“Failure is success in progress” – Albert Einstein
Mom guilt is a legit thing – even when you’re doing everything right. I can literally feel guilty for both letting my children play outside in the cold (because, I’d be the worst mother ever for making them shiver) and making them stay inside in the warmth (because they aren’t getting “fresh air”). I am continually re-evaluating “Am I being too loose-goosey, or am I being too much of a helicopter mom? Which am I!? Someone tell me how to get this right!” No matter what decision we make, it seems to come right along with an addict’s dose of guilt. Mom guilt can be off the charts when we make a mistake. But listen, ladies – we will never be the perfect mom. Not even close. But, there’s someone quite capable who makes up for our deficiencies.
Let’s rewind to the pre-guilt (and more judgmental) years. I distinctly remember knowing exactly what I wasn’t going to do when I was a parent – before I was a parent. Some hate when people crack their knuckles. Others are repulsed when people chew with their mouth open. For me, there was nothing higher on my pet peeve list than “stupid parents”. I’m a jerk. I know. I vividly remember wondering why the heck moms didn’t brush their kid’s hair – wasn’t that an easy part of parenting? And, hello? Why aren’t you disciplining your toddler, who’s having a full blown come apart in aisle three? That hellion needs to be told who’s boss. And, c’mon lady – put a sun hat on your kid – it’s 104 degrees outside.
Yup. Mothering is vastly easier when you’re not a mother. But, when you’re in the trenches you realize things can go wrong – severely wrong – because moms, we are human. We are tired humans. We are humans that have our sleep stolen, our buttons pressed, our sleeves used as Kleenex, our feelings bruised, our egos trampled on and our eye’s blackened (yes, my kid has literally given me a legit black eye). We are humans that don’t have time to wash and meticulously comb through hair every day (let’s get real – it can be pointless anyway), who forget sun hats on the dining room table (where we put it so we wouldn’t forget), and who are literally at the end of our ropes with a screaming kid in aisle three.
Stop beating yourselves up. Your children do that just fine.
It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s inevitable that you will fail. But, you are not a failure. Failing will bruise, but it is not a tattoo. It doesn’t have to be permanent. Yes, we have done all the things we said we’d never do, and then some. We’ve balled ourselves up in the fetal position feeling like a failure. But, friend, we are not failures! We are warriors! So, to help diminish your mom guilt and remind you that you aren’t alone, even just for 15 minutes, I present to you this fun “mom fail” post! Feel relieved, as you hear mistakes that moms like you have made – and know that for every story you hear, there’s an abundance more!
Women Divulge Their “Mom Fails”
We all have “mothering moments” that we wish we could take back. Here’s a few women who were brave enough to share some of their fun “mom fails”. This is my neighbor’s Facebook post from last week…
“Braela just walked upstairs to find me saying, “Where’s the coffee?” Braela drank it all. “Nummy coffee”, she said. ……..Ohh crap.”
Yup, my sweet friend left her coffee within arms reach of her two year old. Can you imagine an already exuberant toddler…with a whole cup of caffeine in her system? Yikes! Something tells me that my friend had to brew another cup or two to survive the rest of that day! This reminds me of the time I neglected to put a used sippy cup away. Braden found it amongst his toys, swigged back the remaining old milk…and then barfed it up a half hour later. Yup. That happened. My bad. Some days it just feels like you can’t get your stuff together. Here’s another woman’s confession for you:
“I was supposed to take him to his indoor soccer, but for the life of me – I could not find the place!! This was before GPS came out! So, I decided to get him something at KFC to make up for him missing his soccer. We got out of the car, and I locked my KEYS in the car!! Epic fail !! Double fail?!”
I can imagine she felt like a failure. But who said we were supposed to be Taxi drivers anyway!? And letting down our children is a part of life. It will happen, and that’s actually good. We aren’t miracle workers. We can only do our best, and point them to the one who is the miracle worker. Learning to handle disappointment is healthy for children – just look at things that way! Now, here’s my fav “mom fail” moment:
“Ok…a mom fail moment was when we were rushing to get to church for VBS Sunday we pulled into the church parking lot, when Jake pipes up and says “Oh no! I forgot to put my pants on!” Sure enough, he is sitting in the back seat in a t-shirt and boxers! In all the business of trying to get everyone out the door to get to church on time…neither my husband or I noticed that one of our kids didn’t have pants on!”
What you don’t know, is that was the missionary’s wife who’s kid came to church in their underwear. Love it! Good thing for her, he wasn’t wearing his tighty-whiteys. You see – even the best of us fail.
