10 Things to Do When You Feel Like a Failure as a Mom

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Every mom encounters a day when she feels like a failure. Don’t let those days rob you of the joy of your family. Here are 10 things to do when those days come.

10 Things to Do When You Feel Like a Failure as a Mom | Life as Mom

Recently, we had family over for dinner and were having a great time. The adults were chatting; kids were playing. No one was really paying attention to ice cream being dished up for dessert. FishChick7 (the child who has severe nut allergies) walked by with her bowl of Mint Chip and something triggered in my brain.

“Did you read the label on the ice cream for nuts?” I asked my sister-in-law. She hadn’t.

“Jay, did you read the label on the ice cream for nuts?” she called to my brother. He hadn’t.

I raced to the kitchen to read said label at the same time as shouting, “Stop! Don’t take another bite!” to my daughter. Sure enough. It contained peanut oil. I just about died. She’d had one bite, but I’ve read enough allergy horror stories to know that one bite is enough.

She never reacted, but we took preemptive measures by giving her a massive dose of diphenhydramine anyway.

And then Mama had a battle to do — in my mind — to convince myself that I was NOT the complete and utter mom failure that I felt like in that moment.

It’s happened to all of us. You think you’re doing the right thing by your kids and then you find out that you’ve failed. You a) missed a birthday; b) forgot to make dinner; c) completely lost your cool over a minor infraction or d) all of the above.

Or worse, you are ignorant of the fact that your child could be eating something that could kill her.

(And yes, I know that peanut oil, when highly processed is generally considered safe, but I didn’t know which kind of peanut oil this manufacturer used. All the same, I had not exercised due diligence on checking all the foods in my home.)

The struggle is real, folks.

At one time or another, we moms encounter these feelings of failure, and wondering if we’re ruining our kids. Am I really the worst mom ever?

No, you’re not. The fact that you wonder and care about that question is proof that you’re not. But, we can all fall into that trap of wondering.

That’s when you need to do some troubleshooting. I suggest checking out one of these 10 things to do when feel like a failure as a mom. They aren’t listed in order of importance, and not all will apply to every situation you fall into. However, they’re a starting point for helping you get back on your game to be the mom you were meant to be for your kids.

10 Things to Do When You Feel Like a Failure as a Mom

10 Things to Do When You Feel Like a Failure as a Mom | Life as Mom

1. Eat something.

Are you snippy and short tempered because you’re hungry? Could your judgement and calm disposition get restoration from a quick snack? Sometimes we moms are great at feeding everyone else, but neglect to feed our own bodies proper nourishment.

2. Take a nap.

Sleep deprivation is one of the common conditions of parenthood. It just comes with the territory. You can run on “almost empty” for only so long before you turn into something that isn’t human. Make sure that you’re getting adequate sleep, even if it means letting the laundry go or foregoing some rounds of Candy Crush. You will feel better — and be a better YOU.

3. Text or call your husband, mom, a friend.

Call in the reserves! When you’re tempted to think that you’re the Devil’s spawn, reach out to people who know you and love you. They can remind you of who you are — God’s chosen mother for your children.

4. Read a good book.

Do you need a little time to just enjoy something by yourself? Once the kids are in bed — or set in front of a video — escape to a corner and read something that will lift you up. I suppose this comes with the caveat that which “good book” you choose matters. The Bible, Hands-free Life, Love Does, or your favorite book about motherhood are great ones for getting you centered on who you are as a mom and helping you straighten out your head.

Alternatively, whenever I’ve had a rough day with my kids, snuggling with a family read aloud usually helps us regroup and “make friends”.

10 Things to Do When You Feel Like a Failure as a Mom | Life as Mom

5. Take a bubble bath.

I’ve always had a weak back, but my whole body didn’t start aching until I was carrying babies in the womb, chasing after toddlers, or lifting kids in and out of high chairs on a regular basis. Sore muscles can make it hard for us to function.

Get in the tub and spend just 20 minutes relaxing. While there may still be chaos on the other side of the bathroom door, you’ll be at a better starting point for handling it.

6. Get outside with the kids.

Fresh air is good for everybody. It helps you relax, makes sleep better, and generally makes people happier. Plus, getting outdoors with your kids and doing something FUN, can help turn a day around.

7. Clean something.

If you’re feeling like a failure as a mom, looking at a messy house will only reinforce those feelings of blowing it. If you take 15-minutes to tidy things up, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as well as not be distracted by messes and what your mind might consider evidence of your failings.

10 Things to Do When You Feel Like a Failure as a Mom | Life as Mom

8. Pray.

I mentioned that this list wasn’t in order of importance. Prayer should be our first line of attack. Let’s be honest, Motherhood broke me. In a good way.

I was so prideful and conceited before my first child was born. I still am to a certain degree, but God has used — and is using it — to humble me and remind me HOW MUCH I NEED HIM. Pray is our opportunity to remind ourselves of our need for God and our privilege to ask for his help.

9. Journal.

When I’m feeling like a failure, it’s helpful for me to write things out. I’m a writer. It’s how I think best. After writing in my journal for 15 to 20 minutes, I usually come away with a renewed sense of my circumstances and a game plan for turning things around.

10. Think on what is true.

Feelings of failure are often based on what we perceive, but not so much on reality. If you keep telling yourself you’re a failure, you will feel like one — and act like one, too! Let’s not go there, sister. Instead, think on what is true.

You need to remember that you are:

You aren’t a failure. You’re capable of better, sure; we all are. You need to remember that you are the best person for the job. God doesn’t make mistakes. 😉

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  1. Thanks for sharing this! I was sorely needing to hear it. We celebrated Easter this past weekend because Mama was out of town ON Easter, Dastroyah was out of town the next weekend so we finally all caught up with each other 2 weeks late. However, that celebration is four days in the past now, and I still have a few dishes lingering from it. I haven’t done any adequate grocery shopping this week so there’s nothing to eat. We ate out for all three meals on a Tuesday. Yesterday we ate out for two. And today I am too tired to care what anyone eats. Yup, #MomSuperFail right here. I’m so glad our plans for tonight fell through. We’re going to eat grilled cheese, pile on the couch and watch a movie together. It’s a step in the right direction for sure.

  2. I think that all mothers with kids with food allergies have been where you were. I tend to look for nuts in the ingredients but still have brought home things that were processed with nuts or have peanut oil. The ten items are great suggestions for all moms. Thank you for the continued encouragement.

  3. Wonderful suggestions – and it’s encouraging simply to have it acknowledged that other moms have times they feel like failures…it’s not just me :-). Thank you!