10 Truths You Need to Hear When You Feel Like a Failure as a Mom 3

10 Truths You Need to Hear When You Feel Like a Failure as a Mom

Honest Question: Do you ever feel like a failure as a Mom – Or what we call that “Mom Guilt” feeling, day in and day out. A few days ago I had one of *those* days. The baby wasn’t sleeping well and had been up half the night, I didn’t get to shower, the house was still a complete disaster from the busy week prior, and I was feeling extra sorry for myself because it was a Saturday and my husband was headed out to work for an extra long day of work.

I figured it was inevitable. The grouchiness, that is. I made a feeble effort to be kind but it was pretty well just a big ol’ snowball effect of slightly sharp tones, impatiently barked commands, cold cups of coffee, and way too many expectations. By the end of the day, I was nearly in tears. I was mad at my kids and mad at myself. The worst thing of all was the disconnect I felt from them as their little hearts and mine clashed and throbbed all day long.

I posted a status on my personal Facebook account about achieving an “F-minus” in motherhood. Sweet encouragement and words of truth began popping in on my status and in my inbox from mamas who’ve been there and totally get it. As wisdom and truth began to permeate my heart I could feel my lungs constricting slowly, my shoulders relaxing a tiny bit.

When you feel like a failure as a Mom, use these •Mom• truths to help you get your confidence back:

1. Our failures, weaknesses, and sins are not who we are.

So stop your inner talk when you feel like a failure as a Mom. You are an amazing Mom who sometimes has rough spots. Tomorrow will likely be better. Have you ever done the following as a Mom:

  • Sometimes I hide in the bathroom
  • And there are times I long for a free night with my husband or a quiet evening alone at home
  • Think to myself: sometimes it’s…just…hard. Physically. Mentally. And emotionally.
  • And when it comes to those menial tasks, it becomes monotonous and mundane. Boring.
  • Long for a full night’s sleep or a long hot bath instead of being the taxi driver, washing and folding the laundry that never seems to be caught up, or it may just be that you’re tired of the same old, same old thing.

REMINDER: You are not alone because all Moms feel this way and it IS ok because you are a great Mom!

2. It is easier to believe the lies when you are tired and stressed.

Don’t let your sleep-deprived or stressed-out brain trick you into believing the junk being thrown your way. Stop it in its tracks, and your mood will likely improve. For example, I’ve had some crazy moments happen when I’m just simply out with my kids, such as:

  • When someone sees me red-faced, struggling along with my brood, tired, back aching, trying to keep everyone safe as we navigate the massive and crowded pool parking lot, and they comment “you sure have your hands full” or “glad it’s you, not me”, I’m sorely tempted to agree with their assessment of the situation. BUT, I don’t agree with them, in fact, it makes me realize and affirm the beauty and sheer privilege that it is to know and raise up these precious little ones.
  • When someone says, “Are they all yours?”, do you smile and say, “Yes, I am so blessed” and really mean it? When a full-time career woman with no children wonders aloud how you can handle being home with your young children all day, are you quick to tell her that you can’t imagine doing anything more fulfilling and that you love spending your days with your kids? Perhaps we need to tell our selves that we love being a mom (I do this in the mirror or when I’m scrolling through last weekend’s pictures on my phone) and we no longer believe or feel like a failure as a Mom.

REMINDER: Just nod your head at the negative people in the world because you are truly blessed (and they know it and you definitely know it).

3. It is the sum of days not just today that shape your kids.

Everybody has an off day now and then but it is the whole sum of a childhood that makes a kid who they are – not one bad day.

We all know that bad days happen, but make them fewer and farther between. Let your challenges serve as lessons, making you a woman of strength, kindness, loyalty, and patience.

Practice mothering with a purpose.

Whether you’ve been a mom for two months or two decades, you know the feeling of things piling up and spiraling out of control. You know the look you give yourself in the mirror, wishing you could wish, feeling like a failure, knowing something’s not right.

When you’re tempted to think you’re a failure, I want you to remember: YOU ARE NOT.

REMINDER: Have confidence in yourself.

4. The fact that you even care means that you can make a plan for improvement.

Instead of having a pity party, use your negative feelings to inspire a better plan for next time.

