Drew Barrymore Reveals She Sometimes Feels ‘Overwhelmed’ & ‘Like a Failure’ in Parenting — & Every Mom Can Relate

Feeling like you don’t know what to do as a parent might be common, but it’s hard to tell because no one talks about it. I will never forget tearfully telling a mom friend that I still didn’t know how to get my 3-month-old to sleep unless he was in my arms, and she told me “nobody else knows what they’re doing either.” It takes trial and error — and trying again — and flipping through parenting books and trying out TikTok hacks and asking everyone you know, until finally, finally, you get to know your baby. Then they go through a regression or hit a new milestone and its rinse and repeat. Even now, I’m still trying to figure it out — but I’m learning to not be embarrassed about it anymore. The tides are changing, and leading the wave is Drew Barrymore. She recently opened up about her deep feelings of being “overwhelmed” and feeling “like a failure” as a mom, and it’s so relatable.

It all started with a simple request for McDonald’s. When Barrymore’s daughter’s Olive, 10, and Frankie, 8, asked for fast food for dinner, it made Barrymore reflect on how they used to get it all the time.  

“The girls really wanted McDonalds the other night, and they hadn’t had it in a while. [Before] I was ordering it too often,” she recently said on the Chicks in the Office podcast. “All those parents, who have it all together, and they’ve got hygiene and nutrition and schedules and boundaries — God bless you!”

“I didn’t know any of that stuff when I had my kids,” The Drew Barrymore Show host, who shares her daughters with ex Will Kopelman, continued. “I did not have the blueprint, and I felt like a failure a lot. I felt really overwhelmed and like, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m gonna have to learn on the job.”


This is painfully relatable to me, and I appreciate Barrymore being so honest about something that is so hard to talk about. And I have a support system with a husband and parents who live nearby and friends, and I still struggled so much with not knowing what to do or how to best parents. I feel like all moms can admit they have felt that way at one point or another (or even all the time!) because raising kids is just so damn hard. I have been there with relying on McDonald’s or screens too much, and the guilt is just so overpowering.

“Where are the parents out there who are admitting that this is humorous, embarrassing, humbling, wild?” she asked her hosts, but I feel her question echoing into the void. Why. Don’t. We. Talk. About. This? Share our mutual mess-ups without judging? Help each other? Support each other? Why do we assume parents (and moms in particular) automatically know what to do when it comes to taking care of a baby, kid, or teenager? I’ve taken the classes, read the books, given birth, but this baby is a living, breathing — screaming! — thing, and suddenly, I’m caught completely off guard. And now my 5-year-old just slapped me, and my 3-year-old keeps waking up and screaming in the middle of the night, and I will admit it: I don’t know what I’m doing either!

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“I think that ‘you should know what do’ is something that makes me feel just terrible about myself,” Barrymore continued in the interview. “The ‘I want to figure it out’ I’m in — it’s empowering. I want to admit that I’m flawed, or I don’t know things, or I’m a work in progress.” Yes, girl!

She also admits that she had to “parent myself,” which is not how she plans on raising her kids. “That was much more survival and not what I would want for my kids. But I do want to figure out how to be more patient, more kind, more rational,” she continued, and don’t we all? “My reaction is something that’s really important to me. And whenever I f— that up, I can’t even tell you how mad I am at myself if I don’t react with patience and grace, I don’t like it. But it happens. I’m a human being, I fail here and there. But now I’m like, can I learn from that?”

Barrymore reflected, “Maybe it’s balance. Maybe they get to eat McDonald’s here and then they have something else another night of the week.” She went on to admit: “I was so unforgiving of myself when my kids were younger. And now they’re almost 9 and Olive’s 10. It’s shifted into something very different, and I’m having the best time ever. I have learned boundaries.”

What a beautiful testimony to the power of personal growth, humility, and love. Barrymore is every mom who doesn’t know what she’s doing, but she is willing to learn, working on forgiving herself, and doing the best she can. What else can you ask for? Get the McDonald’s and leave behind the guilt in 2023. We’re all doing great.

Even when you’re famous, Mom Guilt is a thing, as these celebrity moms show.

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