There are so many reasons why I suck at being a mom. Maybe you can relate to some of these. Are you in the group thinking, “I’m so glad she said these out loud. I am not alone”? Others might read this and simply say, “Wow! She really does suck at being a mom.” Whatever the case, I’m glad you are here. I have always wanted Meaningful Mama to be a place where I am real because I do know I’m not alone, and I don’t want other moms and parents to feel isolated on their journey through parenting.
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As I was choosing pictures for this post, I couldn’t even find one of me sucking as a mom. I tried. We don’t take those pictures. We certainly don’t post those pictures on our social media sites even if they do exist.
As a result, there is often dissatisfaction in life by comparing ourselves to others. The problem is we are often comparing our worst moments with everyone’s best – their highlights.
I’ve mentioned some of the reasons I wanted to write this post, but I’ll share with you the final catalyst to make me put words to a post that has been on my heart for a while. I’m leading a Bible study called, “Seeking Him – Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival,” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom. Lesson three is about honesty and the importance of living in the light.
Giving you the impression that I have it all together is a disservice to both of us.
I’ve always been candid with you. I’ve showed my struggles in “I Have Everything I Ever Wanted. Why am I so Unhappy.” I’ve had light hearted admissions in my “Confessions of a Meaningful Mama.” I have personally vowed to be authentic. However, I think that the impressions bloggers can give off is that we share parenting tips, life tips, crafts and activities because we have have it all together. For me, that’s not the case.
I write my blog because this parenting thing can be hard, and I need the reminders over and over again about what I should be doing. My parenting mentors, the Pritchards of Axis Ministries, say, “I am just talking to myself and letting you listen.” I feel the same way!! I am letting you in on the conversation in my own head. By the way, you should really check out the Pritchards’ free video series called “How to Raise Successful Kids.” I promise you won’t be disappointed! They are amazing!
As I move forward with you in truth and honesty, I pray that my candid reflection of my parenting will inspire you to be authentic and vulnerable while also bringing you comfort in the fact that you are not isolated from others that struggle too.
Why I Suck at Being a Mom
Let’s jump in!
I’m Selfish – This is a big one for me. I want things the way I want them. My agenda often trumps those around me, and sometimes my agenda does not include my children.
A clean house is often part of my plan, while in contrast my children play big – live big, often leaving a trail of debris in their wake.
A selfless mom serves. I like to be served. When my husband or my kids want to do the dishes, make their own lunches, or put themselves to bed I feel happy. My heart doesn’t want the responsibilities I have around the house. I’d rather others do it for me.
I’m Distracted – My phone, my friends, my blog, my projects and even my own thoughts distract me. Notice how I said “my, my, my.” It all ties into that selfishness thing.
My thoughts are a big one. I can be doing the dishes and thinking about life or drafting a blog post mentally, and I suddenly tune in to the fact that my kids have said, “Mom!” 20 times.
My phone is a huge distractions. Texts go off that I think I need to see and respond to them right away. I love playing “Ticket to Ride” or “Words with Friends.” I will look at the news or glance at Facebook, diverting me from the needs around me.
The blog has both motivated me and sidetracked me. I initially started the blog to be inspiration to do this job of parenting better. I wanted to inspire others along the way. It does help! It holds me accountable and keeps me motivated. I’ve also loved it because it has become a creative outlet. However, I didn’t know it would grow into a business – where there are emails to answer, deadlines to meet, social media to try and master and continuing education in the industry. I didn’t know that the blog would only be fuel to an already burning creative desire dwelling within me. The content that I am continually inspired to create is a swirling distraction inside my head. It’s a passion to walk alongside others and feel like I’m making a difference. I love it, but it can be a diversion.
I’m Harsh – I know it is best to parent in a cool and calm voice. I work on it. I need to work on it more. I never wanted to yell at my kids. Every once in a while I do. A voice filled with anger, annoyance and contempt was never part of the plan – yet, that is what my kids too often hear. I never wanted my voice to become nullified. The most overused mom word is part of my vocabulary too often. I want to be sweeter, more gentle and more kind to my kids.