It isn’t selfish to focus on the things that keep you fueled, excited, motivated. Figure out a schedule that allows you to do one tiring task a day so that it’s not all at once or get together with your spouse and divide duties with him in a way that allows both of you to be motivated and energized.

REMINDER: Investing in yourself will help you feel better, be more patient, and loving to your family.

5. Your failures are a chance to model godly repentance.

Heaven knows your kids need to learn repentance too, right? Ahem.

Learning from your mistakes and doing it better the next time around will not only give you confidence but a chance for your kids to see that you are a strong and humble person. They will too know how to accept their behavior and confidently learn from their mistakes.

REMINDER: Your children will emulate what you do so with knowing that there is no such thing as perfect – and learning from those moments, will be everything your family needs, including you.

6. The Lord is full of grace and he is glorified by you admitting your failures

…and turning to him.“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God. You will not despise.”

Perfectionism is NOT a virtue. Often, we strive to be ‘perfect’ or do things ‘perfectly’, but that perfection doesn’t serve the people we love. Tear down the idol of the doing things perfectly and discover more time for the things—and the people—you love.

REMINDER: It’s ok to fail. No one is perfect.

7. We often fail when trying to do something we are not good at or gifted in.

Do as Paul instructs in Romans to “not think of yourself more highly than you ought”, and take stock of your gifts and personality in order to shape your mothering style. Don’t hop on board the “ought to” bandwagon – it’s plenty crowded already.

For example, I’m not the BEST at cleaning our home so I decided to incorporate the whole family to help out. I did this because I’m good at creating team work around the things we do and so I thought, why not let the whole family get involved. I make sure each family member is doing the task that they are best at and it works every time. We might even get ice cream afterward. haha

REMINDER: You don’t have to be great at everything and continue to feel like a failure as a Mom. Ask for help from your family and make it fun.

8. Your hard is hard.

Don’t berate yourself for “not handling things well” or for feeling overwhelmed. Realize that this season of mothering little ones is difficult whether you have an only child or a mini-van full, and don’t compare your hard to someone else’s. The moment you stop comparing will be the moment you stop feeling like a failure as a Mom

Motherhood is sacrificial: we give up ourselves, our dreams, and our goals. This can be good for a time, but not long-term.

REMINDER: Every Mom has their own battles and hard moments! Don’t let yourself feel alone on this journey. The hard moments will pass.

9. Those visions in your head of everyone else’s house being cleaner than yours? Not true.

Maybe some are cleaner, but certainly not everyone’s. Ahem, *cough, cough* not mine!

It’s ok to clean less or pick up the backyard when you’re in the mood. Let your house be a home. I love it when my parents stop by and say “I remember those days when the toys were sprawled out in the living room and their socks were dangling from the stairwell.” This makes me smile because it reminds me that time goes by fast and I need to not worry so much about keeping up with this fictitional vision that everyone else has a cleaner home than mine – I simply say, who cares. Let’s live and not feel like a failure as a Mom.

REMINDER: L-i-v-e in your house and make sure it’s a home. These are the best kind of homes to be raised in.

10. It’s ok to go to bed super early.

Sometimes it’s best to just bid the day farewell and pull the covers up. Sometimes your best strategy is to get some extra rest and try again tomorrow.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

REMINDER: Sleep is necessary for all Moms! Don’t overdo it and then feel like a failure as a Mom (because you are not, even on your worse day).

Ps. We found the perfect gifts or products for Moms everywhere, all the time, every day! Happy Retail Therapy.

Do you ever feel like a failure as a mom?

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  1. Sometimes the right message comes along on the right day and this was it for me. sometimes it feels as though ‘society’ is full of messages about how you can and should be better.. a better mom, better looking, better home, better, better better. sometimes I just remind myself that comparison with others is a sure and fast way to have the joy sucked out of my life. So here’s to being content and mindful of this beautiful day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. 🙂

      1. I know this post is old but I needed it today. I am a single mother of 3 beautiful children: 18, 12 and 2 years old. My older two have a shared parenting arrangement and go to their fathers every other week. All have different fathers so it’s more than just one other parent and their household that I have to deal with. I often feel like I’m a failure because it’s during my week that homework isn’t always done or that they have their emotional breakdowns. I also am not the greatest as keeping my house cleaned and am not great at creating teamwork either so chores and house cleaning are a constant struggle in my house. And to then get attitude and passive aggressive comments back from their fathers just adds to that feeling of being the worst mother in the world. It’s hard to remind myself that my kids have their breakdowns at my house because they know that I am more understanding and that they are comfortable to be vulnerable with me and know that I still love them. My kids feel comfortable to be themselves and talk to me. I am a good listener and that is an asset that not all parents possess.

