WT 068: What If I Don't Feel Like a Good Mom?

Imagine pressing pause and spending a weekend being refueled, equipped, and empowered alongside other moms! Birds on a Wire designed the Soar conference for that very purpose – to inspire moms in every stage of life with truths needed to soar and to not grow weary as we navigate motherhood. This year's theme is grace, and we'd love for you to join us. Register now.

Moms are superhuman, but we're still human. We make mistakes, feel guilty and compare ourselves to others. But it's okay. And it certainly doesn't mean that we aren't great moms (because we are!). At some point in your journey of motherhood, you're going to feel like you aren't a good mom. But it's a lie. We hope today's episode encourages and equips you!

Question 1: Karen, I had a total slip-up and missed an event at school that was important to my son. I wrote down the date wrong, and was busy with work and my toddler and just messed up. I apologized and my son seems totally fine with it… but I still feel awful. How do I work through this?

Karen’s Answer:  First of all, know that it’s okay! All of us are human and all humans will make mistakes. I did so many things wrong as I raised my kids. I’d beat myself up because of it, but I also realized that nothing good ever came from that. As moms, we put entirely too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect but we’ve made mistakes in the past and we will no doubt make mistakes in the future.

If you’d like some additional help, listen to the very first podcast we ever did on Wire Talk...it’s all about guilt. Listen now.

So take a breath, sweet friend, forgive yourself and move on. In a mom’s world, there’s no time for pity parties.

Question 2:  How do you navigate feeling like every other mom is doing better than you? I feel like my house is the messiest, my dinners are the unhealthiest, my family is the latest everywhere we go, etc. I know it’s not always true, but it certainly feels like I am coming in last place in the mom game.

Karen’s Answer: Just last week, Abby came home from a friend’s house and couldn’t stop talking about how wonderful it had all been. She raved about the mom’s decorating skills, how perfect the table had looked, how organized everything had been, and then she looked at me and said, “I wish you were like that.”

Ouch. But you know what I did? I just chuckled, and said, “I know, but I’m not. Those things aren’t important to me like other things are. And that’s ok.”

So here’s what you need to remember: run your race! Stop comparing yourself to others and focus on your own race, your own way, your own speed and work on the things that are important to you. Take one week and focus on your meals and include a healthy item per meal that week. Or take a week to focus on your house where you choose one particular time of day (maybe after the kids are in bed) where you pick things up and you don’t feel like you’re living in a war zone.

Whatever it is you want to improve about yourself as a mom, remember that your race is with yourself and not others. You will never win in life if you’re always comparing yourself to the mom next door. So be you.

Question 3: Karen, I work full time at a relatively demanding job that I love. Even though I love it, I feel so guilty almost all the time. Being a classroom mom or going to all of the middle of the day events just isn’t feasible because I work in the city about 45 minutes away from my kids’ school. I know I’m making the right choice by working at this job, but how do I manage all the guilt?

Karen’s Answer:  You know, life is all about choices and none of us can do it all. For every choice we make on what we will do, there will always be things we’ve automatically chosen not to do. If you think about it, even Jesus didn’t do it all. He didn’t heal everyone, or visit everyone, but that didn’t make him any less perfect than who God made Him to be.

You may miss some things with your kids that you wish you didn’t have to miss. When you find yourself struggling with guilt over what you’re missing, ask God to give you peace about the choices you’re making for you and your family - and then rest in that peace.

I know there were many things I couldn’t do with my children, but at some point I had to come to the realization that it was ok. I needed to do what I could do and do my best with what I was doing.

Question 4: My kids argue with me and each other all day. When I say something, I have to say it 5 times before they listen to me. But when their dad comes home they are so excited to see him and are perfect little angels who obey his every word. It bothers me how much it bothers me if that makes any sense. I feel like I should just get over it, but it’s hard. I don’t want to just be the bad cop. Any words of wisdom for me?

Karen’s Answer: I think all stay at home moms feel this tension. I know I did. I always said, “Greg’s the hero and I’m the zero.” That was the way it was, too! I knew I’d never be able to change that so I had to remind myself that Greg was a great dad and think about how thankful I was that my children had a great relationship with him and that they loved him so much.

How did I overcome it? Sometimes I would literally leave the room so I didn’t have to watch the love fest that was going on. I would go to my room and take a little break, take a walk outside or tell Greg I was going to run to the store for a little bit. The kids got time with their dad, and I was able to avoid the “daddy’s awesome” show.

So do something for yourself during this time and see if it helps. Also, remind yourself that these are “good” problems to have - better than the other end of the spectrum to where the dad is not in the picture at all.