You now those days where you feel like an utter failure as a mom? You know – the kind of day where the image of the mom you want to be doesn’t line up at all with the mom you actually acted like? Do those days happen more often than you’d care to admit? My friend, I’m about to share some hope with you. Keep reading for 7 Opportunities in the Midst of Your Mom Fails.
We all have those days where nothing goes right.
The kind of day where you are out of sorts from the minute you wake up and you never really get your feet under you before the day starts unraveling…
The kind of day where you didn’t get a shower until noon, the kids watched way too much TV, and your toddler’s breakfast consisted of an applesauce pouch and some crumbs from under the couch…
The kind of day where you lost your temper because you got hangry…
The kind of day where you certainly were not the understanding and patient mom you want to be…
The reality is that no one has it together 100% of the time.
Since our children have the front row seat to our lives so much of the time, they are the ones who will have a front row view to all of our imperfections and weaknesses. The weight of that realization can be crippling if we let it.
HOWEVER, since it is absolutely guaranteed that we will make mistakes and handle situations badly on occasion, AND since it is guaranteed that our children will be watching, it is equally important that we make the most of our own shortcomings and make them count.
Having days where we feel like failures doesn’t make US failures – it makes us human, and they can provide the most beautiful opportunities for grace and growth if we let them.
So let’s talk about the opportunities are mom fails provide, shall we?
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7 Opportunities in the Midst of Your Parenting Fails:
1. Our Failures Keep Us Humble
Sometimes it’s easy for us to look at other moms and think of how we would do things differently if we were in their shoes, isn’t it?
Nevermind that we’ve never actually walked in their shoes before… we totally know how we would react if we were in their shoes… and we’re certain that we would handle it better than them.
Life has a way of humbling us doesn’t it?
If nothing else, our mom fails have a way of humbling us and reminding us that we don’t have our “stuff” all together either.
2. Our failures teach us not to judge others & to give grace generously.
When we’re humbled and reminded that we don’t actually have it all together, it makes us much more likely to be understanding of others who are having their own mom fail days.
While the tendency may be to look at another mom and judge her shortcomings so that we feel better about our own, instead we can look at another mom who’s struggling and extend grace.
When you’ve experienced your own meltdown-on-aisle-nine moments in the grocery store, you’re a lot more likely to look at the mom who’s got a screaming kid wrapped around her leg, two more crying in the cart, and a broken jar of applesauce splattered on the floor with that sort of knowing, sympathetic smile and nod that says “It’s okay, sister – I’ve been there too.”
Just as we have moments where we don’t react to situations and circumstances as well as we would hope to, we get the opportunity to recognize that other moms have those moments too.
3. Our failures teach us to depend on God.
I don’t know about you, but I am so far from perfect.
My mood changes faster than the weather. The quality of my parenting is subject to the strength of my coffee more often than I’d like to admit.
But we have the comfort of knowing that I have a Heavenly Father who is perfect and is consistent and is present to help us when we ask him.
I am always amazed how much more stable, present, and consistent I am able to be when I make a priority of connecting with him daily.
I am reminded of John 15:5 where Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Our own mistakes and imperfections highlight how much we need him daily.
Isn’t it wonderful that we have a God who isn’t dependent on the strength of his coffee?
Isn’t it wonderful that we have a God who delights in us even when we are imperfect?
Isn’t it wonderful that we have a God who invites us to abide in him and uses our own imperfections to showcase all of His wonderful attributes if we let him?
It is BECAUSE we are made painfully aware of our own shortcomings sometimes that we are able to see the stark contrast between our own human nature and the wonderful work that He is doing in us.
4. Our failures give us the opportunity to learn.
Let’s be real – we’re all still learning how to do this mom thing, right? Our mom fail moments often shine a spotlight that illuminates the areas where we still have room for growth.
It’s a lovely yet uncomfortable truth, isn’t it?
I don’t know about you, but I personally find it really easy to beat myself up about all the moments where my reactions and behaviors were less than stellar.
For a long time I think I imagined that God would be saying the same things.
“Well, she really blew that one. When is she going to get it?”
“Well if she would just not have lost her temper that one time today, the day would have been so much better.”
“Man, she is really cranky. She should pull it together.”
One time I realized something about the nature of God that shifted my own expectations of myself.