I’m Impatient – Oh! This is a big one. My bent toward frustration impedes on how I want to respond to my children. Have you seen the meme that shows a picture of Mary Poppins and says “Moms start the day feeling like this” and then a picture of Cruella Deville with the phrase, “and end the day feeling like this”? That’s me! I start strong, but I get worn down. Mostly, I assume because I’ve been distracted rather than on top of what I should be doing as I parent these little ones I love so dearly.
I thought this would be a 50 yard dash rather than a marathon. Why don’t my kids get it yet? They don’t get what they want when they whine. Why are they still whining? Why can’t they just get along? Obedience makes life so much easier for them. Why do they keep disobeying? Why are they so impatient? Oh – They’re human? What?! They’re my children, and if I can’t get my lack of patience tackled, why would I expect a 6 year old to have it all together? It’s so humbling when you realize you are discipling you own children for being exactly like you!
I get frustrated. I do. I can feel it in every fiber of my being. The feeling of wanting to crawl out of my own skin is real. The hypocrisy of my harsh and loud tone to my kids while I utter the words, “Have patience!!!” is not lost on me.
I’m Lazy – People wouldn’t look at my life and say, “Wow. She’s lazy.” In fact, staying too busy is probably one of my downfalls. That said, I can get lazy in my parenting.
The best way to parent is to be on top of it. I know this. However, I can get tired of being on all the time. So, while I know to respond right away if my kids disobey, I can let it slide because I don’t want to handle it right then. It probably goes back to that whole distracted thing.
Being a mom means teaching…all…the…time. While a teacher by trade, it gets tiring. I don’t want to go into the bathroom and teach brushing teeth over and over again. I should be in there making sure all quarters of the mouth are taken care of properly. The mirror probably wouldn’t have all those splatters if I was in there helping. The globs of toothpaste in the sink would be eliminated, and the toothbrushes and toothpaste containers wouldn’t decorate the bathroom floor if I would just take the time to be in there with them rather than getting stuck on my own agenda – whether it be finishing the dishes, packing lunches, cleaning up a mess or checking my phone for my latest social interaction.
I need to take more time to patiently teach.
I Don’t Like Bedtime – There. I said it out loud. I have a lot of guilt about this. I have always pictured cuddling up with my kids and reading together. Then, it is time for prayers and sweet talks about the day. It’s an intimate time where they are vulnerable and want to start spilling their souls.
Remember that selfishness I talked about? It plays in big time at bedtime. I’m tired – not just physically but mentally. I just want time with my husband or me time.
All of those sweet times I crave at the bedtime routine are really wonderful. I do take the time. However, Cruella Deville re-appears as the bedtime procrastination begins. We took care of everything – the potty, the prayers, the sweetness, the water…but, wait, no, there’s more. More. More. More. How can they come up with so many needs and important conversations so late in the day? They could drag out bedtime into the wee hours of the night, and I just want to be done parenting for the day. I love my kids dearly, but I’m done.
If it all stayed sweet, it would be great. Bedtime for us, however, has been a time of contention. It has been a time of disobedience. Kids sneaking into each other’s room. One more potty needed – and half of the time legit. It seems no matter what the consequence or reward, bedtime remains a challenge. The girls are “night outs” as misquoted by my oldest. We have tried enforcing it or letting them stay up. They would stay up until the morning hours if we allowed, resulting in disastrous behavior the following day. Their tiredness doesn’t influence a nap or an earlier desire to sleep the following week. It just builds.
The answers elude me, so I feel like I end most days on a negative note, which I don’t like.
Why I Suck at Being a Mom…to be continued
Admitting why I suck at being a mom is humbling. It is hard to say out loud. Parenting is such a mirror into my own sinfulness and weaknesses. It’s funny that way.
Acknowledging my shorting comings is the first step toward change.
I don’t want to end it on such a negative note – I suck. The End. After all, self-deprecating can be false humility. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” By focusing on why I suck, it can be a different kind of selfishness. I simply become self-focused in a negative way. It’s a fine line.