  2. So lovely! I think these pearls of wisdom can apply to many things in life besides parenting, as well. And I LOVE that Emerson quote! Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I just had a really rough weekend where my children were out of control….I really needed this!!!

  3. There could not have been a more perfectly timed post. I had an “I suck” meltdown just last night. As both a mother of two and a step-mother to three more, I often feel the sting of failure. I just have to remember that I have the best weapon in the world against the feelings that are trying to claw me down – my God! I think we moms too often forget that we aren’t expected to carry everything all by ourselves. He WANTS us to hand it over. Thank you for your encouraging post that helps remind me of just that.

    1. My experience as single Mom still affect life my kid think I never had time but they never wanted time with me so I raised others kids pit my life on hold waiting for them to need me that lie they are both selfish and never learned life is short
      Mom will not be here then.


      1. Dearest Becky,

        My heart goes out to you.

        I have a similiar situation with my own two children.

        All I can say is that the other kids you have helped raise will be all the better for your care, and that you, the Lord God and I know that you have done your best.

        I wish you grace and peace as you move forward with your life in the knowledge that you have done your best and that this is good enough in the eyes of the Lord. I pray for your children to appreciate you one day, but hard as it sounds, I pray for you to move forward with your life in the knowledge that you did your best, because that is the path I am walking too. You are not alone.

  4. God gives children to imperfect parents. He knew you wouldn’t be perfect at it, and that we would need Him. When we are weak, He is strong. Offer it all up to Him, good and bad, He is greater than our mistakes and greater than our sin. We should never underestimate His ability to bring something good out of a seemingly not so good situation.

  5. REALLY great thoughts…thanks for posting this! Good reminders…I should print this list and keep it for those days. Thanks for sharing, Beth!

  6. Yes! Thank you so much… I think I need to print this and put it on my fridge. 🙂 So often I beat myself up on those hard days, and think I’m the worst mom ever. It’s so good to know I’m not the only one who does that, and to have some practical truths to remember. I’m sharing this with my (in)couraging working moms group, because I know some of them need to hear it too!

  7. Thanks for this post, I stumbled on it somewhere on my surfing this morning. I just last night had a meltdown telling my husband what a failure I feel like..only after I picked a fight with him!

  8. Thank you so much for the courage to write something I think we all feel slightly embarrassed by. The feeling of failure stinks, but when it’s put into perspective, like you said, we are able to look at the big picture and ask God for more grace tomorrow. Again, thank you for the encouragement!

  9. had so many of those days and it took God breaking me and driving me to my knees. I realized there was nothing I could do to improve upon myself and so I finally gave up all the struggles. As a result He broke me down even further and then remade me. It was all Him. I just recently wrote about it on my blog.

  10. Wow….this was so timely! I had one of those ‘bad days’ yesterday. I’ve felt a bit as though I’ve ruined our children, and our relationship is irreparable- Truly just lies that I was choosing to believe. And that was so insightful about choosing to make a plan to change things. I think I set myself up for being constantly critical with my children. Instead I need to create more situations where we are just exploring, creating, or having fun. Then the kiddos can hear me being happy and encouraging, instead of always critical (don’t touch that, stop spilling this, don’t hit your sister…..). Then it feels like my voice is simply negative background noise. I’ve also realized that sometimes I don’t nip a bad behavior in the butt before it blows up. I need to be firm with enforcing our rules right away, rather than letting it go on and on until I suddenly snap. So need God’s help for today! I guess that’s a great place to be 🙂

  11. I love this!! I just had my 5th baby 3 weeks ago, and my oldest is 5. Even though my baby is only 3 weeks old, I still feel guilty for not doing more school work with my older kids, letting them watch more videos than normal, and just letting them play outside instead of being more structured. It’s so silly. I especially love your point that our hard is hard. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Oh mama – you are amazing. 5 babies? You are blessed indeed (and probably kinda tired, lol). Please, please let go of the guilt. Your first priority is just love those kiddos and keep ’em warm and fed and clothed. Everything else is gravy. Keep on, mama, you are doing great!

