Thinking You are Failing as a Mom Might Be the Best Thing To Ever Happen To You

Thinking you are failing as a mom might be the best thing to ever happen to you


Early in our marriage, my husband frequently claimed that one of the reasons he married me was because he knew I would be a wonderful mother. I would just laugh and lovingly punch him in the shoulder…but deep down inside (even though I would never admit it to him or anyone else), I agreed. I was so confident that I would be a wonderful mother when God blessed us with children. How could I not be? It was going to come so naturally to someone like me who loved being around children (and taught them for a living).


Ten years and three precious kids later, I can’t go a day without feeling like I am completely failing as a mom. I lose my patience with our boys, talk in too harsh of a tone, whine about having to get up with the baby, and frequently get exasperated that nothing ever seems to go as planned.


I thought I would be better at mothering than I am, or at least feel better at it. This was supposed to be my time to shine. From the time that I was a little girl, I have always wanted, more than anything, to be a mother.


Instead, most days I feel completely inadequate and unprepared for the greatest ‘job’ of my life.


Perhaps I had too high of expectations for myself…I was blessed to be raised by an extraordinary mother (of five children, mind you) and I rarely remember her being stressed or exasperated with us. My mom is an amazing example of selfless love.


I came across a quote recently that completely captivated the inward struggle that has characterized the last seven years of my life as a mom:


“‎I thought parenting was going to portray my strengths, never realizing that God had ordained it to reveal my weaknesses.” -Dave Harvey


Becoming a mother has forced me to look into a very clear mirror…and see an honest reflection of the state of my heart. And what I’ve seen hasn’t been pretty…by any stretch of the imagination.


I see selfishness.


Being responsible for the lives of three precious babies has made me see how selfish I can be…with my time, my energy, and my Dr. Pepper! In addition to meeting the needs and desires of my husband and children, I also genuinely want to be thoughtful of others. An entire day might pass before I get over myself and think of what I can do to show love to someone else, including those in my own household!


I see self-centeredness.


Did you notice above how I thought motherhood would be my time to shine? Yes, God has been teaching me a thing or two about self-centeredness. As it turns out, the world really doesn’t revolve around me. Perhaps I should have taken that Astronomy class in college, after all!


I see pride.


I realize now how extremely prideful I have been in the past. This is probably the single greatest work that God has done on my heart since becoming a mother, although He certainly isn’t finished with me yet. God has used my feelings of inadequacy to humble me and make me realize how dependent I am on Him to meet my every need.


If motherhood has taught me anything, it has taught me that I can’t do it on my own. I am too weak. I am too selfish. I am too prideful. But I think God is using those feelings of inadequacy to draw me back to Him. I love this quote from the book Give Them Grace:


“It is a kindness when (God) strips us of self-reliance, because it is there, in our emptiness and brokenness, that we experience the privilege of his sustaining grace. It is only when we arrive at the dreaded place of weakness that we discover the surpassing power of Christ.” (p. 152)


Yes, I might feel like the biggest failure of all. But then again, that might just be the best thing that has ever happened to me. Because it is in my weakness that I can cling to the One is never weak. It is in my frustrations that I can cling to the One who is slow to anger and abounding in love. It is in my selfishness that I can cling to the One who willingly gave His own life for me.


I might not be perfect, but in my imperfections I can point my kids to the One who is.






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  1. Thank you for your honest post, Janae! I am sure every mother in the world can relate. I thank God every day that I get to be mother to my children and also that he does not expect me to be perfect! I pray that God uses my imperfections to teach my children how wonderful God is, how we all need Him, and He cares for us – even when we are not perfect. :)

    I am certain you are a blessing to your family and to all that know you!

    Thanks again,

  2. Thank you thank you thank you for this post today! I just got my kids back from my parents (they were gone a whole whopping 2 days…) and I just got overwhelmed almost immediately with all things Mommy related… I always feel like I royally blow it every single day in one way or another. Thanks for pointing me back to the One who will provide all my needs. :)

    1. Kara, I am continually amazed by you! You have such a passion for life and for your children. You seem to approach each challenge as a new adventure! I love following along with you guys because you encourage me in this way (I tend to get all stressed out when things don’t go as planned). :) I absolutely loved the article that Samaritan’s Purse wrote on you and Erik! What an amazing testimony!!! Thank you for your kind words, friend!

