you any different is selling something. 🙂

  38. SarahWT

    I love this post. I needed this post! Thank you, Andrea. 🙂

  39. Chiqui

    It’s funny how I always, ALWAYS forget that I’m not alone in this! Oh, the guilt-shmilt! It’s only been two weeks into our summer staycation and already I can’t wait for school to start. And cue the ouch! as more mama guilt piles up as i hear myself say that. Bah!) Thank you, Andrea. For all these years that you have been with me through your heartfelt writing and your shining spirit all through out the beans and the pasta and the rain snow roaring farts and all!

  40. Kris

    I adore you.

  41. Kathleen aka "Chillybeans" Harrigan

    I just think you are an amazing person and I would so like to have a cup of coffee with you right now and roar and cry…

  42. Leslie

    Grandmothers are allowed to ROAR now and again too!! It’s not always fun and games when the kids come to visit…lol

  43. Jennifer

    Seeing this post this morning just after my Mama Monster did quite a bit of roaring and crying! Thank you for the smile and the reminder that I am not alone! 🙂

  44. Nikki

    Oh man.. the yelling! I had no idea I had the ability to yell so often or so loudly as I do sometimes with my kids. I’ve wondered why the people I love the most can bring out the worst in me at times, and I think it has something to do with the intimacy we share… we literally carried them in our bodies, fed them, cleaned their bodies, did pretty met every physical need they had thousands of times over. And when we break down, they’re there with us. Needing more. Or having a big meltdown themselves.

    My therapist talks about this idea of being the shelter and not the storm when your kid is out of control (I think of them as a ship in a choppy sea). It’s a good image for me, but sometimes I’m still the storm.

  45. Kelly

    Thank you! This & the comments remind me of the morning when I got so, so angry at some small struggle, that I kicked a hole in my daughter’s bedroom door. And then she went on to kindergarten and told that little anecdote to everyone. I remember the smug, nasty smiles of a couple of moms who informed me that they knew “what happened at your house this morning!”

    That was several years ago, but I felt so shamed by those moms — who had undoubtedly been there too. I hate that kind of hypocrisy! We’re all in this together. (And my daughter is now about to start middle school — I have a feeling more door-kicking may be in my future!) 🙂

  46. Nikki

    Yes, yes and yes. You’ve struck a nerve and a chord all at the same time. Brilliant.

  47. Lisa Towery

    I have two boys like you, but they are 18 & 21. As they get bigger the problem moments grow too. Lets just say I used the f-word a few times when my 17-year old son was barfing on a pile of clean clothes in his room at 2am! He rented a steam cleaner and had a learning moment the next morning! lol
    I miss the coffee bean moments! <3

  48. Sherry Richert Belul

    Amen, sista. I love the comment by Kelly, up above, “We’re all in this together.” There is so much to navigate just being a human being, but add to that everything that piles on us as moms … and wow, it makes me feel tons of compassion for all of us. And our kiddos, too. Love this post. Love who you are. xo

  49. Carolyn

    Right there with you sistas. My inner monster’s new thing is to snap ‘WHAT???’ when my name has just been said tooooo many times. It feels like hell, but it is instantaneous and like fire. Sometimes there is no room for “oops, let’s clean that up”. 😉

  50. Merlin

    Sometimes “popcorn for dinner” saves the day. This was a shared parenting tip from a Grandma. Really, it sounds outrageous, but try it just once.
    Thank you for sharing so much truth, for me, it is so often about the bills that cause such deep fear just lurking to jump out at the first opportunity of spilt milk(coffee beans!) They are our greatest teacher. We are all in this together, just trying to do our best.

  51. Holly

    My daughters are both teenagers now. Some of our biggest laughs are about some of my mama monster moments when they were younger. In retrospect, they do get funnier. Of course they don’t think it’s too funny now when she comes out, but someday… 🙂 Love this post. One we can all relate to!

  52. Amy

    Oh, you are not alone! I love that saying – “roar and cry.” I want to roar and cry, too. It’s been one of those difficult weeks; one of those weeks where my child has heard my roar and seen my tears. And, you’re exactly right, it isn’t usually about the beans (or, in my case this week, the Lincoln logs). It’s because we forgot to eat lunch, haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks, are forced to make the dreaded dinner (again!). For me, it’s usually about being a single mother in the trenches of toddlerhood without a break in sight. Thank you for posting this, especially right now.

  53. carol sloan

    Andrea, I think that every mom has (or will) done a lot of roaring and crying. Just wait until your son is, oh, about 20 and you roar and cry at him and he calmly walks to you and puts his arm around you and says “It’s okay mom. Everything is gonna be okay.” More tears and a smile cause you realize that he has just offered a manly dose of comfort to you. My son did this and it just made me cry more (but in a good way). He said he was trying to help not make it worse – made us laugh then. But it is true – things will be okay.

  54. Sage Cohen

    It’s never really about the beans. Such profound wisdom. Thank goodness those beans spill, though, so that roars and cries can move on through…Thank you for this!