      1. Thanks for this beautiful encouragement! I feel like such a failure tonight. My first baby, 9 weeks old and today I couldn’t get him to stop crying or even take a bottle. I started thinking that I shouldn’t have a baby… but then I look at him and he smiles at me and my heart melts.
        Thank you for reminding us momma’s that we’re not perfect and that’s ok! That this little baby still loves us.

  12. Thank you! I fell asleep last night after one of “those”days, trying not to berate myself yet failing at that too and just asking the Lord to speak truth and encouragement to me tomorrow, that is, today! And here is some, thank you!

  13. Wow, how I wish I had this 20some years ago when my son was little. I have always said God only gave me one child because he didn’t want to risk my screwing up another one. Truth is that I honestly believe that. Maybe if someone had told me these things so much would have been different.

    Thank you for this now. I will pass it on to those who need it now. May be it isn’t too late for some of it to soak into me too.

  14. Love these! I should probably print this out and put it on my fridge :). Numbers 3, 5, 8, and 10 are my favs. Not comparing your lot to someone else’s is probably the cure to a whole host of problems…

  15. Yesterday must have just been one of those days for a lot of mothers. I am a mother to two and watch my niece most days and am expecting our third. I don’t know what was so particularly hard about the day, but I fell asleep with tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart that I am just not cut out for this job. #8 really spoke to me. Today was a new day thought. Thank you for this post! God bless!

    1. Oh man, I empathize with the rough days while pregnant. Being pregnant with our third, near the end, was one of the roughest spots of my entire mothering career. The good news is that it gets better… you won’t be pregnant forever… and you really are the best mama (and auntie) for those kiddos! (I watch my niece too 🙂 )

  16. Thank you. Breathing deeper and calmer already. Also after one of those days yesterday my daughter (as I was reading your post) handed me a heart with. Mum is the best mum in he world. On it. They definitely don’t see us as we think they do.

  17. In anticipation of some bad days – I have a few note cards with inspiring thoughts….two that help me a lot: “the days are long…but the years are short.” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Another thought as I read this, I have kids ranging from 8-15. The baby and toddler years were tough – especially due to sleep deprivation – but the school aged years are a different tough – dealing with social issues, etc. I just have to focus on the good and not dwell on the bad days or mistakes. Thanks.

  18. This post is so important for moms to read. I had almost a year of feeling like a terrible mom. With my oldest son on a prodigal journey and one of my daughters struggling as she entered puberty, my world was severely rocked. I needed the words you wrote today. The point about our failures not being who we are is especially significant. My husband and I examined every area of life including our parenting styles, where we lived, some of our theology, and our own unbiblical responses to life. All of that was good and needed to happen! But at the end of the day, we are all still children of God, in need of a Savior, forgiven because of His blood shed for us. All of us have “those” days, and some of us have to walk through a season of such day. Your post offers wisdom for either situation.

  19. #3!!! I’ve had a similar week- sharp with the kids & DH, finally completely lost it the other night…”do not discipline in anger” can be very hard! Less than 12 hours later, my sweet daughter completed a DrawQuest (draw your superhero) with a drawing of me…as SuperMom. To say I cried would be a drastic understatement.

    Thank you for posting this.

  20. Thank you so much for this post! I believe we’ve all had one of those days with our children. We’re just not often brave enough to talk about it and share with other moms in case we are judged. Thanks for sharing.

