When You’re Feeling Like a Failure as a Parent

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Are you feeling like a failure as a parent? For some of us becoming a mother was natural. As little girls, we dreamed of marriage, kids, white picket fences, visits to the park, and night time snuggles. We had plenty of practice with babysitting on weekends or even watching our younger siblings so our parents could have a weekly date night. We seem to have been born to be a mom, we are nurturers who walked into motherhood effortlessly.

When You’re Feeling Like a Failure as a Parent

Mom feeling sad text on image reads When You're Feeling Like a Failure as a Parent


There are plenty of us, however, that battle with feeling like a complete and total failure as a parent. Maybe we had the same dreams but soon found out that reality looked drastically different. Somewhere between, teething, screaming babies, tantrum-throwing toddlers, emotional tweens, and unreachable teens we lost sight of that dream we once held dearly. And when this happens, you begin to feel like a failure as a mom.

Then add in homeschooling, mounds of endless laundry, breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal plan, prep & clean-up, housekeeping, unexpected sickness, lack of money, and all the other demands of life.

That’s when we begin to question our abilities to mother and homeschool. We question if we truly have what it takes to successfully raise up and teach these little gifts that God has entrusted to us. 

Why do I feel like a bad mother?

Don’t allow condemnation to take hold when it seems like everything’s falling apart. When our kids don’t grasp a new lesson right away or seem to be behind their peers, it’s ok. If someone quizzes them and they don’t have the answer don’t immediately assume you are failing your kids.

Uncertainty happens when the voices inside our heads scream that we aren’t sufficient. Uncertainty is a cousin to fear. When we try to step out in courage, fear or uncertainty keeps the “what if’s” before us.

  • What if I say I can teach my kids, only to find out I really can’t?
  • What if I let my child down?
  • How do I know if I’m a bad mom?
  • What if they don’t get into college?

If we aren’t diligent in keeping the “what if’s” in check we will find ourselves frozen in fear. 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.II Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ (‭NKJV)‬‬

Certainty in Christ When You’re Feeling Like a Failure as a Parent

What does God say about motherhood? When insecurity keeps us locked up in fear, certainty in our Savior is the ultimate tool to break the chains of fear that binds us. Fear says, “I can’t.” Certainty in Christ says, “I can because God is with me!”

Genuine certainty is truly “God-certainty.” It’s less about trusting ourselves as it is about having faith in what God can do through us. It’s changing the message that is replaying inside our heads from “I can’t” to “God can!”

It’s renewing our minds to His Word. The Bible affirms this in Jeremiah 17:7: “Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord.” (AMP).

Certainty follows a divine design. You and I are made to do life in relationship and partnership with our Creator. Our imperfections are covered by His Grace. When we start to see ourselves through God’s eyes, we can embrace our imperfections and begin resting wholly in His perfect Love and Grace.

This also happens when we accept who God made us to be, as opposed to regretting our identity. Uncertainty keeps us taking part in the comparison game. We’re left yearning to be like them: more inventive, more creative, more patient, more educated.

The list is endless.

Nonetheless, certainty happens as we learn to embrace our weaknesses right along with our strengths. We grow in faith through our weaknesses as we allow God to be glorified through them. We become content with who we were created to be, not who we weren’t.

Count it All Joy When You’re Feeling Like a Failure as a Parent

Each time our hopes and dreams or lofty expectations of how motherhood and homeschooling is suppose to look doesn’t mirror real life, we have a decision. To push ahead with joy or throw a carnal fit and again feel like you are failing.

How we respond to “expectation derail” is 99 percent of what the outcome will be. These moments are key to growing in Christ ourselves and also building character in our children. Slow down, take a breath and think before you react because our reaction can either make us or break us.

Anger can get set off by the simplest things when they pile up. Child A fusses every time you are working through math together,  child B won’t sit still during the read-aloud time and child C lost his shoe again and we are running late for co-op again.

But, when we are consistent with prayer and time in the Word we start to become aware of the physical and emotional cues before lashing out at our children.

What does God say about motherhood?

