To the Mom Who Feels Like She’s Failing
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Are you feeling like a horrible mom? Do you worry that you are “ruining your kids for life” because of this or that? Did someone else harshly judge you as a parent, leaving you to feel about two inches tall? Do you worry, “Am I failing as a mom?!” “Am I a mom failure?”
If you answered yes to any one of these, I have found myself in each and every one of these at times. And, since I hear from so many other moms every day through email of social media I know we’re not alone.
To the mom who feels like she’s failing, keep reading.
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While I don’t know you personally, there are some things that I know I can pretty safely say to you. No one deserves to feel like they are the worst parent on the planet. And this includes you! If your kids know they are loved, then you are not failing as a mom.
If you’re even worrying about this at all, I’m guessing that you’re a good mom. Furthermore, I know what it feels like to be told you’re not, and this seems to happen all the time.
As a mom of 8, I understand the harsh scrutiny of public judgement by people who have no idea…they know absolutely nothing about you, yet they pretend that they do.
People are often not kind, people assume things about you, about me, and about everyone around them because people simply feel they are entitled to. It’s not right. It’s not right even a little bit.
Rewind seven years ago with me in my life, and I’ll tell you why I want to tell you that you’re a good mom.
I had four kids, seven and under at the time. The recession of 2008 and the days that followed had not been kind to my family. My husband went from earning a very nice and comfortable income on commission to earning next to nothing…week after week, month after month. He worked long hours, every hour he could, in fact. But, when people don’t have money to spend in the world of retail sales, they simply don’t spend it. This means that those who get paid based on what consumers buy don’t get paid.
We struggled. For a while we had family members helping us financially. We had family and friends giving us money to feed our kids and to help make ends meet, and then that day came.
That day when my mom told me that the government has programs in place for people who struggle, and maybe it was time to look into them.
So, I did.
My husband and I were and are hardworking people with college degrees, and together we had made the decision for him to go back to school in order to get out of the world of retail commission. To get through the necessary school, he took a lower paying job that would accommodate his school hours and get his foot in the door so he would have a greater likelihood of getting a job when he finally finished school two years later.
The government benefits we qualified for allowed us to feed our kids and to have health insurance that we in no other way could afford. Although I was proud, I was not too proud to do what I needed to do to feed my family and get my kids the medical care they needed without driving us into deep debt. Although proud, I was not too proud to accept the help that I knew we needed.
I always tell people that we all do what we do and make the decisions that need to be made at the time they need to be made. No one should look at a decision that is made by someone else and assume that they know whether that was a good decision or not. Me, you, and everyone else, we should all be given the grace and understanding that in life, we do what we feel is best for us at the time. And for us, it was to accept the benefits that we qualified for, even if I didn’t like it.
On one particularly difficult day I was standing in the checkout lane at the grocery store with a full cart and my four kids in tow. I also had my food stamps card in my hand, ready to pay for my groceries.
It was while standing there that the woman in line behind me piped up and said, “Ya know, maybe you shouldn’t have all those kids if you can’t afford to pay for them all. That’s my hard earned money you’re using there to pay for food to feed your kids. How irresponsible of a mother are you?”
I’m being serious right now. Although, it really isn’t all that surprising in today’s world, is it? I debated about whether to just leave at that moment. Maybe I could just leave and never come back. Never ever.
Luckily the cashier rescued me, giving me what seemed to be an extra friendly greeting.
Swallowing an enormous lump in my throat I mumbled something back. Thank goodness the woman behind me had vanished. I really have no idea where she went.
As I handed my food card over, I felt like the biggest failure. I felt like the worst mom on the planet. I began to question everything about who I was in that moment….because maybe…that woman was right. Maybe I was the bad mom she so graciously told me I was.
After what seemed like an eternity, we were all checked out and ready to leave. We stopped at the back of the store so I could try to find my keys. Is it any wonder that I couldn’t find them since the tears had begun welling up in my eyes?
I fumbled and I fumbled while praying that I could just find them and get to the shelter of my car when a man, perhaps in his mid-sixties, came over and laid his hand on my shoulder. He then smiled at my kids for a moment and turned his attention to me. He smiled one of those most gentle smiles, the kind when his whole face beamed of love and said,
“You’re a good mom. I’m not sure why you needed to hear that, but the good Lord told me to come over here and tell you that you’re a good mom.”
Oh the tears. I could not contain them anymore. My challenge quickly became not giving in to the full heaving sobs that were threatening to take over.
He smiled again and said, “Don’t forget what I told you, now. Not ever.”
I told him thank you or something like that and turned to look at my son who was getting into some sort of mischief behind me at this point.
Then, just as quickly as he appeared, that kind man vanished.
His words were a lifeline to me that day. I really don’t know what I would have done if he had not been there and told me that.
And so, I wanted to tell you that it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re a good mom.
Because you are.
You are a good mom.
If you’re looking for some more mom encouragement, there is plenty of it in the Homemaking Bundle. I loved listening to the interviews from the Mom Conference as well as Everyday Hope: Real Encouragement For Worn & Weary Moms by Kayse Pratt.
There is more than enough mom encouragement in the bundle, but it also takes on saving money, cleaning and organizing, self-care, recipes and more!
Check it out below!