  21. This past Sunday I had one of these ‘F-minus mornings’. I am always the first up in my house on Sunday, which annoys me but shouldn’t! My husband’s work schedule is 6 days a week so Sunday is his only day to sleep past 6am. So while I am up getting myself ready, brewing coffee, making a quick breakfast, laying our 3yo clothes out, the 2 men of my house are asleep. We had 13 minutes to get out of the house on time for church and my precious little boy objected to every piece of clothing in his dresser and closet, ugh! He only wanted to wear his jammies to church. After trying to coerce him gently, bribe, threaten to take away things, nothing worked. Now sufficiently late, I lost it. I definitely needed church once we got out of the house. But I am so thankful that’s where we were headed. I hugged my son extra tight and kissed his face, and told him I was sorry for yelling as I dropped him off to Sunday school. Throughout the worship service I sobbed. I asked God to forgive me for falling short as a mother, and prayed I be filled patience. I never want my son to feel belittled. Our children are so precious, innocent and pure in their young ages and I want my son to revel in this time of his life as it will not always be this way. I am so thankful that my son was very happy to see me when I picked him up from Sunday school. As if my terrible morning never happened. And I am so thankful that it was just that a terrible morning, not day!

  22. Friday, I thought to myself, “This has just been a bad mom day.” But then another thought followed: “Hold up. Are you a bad mom? No. You love your son. What did you do for Noah today? You fed him healthy meals, hugged him and told him you loved him multiple times, and read him stories when he was upset. Sure, you spent too much time online and didn’t interact with him as much as usual–but you weren’t a BAD mom. You were a DISTRACTED mom, which is NOT the same thing. It’s okay to forgive yourself and do better next time.”

    As mothers, I think we are so quick to label ourselves as “bad” or “F-” when we aren’t perfect. But having an “off” day does not equal “bad.” Thank you for this essay!

    1. My daughter is 24 and told me I did not do well and was not a good mom. It hurts. Because I loved my daughter and was always there for her, when she was a teenager yshe was talking back and disrespecting* me or ignoring me and I reacted in anger yelling or raising my voice and twice said things like “are you stupid “that you did not hear me. Which I immediately felt remorse for, I did not mean any of it. I immediately said I was sorry every time but she has held on to it. She still thinks I was a baD mom overall because of these instances. Even though between them I supported encouraged and loved her. It hurts so bad, I bring it up to her trying to get a kind word of desperately wanting her to say yes you were a good mom who made some mistakes, but I got, no you weren’t overall. She doesn’t see them as mistakes that I was and n sorry for, she just sees me as a bad mom. She blames me for everything. She even went to therapy and I am sure it was all put on me. I have done everything to be a better mom but I feel she will only remember those bad times and not all the good I did. In fact I know that’s how it is cause that’s wha5 she’s said. Her dad and I have not had a good marriage, he has done things to me that were horrible and I know the stress of that along with her attitude caused these conflicts, I just know she thinks it was all bad and it wasn’t. I don’t think she cares to remember the good, she only wants to see me as an overall bad mom.

  23. One word: FABULOUS!!!
    I think we all need to read this from time to time, whether we are new, young mothers with little ones or whether we are seasoned mothers struggling with teenagers. Thank you for the words of encouragement!

  24. Thanks you for this… I bookmarked this, knowing I would have days when I needed it again. Today is one of those days. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  25. I thank God that I ran into this site looking for homemade carpet freshners! This article was a blessing of encouragement that I surely needed! I have been really stressed lately because it seems that I am having difficulty doing anything right… I really needed to read those words!

  26. We’re so hard on ourselves! I was thinking today about all the opportunities I have missed out with my daughter, because I was struggling with a situation this past year. But then I took her to the movies last night, and she couldn’t stop dancing around, and wanted nothing more than for me to join in…so I did! She is so joyful, so in the moment, so observant of everything around her, and so confident. She has a disability, but she has never been told “you can’t.” Right now, she wants to be a scholar, a sailor, and a hair dresser! I have realized that, in spite of my mess ups, I have done something right. 🙂


  27. Thank you so much for sharing your heart! I needed encouragement today and stumbled across this. I cried at work today when just venting to my co-worker about some of my mom frustrations about struggles im having with my 4yr old . I felt like a total failure as a mom and so frustrated & emotionally spent. I get it. But one thing is for certain, these struggles being me closer to God and continually teaches me to keep leaning & trusting in God’s help & praying for wisdom.

