I totally suck at this mom stuff! Well, that’s what I used to think about my (lack of) parenting skills.
I made a LOT of mistakes! As I got older and wiser (and started getting my act together), I began looking back thinking “Oh Man! I’m such a failure! These kids are going to be so jacked up as adults!”
The truth is that every single mother out there struggles with the notion that she is a failure as a mom.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.
I Felt Like a Total Failure as a Mom
I had both of my kids while still serving in the military and I was a single parent for the majority of that time. While I thoroughly enjoyed living in another country, being a single parent in the military overseas isn’t the ideal scenario for raising kids!
I worked very long hours which meant my son spent most of his time with a home care provider on base. Even when I was home, I wasn’t really present with him. As he got older, I became obsessed with proving myself at work. See, I worked in a male-dominated field in the military and couldn’t be seen as having “kid” issues because that could impede my ability to get promoted. And the truth was that this job paid the bills for me and my kids so I had to give it everything – even if it meant short-changing my kids.
And my kids got the short end of the stick quite often!
- I missed school luncheons and other events because I had to work.
- My son couldn’t participate in sports because I had to work.
- I chose to work late or on weekends to get brownie points with my supervisor.
- I couldn’t volunteer at my kids’ school because I had to work.
I did what I felt I had to do at that time in my life. I honestly didn’t feel like I had any choice! But as I got older, I began looking back and feeling like a total failure as a mom. I mean, moms are supposed to be the best, right?
Aside from work interfering with being able to be more involved, my personal life was often pretty jacked up as well. I thought for sure that my kids were destined for failure!
Ways that Moms Feel Like They Are a Complete Mom Fail
I think mothers are the biggest group of supposed “failures” out there. Seriously! There are so many things that we struggle with when it comes to giving our kids the very best.
- Did I hug them enough?
- Did I tell them I loved them enough?
- Did I teach them good manners? To be kind?
- Did I set them up for college success?
- Was I there enough (especially for working moms)
- Did I teach them healthy eating habits or will they follow my own unhealthy junk food habits?
- How will the divorce impact my kids down the road?
- How will my anxiety and depression impact my kids?
- Was I a hypocrite (telling them one thing but doing the opposite)/
- Did my many boyfriends teach them the wrong thing about relationships?
- Do I reflect the God that I keep telling them about?
Seriously! I could keep going but you get the point! Yeah, Dads are great but at the end of the day, Moms are the ones that more often bear the brunt of “raising” kids because we are the ones with them for more hours of the day.
The Truth About Failing as a Mom
The truth is that all moms, at one time or another, feeling like they are failing at some part of being a good mom. It really is a sisterhood! It took me a long time to realize this and come to terms with my own struggles in this department.
But I’ve learned 5 very important truths that keep me grounded and see that this is simply a normal part of the journey of motherhood.
- There are no perfect mothers.
- Kids are resilient.
- Filter parenting advice
- The enemy is a master at this game.
- It is about God’s plan, not mine.
Truth #1:There Are No Perfect Mothers!!
I’m much older now and see the world with a different filter than I did before. I used to compare myself (as a parent) to all the other moms that I knew based on what I “thought” about their ability to be a good mom.
As I let down my guard and made a point to get to know some of these women, I realized they, too, struggled with the fear of failing as a mom. The truth is that we are all just trying to do the best we can with the knowledge we have at the time.
Some women had great motherly role models growing up. Others (like myself) did not. Either way, we do the best we can.
And those women out there who appear to have it all together – who seem to be the “perfect mom” are simply hiding their struggles. Granted, some women are better at certain things than others, but those same women feel like a failure in another area. The mom who rocks in the creative department may really struggle with social anxiety (making friends with other moms).
Truth #2: Kids are Resilient
No matter how much we think we’ve totally screwed up our kids, the truth is that they are highly resilient. Kids can bounce back from the crappiest of situations.
When I start thinking of the many mistakes I made and begin worrying about how it will impact my children’s future – I stop and remember my own childhood. Sexual abuse, divorce, alcoholism – and absolutely no one modeling good behavior or preparing me for college or my future. But it seems I turned out quite ok!
The truth is that we can do our best with what we have or know at the time and let God handle the rest.
Truth #3: Filter the Parenting Advice
Do what is right for YOUR family!
As we make you make your way through the Mom-Journey, you are going to be given TONS of parenting advice. Seriously! TONS! Take it with a grain of salt. What works for one family doesn’t work for another.
In my situation, I raised latchkey kids. In a time when helicopter moms are everywhere, I’m over here leaving my son at home alone to get ready for school by himself at the age of 10!
Yes, I struggled with the “I should be there to help him” and “all the other moms get up and pack a nice lunch and walk their kids to the bus stop” thoughts. As he got older (and the same with my daughter), I realized that “our way” actually better prepared him for being an adult and learning how to be responsible. They don’t even look at it as me not being there. My thoughts were really about me and my feelings and really had no negative impact on their growth!
Whatever your situation, don’t let what other moms are doing with their kids make you feel any less for how you are doing with yours!
Truth #4: The Enemy Loves This Game
Making moms feel inadequate, making them feel like a complete failure at being a mom – this is one of the best tools the enemy has to defeat us! Seriously! He knows that being a good mother is something ALL moms worry about so he is easily able to use that to his advantage.
I used to be super-sensitive to insults on my parenting abilities. Like, I was always on the defense even when no one was really attacking me! I was so focused on appearing the be the perfect mom that I wasn’t actually doing any real “parenting.” This took root in my deepest thoughts about my worth – not just as a mom but as a woman and human being. I always felt like a failure and sought ways to fill that void (none of which were healthy).
The devil wants us to question our value and worth because then we’ll seek him and his ways to sustain us. And we definitely won’t be seeking God – or teaching our kids to seek God.
These days, when I suddenly feel the urge to doubt myself when it comes to my kids or have thoughts such as “you are a bad mom because….” I simply say “Not today satan!” and go on about my day.
When you know where these negative thoughts are originating from (the enemy), you can more easily dismiss them.
Truth #5: God is In Charge – Not You
Here is one truth that you need to take to heart:
No matter how hard YOU try to get it all right, God is ultimately the one in charge. He is going to meet you right where you are Mama! And just when you feel like you are the worst mom ever, He will lift you up. He will turn every bad decision into something amazing for you and your children. I can say this part with complete certainty because He did it for me and mine!
He knows you are doing the best that you can at this point in your life. Trust him and release your children over to Him!
All Moms Struggle with the Idea of Failing Their Kids!!
Believe it or not, ALL mothers struggle with the idea that somehow they’ve failed as a mom and their kids are either going to resent them or are going to need life-long therapy as an adult! This isn’t some exclusive club reserved for an elite few. We are all card-carrying members of the Hot Mess Mama Club!
The key to getting through this journey called motherhood is to find your tribe. It truly does take a village to raise a child and you need to find yours. This was always my biggest struggle because I always felt like I couldn’t share these deep dark secrets for fear of other moms condemning me. Once I did reach out, I found that all those other moms that I was once so intimidated by were just like me. Sure, they each had their own personal “mom insecurity” but at the end of the day, it all came back to the fear of failure as a mom.
I pray that you find comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone in this hectic journey. Motherhood is a blessing and is to be enjoyed. And no matter how much you think you’ve screwed it up, your kids are going to be just fine!
In what areas do you feel like a failure as a mom?