Dear MobSociety, You asked us to write in and tell you in which areas we feel like a failure as a boy mom. Just thinking about this question brings me to tears because I feel like I am failing at life in general. I’m a single mom and I never have enough time to do everything. If I do laundry, it means dinner will be quick and easy. If I prepare a home-cooked meal, bedtime gets pushed to eight pm and we skip bath-time just to get in bed and give me time to pack lunches and ready things for the next day. I feel like such a failure. Can you help?
Oh friend, I’m right here with you. Your note struck a chord with me because I too, feel like I’m failing at life. When I was younger I had such vast and idealistic dreams for my life. Approaching my thirties looked entirely different than the reality I face every day and every time I wake I am faced with this unexpected life. Some days are better than others. On those better days I rally myself to the beauty that is in my life–my children, their smiles, their unexplained joy at even the littlest things. On the not-so-good days I’m fraught with fear as all the ways I’ve failed surface and threaten to steal my joy.
There’s the divorce, the pregnancy, the fact that I never wanted to have a broken family–and those are just the over-arching mess-ups. Then there are just the everyday failures…when my son runs in asking for clean socks and I’ve forgotten to switch the laundry to the dryer, or when I’ve forgotten that it’s hat day at my daughter’s preschool and she is the only one without a hat. Like I said, there are failures all over the place. If I wanted to, I could wallow in it all day, but friend, that’s not what God wants for his daughters, for us.
No, for his daughters He wants us to be more than conquerors and to conquer the feelings of failure that would otherwise leave us hopeless.
I know that’s a big claim to make and I won’t pretend that I don’t struggle to rise above my failures, but here are a few things that help.
- Stop Comparing– Friend, you have to stop the comparison game. It takes two to play, so just refuse to play the game. If that means that you have to shut down your Pinterest account so you don’t compare your house or your situation to that of others, then do it. Do whatever it takes to stop comparing.
- Decide What Matters – Dr. Laurie Glimcher, dean of Weill Cornell Medical College said that the key to pursuing her career while raising children was learning where to focus her attention. The following quote is attributed to her and is one of my favorites, “I had to decide what mattered and what didn’t and I learned to be a perfectionist in only the things that really mattered.” (Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, p. 123)
- Understand – Failure is not a person; failure is an event. Somehow society moved from an incidence of failing to branding ourselves with lifelong not-measuring-up-ness. You are enough. Your efforts are enough. God doesn’t look at you and see a failure, instead he sees you as a success in Him.
My favorite verse when I feel like I’m failing is Romans 8:37, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (NASB) In all these things, in all your mess, in all your laundry, your hectic work schedules, the bedtime kisses you miss and the books you didn’t read. In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer.
You, friend, are not alone and you are overwhelmingly not a failure. Take heart, you are a conqueror.
I feel and have felt the exact same way at times over the last 5 years. Well 5 years later and 3 boys. So my advice is give it to the Lord. My new years resolution was to pick 1 task and complete it (compiling my family recipe book) no matter what or how long it takes me. Second, to receive my kids instead of them receiving me. Meaning I wake up at 6am get ready, priortize my morning, getting my kids dressed and getting out the door. Best of luck and lean on your christian moms for prayers and support. It is a season..
It IS a season, right? OOOH, i like that, “receiving my kids” and the idea of being ready for them. I struggle with this, honestly, but you’ve given me something to think about and chew on. Thanks for your comment and your encouragement!
As a foster mom to lots of boys, I’ve seen moms who are failing and you are not in that category! You have already stated that you feed your kids, do their laundry, and make sure they bathe…at least on a semi-regular basis. It’s evident that you love them and that will cover a multitude of perceived failings.
I’m not a single mom, but I’ve got 6 kids and I too feel like a lot of things fall through the cracks. I just try to remember that no kid ever died because they didn’t shower for 1 (or 2 or 3) days in a row, or because they have to wear dirty jeans on occasion, or because we’ve had some form of pasta 3 times this week.
Just keep loving them and keep running the good race. You are their mom and despite your “failings” you are exactly what they need!
I love this…”no kid ever died because they didn’t shower for 1 (or 2 or 3) days in a row.” It is so very true. Honestly, the things that we often think are falling through the cracks are minute and of little to no importance, but the things that we are making a priority, now those can be the lasting things. And those words, Alicia that you just said to me, please whisper them to yourself when you feel like you are failing because they are just as true of you as they are of me. Thanks so much for sharing your words here. Kristina
Hi. I’m a recently remarried single mama so I completely understand where you’re coming from and wanted to say you are doing a great job! There are things that we get told are important which simply are not…Decide what YOU choose to prioritize for you and your little men. There is none of us (doing it solo or not) that can be all things. I know it’s tough, but your presence, your commitment and your willingness to laugh when things aren’t perfect are giving your son more than you imagine. Keep it up!Keep sharing – it helps to know we’re not alone!
Sunny, thank you so much for commenting. It is so true that we aren’t alone and we need to be each other’s cheerleaders. Whether single, or married this mothering gig is hard work. You keep up the good work as well, there mama! And congratulations on your remarriage! -Kristina
[…] Day 4 – When You Feel Like You’re Failing at Life […]
I am single mother with 14 and 15 year old. They fight and fight. I lose temper and say things i shouldn’t. I feel guilty that our home hasn’t always been a happy place. I failed in bringing them to church even though they do know i believe in God and have gone to church, but not consistently. I feel ike they are too old for changes to really make a difference, like it is too late. I haven’t handled my emotions the right way for years and now they can struggle with anger. They have been my entire life and yet i have made too many mistakes. I feel like a failure most days.