Where does our strength as parents come from? The strength to resist the urge comes from the moment we took to read our bible and hide His Word within the innermost parts of our hearts. The anger is a bubbling, steaming, overwhelming fury that wants to detonate accusations against our children. It is the enemy of joy, but God is there with us. His Word rises up and then joy and peace win.

Eventually, we begin to acknowledge that we are deciding how we react in the battle. We have control over the way we see things and that ultimately happiness is a choice. Contentment is a decision. This is tied in with choosing joy when the going gets tough—or when things get hard humbly count it all joy.

It is knowing that we are growing in patience and training our kids’ character when we choose joy. It’s not easy when we try to do this on our own, but with His Word stirring in our heart, it becomes so.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” –James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ (‭NKJV‬‬)

My friend, the Joy of the Lord is yours for the taking! Grab it! Hold on to it! Passionately interlace it with certainty in Christ and all those dreams you once had as a little girl, you may just see some become a reality. At the least, His peace will reign and the feelings of failure will fade.

What do you do when you feel like you’re failing as a parent?


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Forest Rose is a God Loving, Blessed Wife, & Relaxed, Eclectic Homeschooling Mama to 3 girls – 7, 9, & 11 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She blogs at Kingdom First Homeschool and hosts a Homeschooling 101 Community on Facebook. She’s passionate about lifting moms out of the homeschooling trenches that are discouraged, overwhelmed or feeling alone or isolated. Her hope is to point them to Christ and equip them to rise up with a new found hope and joy within that He alone can provide.[magicactionbox]

when you feel like you're failing

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7 Responses

  1. Hi Carol! Isn’t it just like the enemy to try to hold us down and keep us focused on the negative?! I’m here to tell you that the courage it took to write this means that you are aware of his lies. Please, please, please don’t listen to them. They are a trap, don’t get caught up in comparison it’s a joy sucker. I know, boy do I know, how hard it is to not compare our kids to others. But we have a purpose, our kids have a different calling on their lives than their peers. All of us mamas are gifted DIFFERENT tools simply because we are raising DIFFERENT children. I’m so glad that this has encouraged you today! Stay strong my friend! Keep fighting! Ask God for guidance and horse blinders to only see your kids and your path, not those around. When we look around we stumble. Remember He has a plan for your precious kiddos. Give it all to GOD, Trust HIM completely and these fears will be less frequent I promise.

  2. Sweet Jo, you are no different than the rest of us! I’ve had these same thoughts myself. This mothering thing is hard, especially when life throws us grief and heartache. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Dig deeper into the Word, daily seeking, praising and praying. He will carry you. His strength overcomes in our weakest times. I will be praying fervently for the Holy Spirit to intervene and heal your mama heart. xoxo

  3. This was exactly me today. I felt like a complete failure. I feel like my children are way behind their peers emotionally and socially speaking. I feel like I am not driven enough or creative enough. When my children make mistakes I take it personally as though I have failed them. I feel very alone. And I am scared to really depend on the Lord, even though that is what I have wanted for my entire life. Somehow having children brought out the parts of me that I wanted to control and was choosing to keep from God. I need to step out in faith, but feel like I fail even in that. BUT this message has helped me to keep fighting the good fight and choosing to do better, choosing to make the right choices, by waking up early and spending time with God. Thank you. You have been a blessing.

  4. Jo, I think every mom would admit they have been guilty of being short-tempered, and reacted more than responded. It’s NEVER too late! Let her kids know you are sorry whenever it happens, and ask God to help you and give you the patience you need, as well as helping you to be more joyful. So sorry to hear about your brother! ~Kathie

  5. I feel like I’ve failed so many times. I’ve been short tempered and I’ve reacted more than I’ve responded. I’m not the mom I want to be. But I feel like it’s too late. I’ve failed. The damage is already done. I’m ashamed and feel sad that I’m not always more loving. I love my children so much. But I’ve just never been the same since my brother died 2 days before my middle child was born. It’s been 3 years. I feel so sad about how I’ve reacted at my kids. I used to be more joyful and less short with them. God please help me.

  6. Needed that encouragement today! Thank you. 🙂 Appreciate your use of Scripture and pointing me to God-certainty and choosing joy and contentment even when everything seems to be falling apart.

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