For When You Feel You’ve Failed as a Mother …

For When You Feel You've Failed as a Mother | Faith & Composition by Shalene RobertsAs I laid down with the baby a few nights ago, I wept. Wept because I was suddenly overcome with the reality of how little I had loved on my three children throughout the day. In the pursuit of my own tasks, I spoke harshly to them, I was impatient with their demands, I denied their requests to kick the ball, to push them on the swing. Yes the floor needed to be mopped, fruits and veggies needed to be picked up from the co-op, dinner needed to be made, the baby needed to be nursed, diapers needed to be changed … and the list goes on. These were all necessary and pressing tasks that had to be completed.

But there were also matters with less urgency but with infinitely more importance that also needed attending. Those deep brown eyes that belong to my five-year-old needed to be smiled into as he prepared Easter eggs for his class; the infectious laugh of my two-year-old needed to be reflected in my own voice as she spun in circles around the living room; the baby’s soft cooing needed to be echoed with the tenderness that only a mother can give.

I missed many of those opportunities today. I missed the chance to press into those moments with my kids, to show them that they matter exponentially more than anything else on my to-do list. And as I realized that, I came to a point where I felt undone, felt as though I’d failed at this high calling of motherhood … Again.

And so I wept. I wept for the missed opportunities, for the chances where I could have loved on my children and spoken value and worth into their spirit with my words and my actions.

When You Feel You've Failed as a Mother | Faith & Composition by Shalene Roberts

And yet through the tears, I began to feel God’s grace abound: grace to cover my shortcomings, grace to forgive my failings. I was reminded that His mercies are new every morning and His compassion never fails. There is forgiveness and rebirth, a chance to start again because His son paid the ultimate price for my sins.

Mothering isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a gritty, up-to-your-elbows, deep-in-the-trenches, never-get-a-break kind of work. It’s constant, it’s exhausting, its radically difficult. But it’s also sacred: this act of raising little people He created to have a heart that reflects Him. And the reality is that in the midst of this mothering process, I will undoubtedly fail. Some days will be better than others, but each and every day His grace will continue to abound to me. And as His grace abounds to me, I can lavish that grace onto my children. I can wake each morning with a renewed opportunity to love them immeasurably because His mercies cover me.

So today, tomorrow, I will take my chances to love on my children. I will smile deeply into my son’s endless brown eyes, I will laugh with joy as my daughter twirls, I will tenderly echo the quiet coos of the baby. And when I get frustrated as the older two bicker, disgruntled after changing the 20th diaper or exhausted after meeting their endless requests, I will realize that I can do it all again because His grace abounds in me.

I wonder about you. I wonder if you’ve ever had days as a mom that overwhelm you with feelings of failure. If so, how have His mercies covered? How has has His grace abounded?


20 thoughts on “For When You Feel You’ve Failed as a Mother …

  1. Kat

    I hear you! I have had many a day like this recently. The tears streaming down my face as it hit me that I just pushed my child away and didn’t say, “yes!” to their sweet request. Recently I closed the door on the fridge and started crying and apologized to my daughter. She sweetly hugged me and said, “You’re a good mama!” And I felt better and worse all at the same time. Better that she forgave me, worse that she could do it so easily and I had such a hard time with forgiveness over the little things. Being a mother is the hardest job, and I never thought it would be this tough, but I am so glad I am a mother! I mess up everyday, but I’m there. I beat myself up over my failings, but I’m still there. God shows me grace through my children everyday.

  2. 5kidswdisabilities

    It is so difficult to be a mother, but I have to think that we do the best we can. We are human, and sometimes in retrospect it seems like we should have done something different. But we didn’t. We’re still good mothers, and maybe we will do it a little bit differently next time.

  3. gina

    your children love you no matter what! that is true grace. it is always so much harder to forgive ourselves, isn’t it?

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  8. Anne

    it is never ending! I find myself needing to step back and remember the rewards of it all. Nothing like a child’s love!

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  12. destiny strickland

    I’m not even a mother, and these Godly passages speak many words to me. I forward all of these to my mother-in-law. On days like these, she needs all the kind words she can get to reassure her of the good, and best job she could do with raising her children.

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  15. Cora Roberts

    Beautiful. I so needed that reassurance of His grace today as I, too, feel like I’ve failed yet again. But I’m also reminded that His grace not only allows me to keep going, it also shows me my weakness. It’s His kindness that brings me to repentance. Mothering is bootcamp santification!

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