  55. Kath

    I remember there is a little child inside every Mama and when life just gets too big and too hard and something small or big goes all wrong, that little child has a tantrum. And what is a monster really but a small-on-the-inside being having a tantrum?
    I hope you gots some hugs and back rubs and love words just like the ones you gave your son, when it was all over. It helps us remember how big we are on the inside.

  56. Jennifer

    I know the mama monster. She usually comes around when I am exhausted or just flat our of patience – when I am in need of kindness and help. Two nights ago, exhausted and frustrated, I tried really hard to drown her out (and drown out my guilt about her) in a Netflix show after I’d had it. I was almost ready to make things better with my 12 year old but not quite. Just as I was thinking about everything I’d tried to be for him (gentle, kind, generous) and teach him (don’t be too stubborn to say “I love you” when leaving a loved one for the day), and just as I was feeling like I had to find the strength to get up and offer more in spite of myself, he opened his bedroom door and said, “Mom. I need to tell you I’m sorry. I can’t go to bed with us like this.” That mama monster that I can be felt grateful and humble. Grateful to see that all of that effort to raise a loving person, in spite of my meltdown, had come back around and offered me the blessing of… a loving person. I was able to apologize too, and thank him, and tell him I was so proud. I love you for your honesty and wish you love and whatever else you need in your efforts as a mama. xo Jennifer

  57. Molly Q

    God, thank you for posting. I had a blowout this morning. You make me feel human by ways telling the truth. Hugs to you Andrea.

  58. Sheree

    I remember saying the very same about making dinner! Loved crock pots as much as I loved hiring a lawn service to cut the yard!

  59. Anne

    YESYESYES thank you for sayin’ it out loud!!!! And thereby helping us all feel real and understood in a super helpful way. I love this comment “BTW, I feel as if all I do is feed the family and clean up the kitchen, ugh!” and I love the point that it’s never really about the beans. For me, it’s been meaning I need a break from taking care of everyone else, and when I realise that I often feel guilty for not having made/stolen that time for myself…

  60. Susanne Lockhart

    Thank you Andrea and the other ladies’ comments. I am most inclined to roar at the end of the day when I am tired, patience worn a little thin and for some odd reason my two little girls get a second wind that doesn’t fill my sails. Am trying to breathe my way through a big transition for us- new job (me), new school (girls), selling our former house in another state and living with my parents until we get a new house. My husband is staying with the other house (and his work) until it sells. I did this bc of Mondo Beyondo dream of getting a more flexible job to have more time with my kids. From the comments we’re all in this zany life together! Xo

  61. Jennifer Ripa-Edson

    Thanks for this post, and for giving all of us moms permission to be human. We are not always superhuman, and sometimes our humanness is jagged and raw. I found my self screaming so loudly in my garage at the hose caddy the other morning, I’m sure my neighbors think I’m a lunatic. Or maybe, they have hose caddies too.

  62. Pamela

    I roar so loudly (and unfortunately, so often at times) that I wonder if I’m not a flippin’ reincarnated t-rex.
    Deep breaths and try again tomorrow. 🙂

  63. Francesca Di Leo

    i’m a roarer and a crier too!
    i think this is the best, most real blog post i’ve read in a long time… you hit it right on girl. xox

  64. Robin

    yes yes a million times yes! I am currently an unemployed mom of three who has never been a stay at home mom aside from maternity leaves, and without my husband for four months (Natl Guard) and DINNER AGAIN? AND EVERY OTHER MEAL and SNACK???? OMG!!!!!!! Mama roars………

  65. Cynthia

    OMG. I so needed this today. I would have never thought that I had a mama monster in me but I do! and I don’t like her! She just makes me want to cry and hide, maybe I will just have to cry and roar with my little one.
    Thank you for reminding me that its not just me that has “those” kind of moments. I will hold all of you mamas in my heart next time the monster tries to rear her ugly head:)

  66. Siobhan Wolf

    This, this is a keeper. How many times have I experienced this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  67. Cam

    Somebody above posted “we’re allowed to get angry”.

    So simple, yet hard to remember, and really quite revolutionary b/c moms and all women really are NOT allowed to become angry by many…!

    Yet, I think that is so key to helping me keep my anger from rolling into roars–allowing myself to get angry earlier, set the limit, and enforce it.

    Satre famously said that hell is other people, and boy oh boy, was he right on with that one.

    Sad, but oh so true somedays…

  68. Laurette Feit

    And it’s not just roaring at your toddlers, is it? I roared at my 19 year old daughter tonight when she wanted to bring back her posse of friends (some of them employees at my restaurant, mind you) after her cook-out got rained out! Sheesh! I just wanted to have a quiet night at home, and as I sit here at my computer posting this, my living room is filled with young adults having meaningful conversations about life and personal journeys as they saute halibut and drink beer. Amazing. Even at this stage in the game of motherhood, I am forever humbled by the vulnerability and joie de vivre of young people. Thank you.

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