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.