Do You Ever Feel Like A Failure?

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Lately I have.

Sometimes...

  • We leave the house for church and the front door is wide open.  (the neighborhood dogs love us for our kitchen garbage.)
  • We arrive at our destination and one or more of my children have no shoes on.
  • I change the baby in my lap at the table in a restaurant, instead of getting up and going to the restroom.
  • I don't know how to react when the emotions of my 2 year old intersect with mine.  So I send her to her room when she would better benefit from being held.
  • The laundry is piled high on the couch and instead of folding it, I sit next to it reading after the kids go to bed.
  • Instead of cleaning the kitchen floor, I just wear shoes so I can't feel the dirt and grime on my bare feet.
  • I forget to take the boys to their basketball game.
  • We could survive a natural disaster by subsisting on the Goldfish and french fries on the floor of my van.
  • My neatly planned chore charts and housecleaning schedules and meal plans gather dust  for days {or months}, and I'm convinced my children will grow up to be aimless, shifty, wandering homeless vagrants.
  • The chaos of children in my car is so loud I can't even think. I feel like the bumper sticker "honk if children fall out" was written for me.
  • The baby cries for hours on end and I don't know why.
  • We sit down to do devotions and not one child can remember how to be quiet or listen so they can experience the love and truth of God! or I forget to do devotions altogether.
  • Instead of patiently interacting with my children and speaking gently I let the irritation creep into my voice and my actions.
  • I don't invite friends over because my house hasn't been cleaned in too long.
  • I look at myself in the mirror and wonder:  Why did I choose that hairstyle?  When will my "real" clothes fit again?

These are all things that make me feel like I've failed as a mother and as a Christian woman.  I tell myself that this is normal.  Nobody is as perfect as they appear online, and even my real life friends aren't as perfect as they appear when I see them.  I tell myself that having a baby is hard and having lots of children is hard and I've only had two months to adjust.

Do you ever feel this way?  Maybe you have your own list of things that make you feel less-than?

Here is the other side of that coin.  Sometimes:

  • I'm terribly impressed at how well my boys can vacuum and do the dishes, and how quickly they say "ok, Mom" when I ask them to do something.
  • In the middle of the night the baby gives sleepy smiles to me alone
  • One boy tells me how there are skinny moms and very large moms and moms in the middle.  He likes the moms in the middle, like me. :)
  • So many things happen at once that I just have to laugh.  (A deadline for getting out of the house, a dirty toddler diaper, a four year old spouting blood after hitting his head on the cement driveway, a hungry screaming baby, and three children unable to find shoes...)
  • I push aside that pile of  laundry in favor of cuddling the toddler who just came to me with sleepy eyes and a need for Mama.
  • My son looks for me alone in the moment he makes a basket during his game and finds me with my arms in the air cheering just for him.  And I will never forget that split second of time. Ever.
  • My big boys take the little ones and play "kitchen" or "legos" for hours, just because they know their little brother and sister want to spend time with them.

Even though it's hard to remember in the day to day, I don't think we mothers could be failures if we wanted to.  We might have times where our standards are lower than others.  We might have moments of comparison when we don't think we match up.  But the truth is, nobody is in our same circumstances.  Nobody has the same children or husband or personality or history that you do.  And nobody knows how hard you are trying to listen to God and follow His heart.

Satan wants us to dwell on the first list I wrote, and he wants us to think that all those things make us a failure - that all of those things are somehow *wrong*.  The beauty of God and reality is that all of those things might mean failure to me, but they are a part of my walk with Him.  He's showing me that His ways are not our ways:

  • He's the ultimate parent of my children.
  • He can work, even through what I think of as failure.
  • I won't grasp perfection until I get to heaven.
  • I can try my hardest, and it's so much less than resting in Him.

 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:29

Learning Together,  Christy

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