The Bible refers to God as a loving Father. One of the roles of a parent is to teach their child new things and to help them go over and over it until they’ve mastered it.
When your child was learning to walk, you knew it was a new skill for him. You knew that he was still working on his ability to control his muscles and maintain his balance.
When he would stand up on his wobbly legs and try to take a step you celebrated!
Just think of how you reacted. You were probably cheered and encouraged him to take a step towards you.
You probably made yourself look like a fool. It’s what parents do in the name of love.
When he fell down, you probably cheered anyways and scooped him up for a big hug before setting him on his feet again.
You probably showed him that falling down is part of learning to walk. You can’t learn to walk without it.
You delighted in the process of watching your child learn to walk, whether he took a few steps or fell down on the first try… because you knew he was going to get it eventually and every part of it was a necessary part of learning to be a proficient walker.
I realized at one point, that God is probably ready to interact with me a lot more like the parent that is cheering their toddler on, than the cold, stern disciplinarian who’s ready to punish me for my mom fails.
He knows it’s hard. He gave us these kids. I think he delights in our efforts to connect with them and parent them well. And he’s present, willing, and ready to help us learn how to continually get better at this mom thing.
5. Our failures give us the opportunity to model how to fix our own mistakes in front of our children.
Since our children have a front row seat to so many of our less-than-stellar moments, it gives us ample opportunity to use that to teach them important life lessons.
The reality is that they won’t be perfect. We don’t want to create this illusion in front of them that we are perfect because the reality is that they won’t be perfect either.
They can learn more from us being transparent about our mistakes and modeling how to apologize and ask for forgiveness than they would learn from us if we actually were perfect.
We are going to lose our tempers sometimes. We are going to get irritable sometimes. We are going to mess up sometimes. Since our kids are with us so much of the time, they see it all.
When you mess up, do not carry on without addressing your own bad behavior in front of them. Knowing that you’ve messed up, but moving on without addressing it with your kids, as if nothing happened, conveys the message that it’s okay to act like that.
When you have those times where you do not react like you should, take time to get composed, and then explain to your children that your behavior was not okay. Apologize and ask them to forgive you.
When you do this, it teaches them that everyone makes mistakes in life. It also models for them how to fix those mistakes. How a person fixes their own mistakes can show just as much or more character than if they had never made that mistake to begin with.
Related Post: Taming the Mom-Ster
6. Our failures give us the opportunity to teach our children how to extend grace to others.
The truth is that our children will encounter difficult people in this world.
Their future roommates, co-workers, friends, in-laws, or spouses will have bad days and will react in ways that are frustrating or even hurtful, and it won’t necessarily be our children’s fault.
They will need to learn how to recognize the fact that other peoples’ bad reactions are not always about them.
If they can learn to recognize that sometimes the bad reactions of other people are a reflection of the stressors or even emotional baggage in that person’s life, they will be positioned to have much healthier relationships.
If they can learn how to take responsibility for their own actions, reactions, and perspectives and not take the bad reactions of others personally, and learn how to give all kinds of grace to those who need it, they will be so much further ahead relationally than most of their peers.
When we react to circumstances badly, but we apologize for our bad behavior and explain to them that it wasn’t about them at all, but rather a result of our own stressors and lack of regulating our emotions adequately, it builds the foundation to learn those more complex lessons about relationships when they get older.
7. Our failures give us the opportunity to point our children to the One who is always perfect and who never makes mistakes.
Just as our own mistakes give us the opportunity to depend on God, our own mistakes also give us the opportunity to model our dependence on God to our children.
If we open the door of transparency and talk with them about our own shortcomings and imperfections, and also talk with them about the God who IS perfect, it provides a beautiful opportunity for us to point them to Him.
You will never be a perfect mom.
Your spouse will never be a perfect dad.
Your children will not grow up to be perfect people, either.
But the truth is that they have a Heavenly Father who IS perfect and who is able to help them in their times of need.
Our own mistakes give us the perfect opportunity to direct them towards Him.
We all make mistakes. Mistakes don’t make US failures, they make us human, and they provide beautiful opportunities for growth if we let them.
If we are not careful, we can focus on all of our mistakes and short comings and allow them to drive us into despair, BUT if we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and we take our mistakes and turn them into growth opportunities, they can turn into something even more beautiful than perfection ever could be.
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