  3. Hi…
    I have no idea how I ended up reading this, other than the Lord definitely meant it to be. I was looking for cute valentine’s ideas on pinterest and stumbled onto it; reading it struck such a chord. Thank you for your transparency….what an unexpected blessing in my day. I will definitely refer back to this and pass it along as the Spirit leads!

  4. Wow. Thank you for sharing your heart here. With every word I read, I thought to myself “Yes, me too!” I love the quotes you used, especially the one from the book- so true! I am so glad I read this today.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your heart! I read this a felt like these words could have been written by me. In the last few weeks, God has really been working on my heart and revealing my selfishness and pride. I love the part about how in our weakness, we can cling to the one who is never weak.

  6. Oh Jenae, thank you so much for sharing your heart! As I read, I felt like I was reading my own journal. I am an educator as well and mommy to 3 beautiful children. Everyday I fail and I wasn’t expecting that nor use to it, but God has certainly been using my imperfections to point me to His perfections. I love your honesty and have always loved gathering ideas from your site. Motherhood is hard yet it’s refreshing knowing we’re all in it together by God’s amazing power and grace. Many blessings to your sweet family.

  7. This is beautiful, thank you. I was just telling my husband that I’m so tired of the long days that seem to never end. I lose my patience too often with my children, my house is never clean, and my toddler spends way too much watching Curious George. Granted, my kids are young, I homeschool, and have a child with multiple special needs that requires all my attention, but I seem so quick to extend grace to other moms in my situation, and so seldom extend that same grace to myself. Thank you for the encouragement.

  8. I seriously could have written this letter. It was like you were in my head. I love the honesty and truth of this article. Thank you so much for sharing.


  9. You spoke to my heart today, as I have been feeling much of the same. Thank you for sharing. Mothering is both the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever done. I taught high school for 10 years and I can honestly say it takes a lot more patience to mother, but the rewards of being with my children and experiencing the day to day moments that make up our lives with them are so much more precious than any paycheck. I wrote a post about my struggles as a mother too.

  10. Thank you so much for this! God has been bringing me on the exact same journey, and I appreciate hearing your heart because sometimes I feel like I’m the only one. To God be the glory!

  11. Thank you for this beautiful post.That feeling directed me here. but above all, i appreciate the fact that you emphasized again the importance of depending on God in whom there is no weakness, tiredness, pride, selfishness but abounding, ever-increasing loving kindness and tender mercies.

  12. This is so so true. Except I never really thought if I’d be a good mother or not since our first was a surprise, we were thrown into it. But I’m humbled and shown the rough edges of my character every single day. And if not for the kids, you’re so right, I’d maybe never try as hard to be godly as I do.

  13. I have never commented on your blog yet, but I wanted to now because I want to thank you for this post . . . and all the rest of the great ideas you put on here for kids. Every once in a while you read something that really impacts your life, something you remember months or a year later when discouragement tries to set in. That is the way it was with this post. I read it right after you wrote it and thought, “Wow! That is profound, something I never thought of before. Maybe my feelings of failure and inadequacy are just God bringing me to the point where He wants me to be so He can better work through me.” Last night I was feeling those uncomfortable feelings again and remembered your post this morning and hunted it up until I found it again. It has been such a blessing to me as I’ve remembered that thought over and over this past year.

    1. Jessi, thank you so much for taking the time to leave such an encouraging comment! I floundered in feelings of failure as a mom for far too long until I realized that perhaps God was bringing me to a place where I needed to depend more on Him and less on myself or my abilities (or lack of abilities, patience, etc). I am so thankful that you found this post and that it has been a blessing in your life. Your words mean more to me than you will ever know!!! Thanks again for your encouragement!!!!

  14. Oh, my goodness. Truth. Love this. I also used to teach 1st grade. I was the “church babysitter” growing up. I just KNEW that I would be the best mom ever. Then reality and the shortcomings in my character hit hard. Anytime someone tells me that they could never homeschool, I just cringe. I know their perception is so far from the reality, no matter how hard I try to tell them. Thanks for being real! It is all a God sized job and if it does not drive us to him, then we are failing.

  15. All fathers should read this.
    I am a father of three and it makes me appreciate my wife even more.
    Thanks Janae for sharing this.
    I too sometimes feel inadequate of being a parent, not being patient when I need to, not being kind when I have. Your story serves as a reminder that parents need our ultimate Helper which is God.

  16. This was exactly what I needed. That Dave Harvey quote brought me to my knees. I shared it with all of my mom friends. Thank you.

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