Beating myself up is not the point. I can absolutely celebrate the gifts and qualities that make me a great mom, and I intend to do a follow-up post (I was going to do it in this post, but it got too long). The point of this post is to be encouraging – that God can still use us in our weaknesses. There are all kind of sins that I can acknowledge and work on, and yet, I can be an effective and good mom. If we can confess our weakness and live in the light then we know what we need to continue to work on. Keeping our weaknesses in the dark doesn’t make them go away. These sins have more control over us unless we are able to confess out loud and vow to work toward change.
“…but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7
Satan wants to whisper to me, “Revealing your struggles in motherhood will ruin your reputation. How would anyone want to visit a mom blog of someone who admittedly doesn’t have it all together? Who could ever take your parenting posts seriously?” I shout, “No!” Being honest with others is the only way to relationship – with each other and with God.
In a follow up post tomorrow I will celebrate what makes me an amazing mom. There’s no point in ending on why I suck at being a mom. I want us, as a mom community, to be able to celebrate both our weaknesses and our strengths together – in the light.
Here’s the Continuation of this Story….What Makes me An Amazing Mom
thank you so much for this… and yes I am so relieved I am not alone… you wrote my thoughts, worries, fears …everything down… and yes honesty is the key… thank you again sending hugs from Germany…
You are definitely not alone. Thank you so much for sharing how you relate. It is so inspiring for me to see my words reach others – even across the globe. What a blessings. Hugs to you too!
Bedtime is sooooooo hard!!!!! Thank you for your honesty, I feel like a failure EVERY NIGHT!
It’s so hard. Some nights I feel like we are getting there, and then there will be frustrating evenings again. So it goes, and I really am trying to change my own attitude at these things – which often is lame. 🙂 Thanks for writing.
LOVE your honesty-thank you! I normally dont read parenting blogs but this time I did and I read every word because I felt I was reading about myself…relating to other parents means everything (to me)??
You are so welcome. Connecting with others in a genuine way is important. I just don’t want anyone to feel like they are alone in all the ups and downs of parenting. Thank you for commenting and being here!
Thank you so much for writing this and I have had the exact same response as I am sure so many others – so glad it isn’t just me and that people are willing to talk about their failures in parenting! God uses us in our weakness because it is not about us – it is all about him! So thankful for his amazing forgiveness for all the countless times I mess up as a mum. Lots of love from Wales, UK x
Your words are so true. In our weakness He is made strong. Thank you for this! I love when people give a shout out from where they are from. It’s so fun to think of a more global audience. I lived in the UK for a year, so I have a special heart for your neck of the woods. Saying prayers today for the city of London and the attack. 🙁
I can relate on all fronts! Thanks for being honest. Most parenting blogs make everything look so perfect, and I then feel an inch tall wondering when I will “arrive” too! I’ve learned sanctification in Christ is a gradual process and we won’t be perfect until heaven! I often feel wretched at the end of the day and know exactly where I messed up. Its hard to turn the ship!!
I know how you feel about looking at online lives and assuming they have it all together. It’s far from the truth for me, but I am also trying to embrace the sanctification process. It’s about living out the gospel message in our homes. We too need forgiveness for our own shortcomings as we work to parent these kids. Thanks so much for checking in with me!
I love this! I just googled “ I suck at being a mom” after dropping all 4 of my kids at school, running late as usual, and I just felt like giving up but then not really because I love my kids but it’s so harrrddd .This was the perfect thing for me to read and I don’t usually read blogs. I had to leave a comment as well which I rarely do because this…this is just everything I’ve felt as a mom and I thought I was a horrible person for even thinking like that but i guess I’m not, thanks so much for writing this
-Taylor (mom of 4)
Taylor, Thanks so much for writing! I love that you googled that! I mean – totally sorry that you are feeling this – but you are not alone!! As I have been open about this, I talk to so many moms that feel the exact same way. We are totally hard on ourselves, expecting super human strength and abilities. However, the truth is we all have room for improvement. I really appreciate you commenting so other moms can also realize they are not alone in their struggles. You are so right – this is really hard! But we love our kids, and we are hard on ourselves because we want to do really well by them. Keep chugging along. Give yourself grace. 🙂
So needed to come across this today! Thank you for your encouragement and reminder that I am not alone. I put so much pressure on my self to be Christlike and parenting just brings all the unchristlikeness out in me. Your blog reminds me that not only do my kids need the gospel daily but I do too. Like every single moment! That is good news for a sinner like me. To God be the glory. If only this would be my mentality every day. Thanks again and love the name 🙂
I love this response. “Your blog reminds me that not only do my kids need the gospel daily, but I do too.” Oh my word – so true! There’s been so much revealed to me about God through this parenting journey. His grace and mercy on me is a big one. I also just see how much he loves us and wants the best for us. We can so easily see this as we parent our own kids. It echoes the cry of our Father’s heart. Thanks so much for commenting.
