To the Mama Who Feels Like a Failure
Guest post by Laura Carnes
To the Mama Who Feels Like a Failure,
I guess I never felt like a failure growing up. My parents were amazingly supportive and encouraging. I made good grades and always felt school was pretty easy. (Well, there was that one quiz in Geometry, but let’s not talk about that). All went well, until I got married and had children. Great heavens, that was the beginning of what felt like a horrid down-hill spiral of FAILURE!
I forgot everything, never could remember where I put the diaper bag, much less if I put wipes and diapers in it. All those lovely stories about “knowing your child’s cry” and having this amazing “bond’ with your child just seemed to mock my inabilities even more. I remember many times looking down into the adorable albeit dirty faces of my beloved children and thinking “I have no clue what I am doing. I don’t think I understand a word they are saying or vice versa”. I finally came to the conclusion that motherhood definitely does NOT highlight my best skills AT ALL. Truth be told I realized that I FELT like a BIG FAT FAILURE!
I messed up altogether too often.
I yelled, actually yelled, at my kids. I can’t remember my Mama ever yelling at me and my sisters.
My house was never FULLY clean and my kids ate –brace yourselves- CANDY! We even ate cereal for supper sometimes. And heaven forbid, they get sick and need a prescription.Like I was going to remember the dosage for 10 straight days. Forget about it!
The horror of it all was starting to weigh on me. I was (and sometimes still am,) tired, overwhelmed, and yes, a bit emotionally unstable! At some point you finally have to admit what is going on in your home and face it.
And there it is- GUILT. Big, ugly, you aren’t good enough and never will be- guilt!
Then, I realized- I really can’t be a good mother on my own and furthermore I think God agrees with me!
Isn’t that the point? I have come to the conclusion that every circumstance and life situation God puts us in to further our dependence on Him and remind us of our deep abiding need to allow Him to be for us what we can not be on our own. (Click to tweet that!)
That includes Motherhood!
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall bring it to pass.”
There it is in plain black and white. I was trying my hardest to understand, and remember, and stay awake, and etc. etc.
God’s desire is for us to trust. Rest in Him and the ability only he can give.
John 3:3 “He must increase but I must decrease.”
Was I doing all this to be big in my kids eyes or to show them how BIG my God is?! (Click to tweet.)
Practically though, the Lord taught me a few lessons (and still is) about what to do when I fail my family:
1. It is not only okay to ask your children’s forgiveness when you mess up, it is actually GOOD for them to see you apologize and admit when you have failed. Be real with your kids, because honestly, they usually already know that you messed up. We tell them to be honest with us, then proceed to try and hide our own failings. They not only know, but tend to resent the inconsistency. Admit you were wrong and ask for forgiveness. Model the right way to handle your sin and be a good example of working through your mistakes. They need to learn that from someone that loves them.
2. It is not wrong to ask for help. I repeat, it is not wrong to ask for help. I have found that when I really communicate my needs to my husband, he makes a concerted effort to step up to the plate. He often just doesn’t realize that I need help or if he does, is not sure what specifically I need. Men appreciate specifics! Well, mine does and I am sure I am not alone. Which brings me to:
3. YOU are not the first mama to feel this way! You are not alone. I am sure that not all Mamas feel this way…well, at least not everyday. And neither will you! It is just that – a feeling! My parents were constantly reminding us that “Feelings should not determine actions.” (Tweet) Just because you feel like a failure doesn’t mean you are. Take a step back, a deep breath and then keep moving forward.
I recently have taken up running as exercise and- well let’s just admit it- time for my sanity. The principle of endurance has been reinforced everyday in my sweat and tears. The only way to reach your goal is to keep moving even when you want to quit. The only true failure is quitting. (Tweet) If you are still trying, and learning, and growing, and making mistakes, and doing better the next time, then you are not a failure, my friend. You are a human!
Parenting may not highlight my best features, but it certainly reveals what needs my focus- dependence on the GOD who is the GREAT I AM when I am nothing.
Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!”
Isn’t that good to know? Because right now I need to go. My kids are calling!
A mama who's been there
P.S. Don’t wish the years away! The days are long, but the years are short.
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