If you are a parent, you will on at least one occasion reach a point of complete exhaustion. You will hit what feels like a brick wall and ask yourself the all dooming question “What did I do wrong?”. This can range from having a baby who refuses feed properly or a teenager who curses your existance. And about 1000 other scenarios in between. The thought that you are failing your child, or failing in your calling as a parent is a very common feeling among many parents.
I’ve been there. In fact, I AM there now. Sometimes I think about challenges I face with each of my children, especially my little man, and I think, what did I feed him today to make his tummy ache at 3am? What did I eat during his pregnancy to give him these allergies? Am I the reason he struggles socially? These are raw and current issues for me, and I’m conscious that emotion can very easily cloud my writing here. But lately I have felt a lot more clarity over these issues and the general topic of parenting failure and ‘mummy guilt’.
Hopefully I’ll share more about these over the next few weeks, but today I just want to give hope to those of you who are struggling and have the sting of failure threatening your parenting journey. As Christian mummies, we need to view everything through the lense of scripture. I know I’m guilty of losing my focus in this area, but the bare truth is that we can gain perspective by seeing our calling in God’s eyes.
7 Thoughts to Remember
- I need to remember, above all else, that God has entrusted my children to me, not because I have some superpower to be perfect or some ability to raise a perfect child. In fact, he knows every flaw I have but yet still entrusted me with them! He is fully aware that I will fail occasionally.
- You are not responsible for saving your child. You are merely a steward of precious gift – you are to do your best to nuture and love them as God loves us. We are to teach, instruct, correct and guide but ultimately, we are NOT GOD. There are things that will happen to your children that you have no control over, despite your best intentions you cannot predict what the future holds and how your child’s life will span out. By accepting the Stewardship of our children, we place the ultimate control and authority back into God’s hands, where it should be.
- Sometimes we make decisions that have a negative impact on our children. Yes, I did just suggest that there are times we will get it wrong as parents. It’s a fact. Thankfully there are very few decisions that are fatal or irreversible. Sometimes this is where real guilt clouds our emotions. In times like this, we need to practise what we preach. Ask for forgiveness, ask God for guidance on correcting or dealing with your mistake and MOVE ON.
- You only genuinely fail when you stop trying. Whatever difficulty or challenge you face, God has given you a brain and the ability to work, think and make decisions. What often feels like failure, can be a stepping stone to something bigger than you! It could be a part of a bigger story that God is creating and we don’t need to see the ending just yet.
- Very often, we think we’re failing and may even go around telling everyone all the things that are wrong with us and our parenting strategies. But emotions and a self-imposed ideal of how our life should be is just setting an unrealistic standard that we are trying to measure up to. If we demolish these ideals and say “I’m doing my best, with God’s grace I will get through this season in life” it is very liberating! The old cliche ‘take one day at a time’ is very applicable here.
- Steer clear of comparing your children with other people’s children, or more specifically, other people’s portrayal of their children on social media. I have written a post on this before, but we need to be very cautious about comparing our real lives to the lives that other people present on Facebook. People only show the best version of themselves, not the failures or challenges.
- I have suggested this already, but just to be clear, facing challenges and experiencing difficulties in our parenting journey is NOT FAILURE, it’s a normal part of life! The failure will only come when we stop trying and stop relying on God for guidance and help. We have the promise of a Heavenly Father who understands our problems, even when it feels like no-one else understands. HE has given promise after promise in this word that he will never leave us or forsake us. His mercies are new every morning and there is no limit on his love and compassion towards us. Let’s not forget that.
Hopefully this helps someone today. Next week I want to tackle ‘Mummy Guilt’, a toxic illusion that is ruining motherhood for so many women. If you have any thoughts on any of these issues, please get in touch or feel free to comment below!