And, here’s a link to other moms who have proudly displayed their “whoopsies” for the world wide web. These are hysterical: Mom Fails
The first time Keaton rolled over, he rolled a little too far. I had him laying on my bed while I prepped for a women’s small group meeting that I was hosting that evening. He was still little, and I had yet to see him fully roll over. Well, guess what folks? That’s right – the first time he successfully rolled over, I didn’t see it – but I heard it. He rolled right off my bed and onto the floor, like the meatball in the spaghetti song! Although he was completely fine, I was guilt ridden and worried all night through our meeting. Thankfully, I had some loving women put their arms around me and pray for the both of us.
My “mom fails” didn’t stop with Keaton. When his younger brother, Braden was an infant, I had thankfully learned not to let him fall, but I apparently I hadn’t learned how not to lose him…
It was a gorgeous winter day only weeks from Christmas. I pulled into the country club near our house because I had discovered there was a gorgeous vintage sleigh on display that I thought would make the perfect backdrop for a festive family photo. What I discovered was that there was not only a sleigh, but a real live reindeer parked beside it! It seemed as though there was a wedding taking place inside and there was much hustle and bustle, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for Keaton to see Rudolph! So, I pulled the car to the side of the driveway and quickly helped Keaton out. Braden was fast asleep in his car seat, and so I left him undisturbed. I knew we had to be swift, and so for a split second we waved to “Rudolph”, quickly petted him and then turned to jump back in the car…only, the car was GONE! Talk about good intentions gone wrong.
I had turned my back for only a moment, people – and my car and my baby had disappeared! After a second of panic, I realized that I saw my car driving away and pulling into a parking spot. I yelled to a young teenage valet “My baby is in that car!” His face went pale, and he bolted faster than lightening to retrieve my car. Turns out, one of the other valets thought our car belonged to the wedding party. He was parking it for us, and had no clue that a baby was in the back seat! Needless to say, the boys were horrified and very apologetic. I think they may have thought I was going to report them. But, there was no harm done, other than my heart stopping a moment. It was all a misunderstanding, and now it’s a crazy story I get to tell, but boy did I feel like an unfit idiot; failure of a mom at the time.
Shelter and Protection, Grace Like an Ocean and Mercies New Every Day
I know. These “mom fail” moments are slightly amusing ones (well, they are for us now!). But there are other mothering moments that are simply too painful and shameful to share. There are “close calls” that are too close for our comfort. There are moments we wish we could take back and stuff we’ll never seem to forgive ourselves for.
But, when you don’t have grace on yourself, there is one who has more grace than water in the ocean, and it’s readily available for you at any moment. Ladies, He loves you more than you love your kids, and He loves our kids more than we could ever. He will never fail them, which is why we need Him in our lives and in their lives. God has got them cradled in the palm of His mighty miracle making hands. He covers us all with his wings…
“He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 94:1
Aren’t you glad that when you can’t protect your children, God’s got your back? Isn’t it comforting to know that the most mighty hands of all are the ones who are protecting your kids?
I thought I learned more from other mom’s fails, but what I’ve found is I’ve learned the most and the best things about my own fails…I’ve learned about my own weakness and about God’s great strength and abundant grace. I’ve learned to lean on Him. Here’s four more quick thoughts I have learned that I want you to tuck away and re-visit when you’re feeling like that nasty “F” word: a “failure”…
Find A Friend – Look for a mentor mom. Watch and learn from her, so you fail less often. Also, lean on friends that you can be real with; ones that help you in your weak areas and encourage you when you feel like a mess.
Fail Forward – You will fail, so learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them. You can then become a better mom; one that eventually other younger moms can look up to and learn from. As long as you “fail forward”, you will eventually succeed. I heard it put once that failure is the tuition you pay for success (Walter Brunell).
Forget What Others Think – Learn, read, grow, but then let go. Let go of the urge to compare yourselves with other moms. Let go of the guilt. Let go of your incessant need to wonder what others think of your parenting choices. Let go, and let God form you into the mother He knows you can be. His is the only opinion that matters.
Forgive Yourself – Because your kids already have. And, so has God, so you need to move on too. His mercies are new every morning. And, when you are weak, He steps in and shows up with His strength.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”. -2 Corinthians 12:9
For your enjoyment, and to prove that I wasn’t joking around – my kid really DID give me a shiner (and felt terrible about it!) A game of tag gone wrong. At least it matched my lip stick shade, right!? So, I repeat – stop beating yourselves up, moms – your kids already do that just fine!