Dear Defeated Mama,
Take a deep breath.
Breathe out the defeat, sadness, frustration and doubt.
Some days are harder than others, but you’ve got this and you’re doing a great job!
Listen to me…you’re doing a great job!
I may be speaking more to myself than to you at this point, but we all need to hear it. Especially on the days of limited sleep, toddler tantrums or school-age back-talk, we need to hear it.
We’re not perfect nor will we ever be. We’re human, we will thrive and face plant in the same day. We will have mommy highs and mommy lows within minutes of each other and we will self-criticize and self-doubt far more than we encourage or believe in ourselves.
Yesterday, I found myself sitting in the car in tears after my children behaved atrociously at the gym play space. I was mortified as the teenage worker ran down the list of their transgressions and I wanted to climb under a rock and hide! I feel like their behavior, every minute of every day, is a direct reflection on my parenting.
I feel judged, embarrassed and defeated.
What am I doing wrong that my children can’t control themselves for even an hour while I work out? Where are they learning to disrespect their elders or talk back? Am I teaching them that?!
How have I messed this up so badly?
I bet you’ve thought these things in some form or another. If you haven’t, please contact me and fill me in on your secret! We are our worst critic and we often forget that our children are just that…children.
Is their behavior excusable? Absolutely not, but their every move also is not a direct reflection on our parenting. Children are testing boundaries and figuring out life. They are learning what they have control over and how to control their own bodies. Every day is a new experiment for them.
We have bad days, too. We say things we shouldn’t, we do things impulsively or we are in a rotten mood. As adults we have the ability to work through our frustrations, identify them and make adjustments. As children, they’re still figuring that out.
Their bad day does not mean bad parenting! Their bad day is an opportunity for teaching moments, forgiveness, grace and love.
And while we’re extending forgiveness, grace and love to our children when they’re, quite honestly less than desirable, we need to grant it to ourselves as well.
Take a deep breath, mama! Allow forgiveness, grace and love to seep into your pores. You’re doing a good job! You’ve got this!
Tomorrow is a new day, a fresh slate and a chance to breathe the fresh, clean air of grace.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Be weak with me, defeated mama, for God’s grace covers us over and over again. Through our transparency, our weakness, we will lift him up.
A Mama in the Trenches with You
You speak to all of us – young and old[er]; new at this, and quite experienced at this; and we [all of us] still need to hear your words from time-to-time.
We love you … and your inexperienced children.
You must have been a fly in my house yesterday! It was a rough day for us as well. I am learning (will always be learning!) that my kids are just that: kids. I don’t need to apologize or feel like a terrible parent for every wrong choice they make. They are still learning right from wrong as am I! Thank you for your uplifting and encouraging words! I’m so glad to have you in my life!