  28. I’m always late to everything. Sometimes my child even cries. I feel like a complete failure as a person and a parent . I disappointed my child by just , by five minutes missed the Wedding ceremonies by of a close friend’s wedding, the first wedding that my daughter was attending. Let’s ke when a okay begins, we could hear part about f it but the venue manager wouldn’t let us inside. I can’t redo it, make it up, fix it, we missed it. I f’ed up, and I can’t go back ti make it better. I cannot fix this.

  29. I desperately needed this today. My 8 week old daughter has had such a rough time lately. We just left the hospital after an ER visit resulted in a two night stay and a diagnosis of dysphasia and reflux. We have to give up rice cereal, cut back 1 oz formula, eat every 3 hours and use this formula thickener. I’m exhausted from the hospital stay. I’m terrified for my daughter because the formula isn’t mixing up the same at home because in the hospital she had premixed and here it’s powder. They said it wouldn’t make a difference but it has. And I’m nervous about this thickener because of some online posts about it. She’s been extra fussy and crying and I’m constantly scared she’s having an adverse reaction to the thickener and I’m mixing it wrong. I love her dearly but I resent her a little because I am SO scared for her all the time. Then I look at her darling face and I think I’m the most pathetic crap of a mother.

  30. The Lord is full of grace indeed!

    Crying myself to sleep when i came across this post.

    Thank you for the reminder of how great God is and that with him we are great mothers

    Thank you for the renewed strength your words have brought to my life.

    I cried harder after noting the poets name, as it is my sons name, and in that moment i knew this post was sent by god to me through you.

    your voice is so special… you never know who you just saved with your words

    Thank you 🙂

  31. Thank you to every mother who posted comments on here…. I came across this page as I had an “I’m such a useless mum” moment this morning when getting my 8 yr old ready for school… My 11 yr old had already gotten himself ready but the 8 yr old was taking her time.. looking for her uniform.. I had to tell her to brush her teeth ten times… She still hadn’t got her shoes on and her hair hadn’t been brushed and it was 8.45 and school starts at 8.50.. I kept yelling and slamming the baby safety gates as I went to the kitchen to get lunches ready… And then I just felt such relief as soon as my daughter walked out the door.. which made me feel guilty! But man thank God for this post! The words of encouragement from the writer and all the mum’s who commented were an absolute lifesaver!

  32. This morning was so hard. My sweet friend sent your wonderful reminders to me and thus was exactly what I needed to hear. This message was spot on. Thank you for helping me to remember that I am not a failure as a mommy just because I have a hard day. We all have tough days and its important not to let those feelings of failure take over. Thank you!!!

  33. Such a comforting read! Going through a new rough patch in life. Dealing with 18y/o falling in love with a good boy, but long distace and he’s becoming more important to her than us. Bittersweet tears. 16 y/o son doubting God and testing us. 12 y/o going through puberty, changing into young man, no longer little. So much of my frustration and time is given to the older two that I feel like I’m neglecting my 3 daughters under age 8. I can’t seem to juggle everyone’s needs, and seem to carry over the frustrations. It feels like I’m forgetting how to be a mom. I feel so old at 37. I seem so insignificant, my advice gets trampled, I have so much to say to them, but it’s as though no one is listening. I feel like I’m just patching holes instead of rowing somewhere. I think I lost control and dont know how to get it back. On top of that I’m not an openly affectionate person and that’s what I think my children need. I’m a mess.

  34. I spent 20 minutes crying after reading this article. It’s what I needed to hear after trying my hardest and being criticised constantly for not being a better, perfect mother, worker, daughter or friend. It fills my heart to know I’m not alone in this struggle and other women understand the pain and isolation and that we are all just out here trying to do our best. My love goes out to you all… And I thank god that that this article made it to me.

  35. I feel like the worst parent ever. my husband pointed out that I’m creating some type of co dependency relationship with my 4 year old and like I’m going to raise a co dependent adult. I feel so terrible. I have bad anger issues that I’ve never resolved. I should’ve stuck with one child but now I have 2, my 2nd is about to turn 2 and I still havent adjusted and I’m so unhappy and even worse I feel terrible for my sons. I suck at being a human even. they did nothing to deserve this, I’m just a shit bag 🙁

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