It never fails to amaze me; the extent to which good mothers, great ones in fact, worry that they’re not. It’s not surprising to me that I find God pulling me to minister to mothers. We have been given the biggest responsibility; to raise up these little people to be great adults. But because we often feel like we’re lacking, or failing them in some ways it keeps us from seeing how truly great we are.
I remember telling a friend of mine, “Only good mothers worry about whether or not they are good mothers.” I think there are a whole host of reasons good moms feel like failures at times.
1. The Negative Highlight Reel
We can do twenty things right, but it’s that one wrong decision or action that haunts us to no end. We literally can’t remember those good things because the sound of our failures play on a never-ending loop in our heads. I truly believe that failure shouts and victory whispers. If we don’t train our minds to be quiet, we miss out on all the victories we should be celebrating. These are the very victories that would remind us in our darkest moments, that we ARE in fact good moms.
There was an incident a few months back where my son was really testing the limits of my patience. He was misbehaving and after a while my frustration level went through the roof. What goes up must come down. I dissolved into tears, feeling like a failure as a mom. Then my daughter quietly sat beside me and whispered, “Mommy do you want to pray?”
There it was, in the loud storm of failure came the sweetest, softest sound of victory. I taught my daughter to love the Lord. I had showed her there is no problem He can’t help us with. I gave her a faith to lean on when things are hard, when we’re in pain, and when we don’t know how we’ll get up and keep moving forward. I truthfully can’t remember my son’s tantrum anymore. But I remember that sweet voice, whispering my triumph as a mother. That was victory for me.
2. Good Moms Don’t Want To Be Good
Good moms think that simply being “good” is settling for something less than we can give. Good moms strive for greatness. This is why we often feel like we’re coming up short. There are moments we need to settle for, “I did my best.” Good moms truly struggle with that. We constantly feel our best is not good enough. Sometimes our actions and attitudes pale in comparison to our love for our kids. We can’t possibly show them enough, tell them enough or support them enough. But they know it Moms. They really do.
There is no way they have any doubt how much we love them. We’re the ones who forget. We think that because failure shouts loudly in our heads that others hear it too, especially our kids. But they don’t. They seek out our voice as the quiet whisper of victory, when they hear the deafening sound of failure in their minds.
3. Comparison is The Death of Joy
I feel a special sadness for moms of the internet generation. When you can google and chat and be connected and yet disconnected 24 hours a day, there is the temptation to compare ourselves in all aspects of our lives. Good moms have taken that temptation and turned it into the Mom Olympics. This is often how I think of Pinterest.
The internet can be a great tool to reach and inspire other moms, but when it comes without humility, when it comes without the stories of insecurity and failure, we start to believe half the picture and convince ourselves that there’s simply no way we can compete. Someone always appears to be doing it better than us. The only way to save our joy is to remind ourselves that even though we’re seeing and reading about someone’s good highlight reel, chances are, they are hearing their negative one. After all that’s what good moms struggle with most.
4. We Can’t Control All Outcomes
Kids get sick, they may be born with medical conditions, they may struggle with school or relationships. We think it’s our job to free our children from all burdens, but the reality is that we simply can’t. We can comfort. We can care. We can direct. But ultimately it’s not in our hands. Oh how I pray for Moms that don’t have the Lord, because they think they have to do His job. But it’s impossible.
We can’t control the outcomes. Hell, we can’t even control whether or not something will happen to us, leaving our kids alone in this world without our protection. Good moms sometimes beat ourselves up over this. We have to remind ourselves to give our control over to Him. He can be there when we can’t. He can heal what we cannot. It’s not our job to remove all the obstacles from their lives, but instead we must teach them to climb. That’s really the best thing moms can do.
Even though many moms may not believe in God, I have faith enough for you. It’s my prayer that you find peace within yourselves. It’s my prayer that one day victory will shout and failure will whisper.
It’s my prayer that you remember that being a good mother is not of the sum total of your actions and decisions. You’re a good mom because that’s what you desire most of all and you’ll never stop striving to make today a better day than yesterday for your kids, for as long as there is breath in your body.
Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found blogging at The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent Magazine when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her otherwise three adorable kiddos. This frugal, “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails.