When You Think You’re Failing as a Mother

Encouragement for Moms

It had been one of those mornings.

You know the kind. The kind of the morning when the attitudes and behavior displayed by your children drive you to despair that they will ever become productive, law abiding citizens.

Yeah, that kind.

There was complaining – about everything.

There was selfishness – lots of selfishness.

There were rude comments.

Oh, and did I mention complaining?

All of these things were made exponentially worse by the fact that all 6 of my kids were in the mix. 

As we loaded the car later that morning and headed to my co-op teacher training at a local park, it was hard to muster a smile to cover the insecurity and doubt that I felt about my skills as a mother, a homeschooler and co-op teacher.

It was a beautiful day and the kids eagerly scrambled out of the car onto the playground.

I watched nervously as the other co-op teachers rambled in one by one, parking their cars and unloading their broods.

I wonder if the 8-year old will get mad and push his brother?  How long until the 5-year old begins whining?  Will my awkward tween daughter engage with the other girls her age or will she hang out on her own being – well, awkward?

One teacher’s daughter walked past noticing a mom-of-many littles struggling and offered her assistance.

I observed with gratitude another teacher’s son being kind to my difficult 8-year old. 

Some of the teachers’ older boys started a game of soccer with the younger boys.

Although I was blessed by the other teachers’ well-behaved children at the park, I also began comparing their behavior to my kids’ behavior earlier in the day and couldn’t help but feel even more discouraged.

Our tutor meeting began with light chat and laughter.  How I cherished these women!  Each talented and beautiful in their own way, we talked about how school was going and how we were looking forward to Spring right around the corner. 

We poured over our lessons for the next quarter, marking notes and sharing teaching tips gained by our years of teaching.

As we wrapped things up, one teacher’s son came over to lodge a complaint (the first one of the afternoon) against a sister who was insisting on having her own way.

Another teacher commented how her kids (the helpful one earlier in my tale) had been having issues with stubbornness.  One by one we began to share bits of our struggles with our own kids. 

One child had been on kitchen duty for 4 weeks as he stubbornly refused to do the job consistently without complaining.  I could relate to that – but 4 weeks!  That was pretty bad, yes?

I scanned the horizon, as moms at parks are prone to do, counting heads, making sure all my babes were accounted for.  I noticed my often stubborn son playing peacefully under the slides with another boy. 

My 5-year old leaned into my side, content to play with his toys quietly on the blanket.

My tween was laughing and kicking a soccer ball with the other tweens with apparent ease.  (What she may have been feeling inside is another issue!)

As we packed up to leave and the kids shouted their farewells, I smiled. 

My kids aren’t’ perfect – far from it.  But they are precious works in process – just like me.

Dear mama, if you’re fretting about your kids’ behavior, I want to encourage you that we all are!

 5 Verses of Encouragement for Moms

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-4

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Never lose heart that the consistent, daily reminders and even consequences and teaching that we give our kids will result in young people who help, who are kind, who are patient. 


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Marianne Sunderland has been married to her husband, Laurence, since 1991. She is a homeschooling mother of eight lively children ages 3 to 22. Marianne is passionate about encouraging families to discover and nurture their children’s God-given gifts and talents, in and outside of the classroom. She also encourages women to joyfully love and serve their families. Her varied experiences homeschooling through difficult times and with kids who learn differently has taught her much about learning how to trust fully in God for her family and homeschool. Marianne’s blog, Abundant Life, provides weekly articles on faith, family and homeschooling that will bless and encourage you.

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One Response to When You Think You’re Failing as a Mother

  1. Jen Epstein says:

    Great post. Very inspirational and aspirational. No one’s perfect and this was great thought-provoking content that helped better ground me and my expectations. Much needed, thanks!

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