Unbelievably relatable blog post. Searched “I suck at being a mom” and came across this gem. Sounds as many mom’s feel they suck. Have been having a ridiculously hard time balancing a new job after 20 at the same teaching job and raising two girls. There is so much going on behind the scenes in my life as I’m sure in all of yours, too, that I sometimes lose by way. Not raised with religion, but consider myself a spiritual being. Believe in prayer though. Thanks for being real! I know this journey has its ups and downs. I guess the scary part is not knowing how my kids will turn out and I just hope I haven’t scarred them with my inadequacy.
Thanks again for sharing your story. Xo Kristen San Diego, CA one who NEVER comments on blog posts, this speaks volumes!
You are not the only one who has written me saying that’s exactly what they searched. It’s such a common feeling, and I love that people are boldly searching Google for these very real and hard feelings. I think the very fact that we care so much speaks volumes. We want to do this job well. I am so glad I could be an encouragement to you. Balancing it all is extremely hard, but I’m absolutely certain there are so many successes in your life that you can celebrate too! 🙂
Thanks for this ! I too suck as a mom I used to be better 🙄well I was never really all that great ….but I really suck now . My oldest son was killed in a car accident last year. An I have gone into my own little world an pushed everything out . To survive this I have blocked everything. I want to be better . But thanks again what you write is what I feel too,
Oh man. I can’t even imagine the grief of that. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you are getting the help you need through counseling, church, support groups, supplements or medication. You will recover and fight through this, but I’m sure it will take a lot of effort and the right tools. I am praying for you right now, Rhonda. I’m so so sorry!
Thank you sooooo much for this. I am just so upset with myself lately. First time momma here, I’m trying to work while being mom to my nine month old and I just hate myself most days recently. This really helped me remember to give Jesus space in my life (which I just kind of forgot to…the idea that He can even be involved in this whole parenting thing). I’m going to read your uplifting blog now- I just needed to know that I wasn’t the only one in this mindset. Thank goodness for Google and stumbling upon this!
You are not the only one, and I’m so glad you found me so that we can walk through this together. I have found that being real is helpful, but I also find that continually seeking change and looking for hope is the answer as we redefine ourselves in the role of a mother. I just got off the phone with a friend that I’ve mentored a bit. She is a new mom who feels much like you – trying to balance it all and not feeling like she’s doing a great job many days. I think there are so many of us out there. You are right to cling to Jesus to find that hope and restoration. What a privilege to be a part of your journey. Thank you for commenting. I’m so glad you are here. Let me know if there is any way I can help. Conversations and needs of readers often inspire new posts.
I appreciate you writing this. I actually searched “how not to suck at being a parent” after a very emotionally challenging conversation with my oldest today (who is 20) that touched on some things that I as a parent have done that has hurt him that he was trying to open up and talk about. Hoping and praying for healing between us and also spiritual growth and change.
I pray for that for you also. That’s really hard. Parenting is no joke – it’s hard. Give yourself grace and hopefully healing will happen. I’m sorry it’s been a particularly emotional time. 🙁
Thank you for writing this. I have been trying to find ways of being a good mom to my autistic 5-year-old son because I keep hatting myself the way I am with him. Every family member makes me feel so bad for being a bad mother and I just don’t know how to fix it. I really wished I had that close bond with my child-like some mothers do. I never thought I was going to be like this with my child, I’m just glad that I’m not the only one that feels this way.
Thank you so much for sharing. I know how much harder it is to be raising a differently wired child. I’m wondering if you have seen my post “Unless you are Raising a Special Needs Child, You Don’t Understand.” Reading through the comments might be balm to your soul, knowing you are not alone. Blessings on your motherhood experience.