What To Do When You Are Feeling Like A Terrible Mother
I know you want to hide. You feel awful about what happened… believe me, I get it! Here’s the thing though… while you’re in here hiding, feeling like a terrible mother, your child is out there, feeling like a terrible kid.
She’s thinking, “I hate making mommy mad! I just wish she’d give me a hug. I’m so mad at myself!” She thinks you’re hiding because you’re mad at her. She won’t know you are really mad at yourself unless you get up, go face her and talk to her.
What happens when you fail?
Failure births humility. I am a perfectionist and get frustrated by careless mistakes. I’ve made many mistakes throughout my life as a mom, where I have said to myself, “How could I do that? That was so stupid!”
Then I realized, there was no REASON, it was just a mistake.
Each and every time this happens, I soften towards my children’s (and other people in general) mistakes. Failures are real.
The expression “mommy fail” is thrown around a lot. Lots of times it’s used as a joke, but the truth is, fails happen. When they teach us humility and soften our hearts towards our children… that is a good thing!
How can an action NOT define you?
“It doesn’t define me!” What does that mean anyway? When a person says they don’t let something define them, I’m always perplexed. If our actions don’t define us, what does?
I’ve come to realize, though, that not letting yourself be defined by a fail, means responding to a mistake so awesomely that, your response is what you are going to tell a friend about in conversation, not the mistake itself.
Which gives your awesome response power to define you, not the mistake.
On the other hand, if you don’t take the steps to intentionally recover from your mommy-fail, you’ll have given the failure all the power it needs to define you. You’ll find yourself making more and more of these mommy fails.
5 Steps To Recover From A Mommy Fail When You Are Feeling Like A Terrible Mother
- #1. Identify what triggered it.
Did you yell? If so, why? Most of the time, whatever triggered your poor behavior is something that can be corrected. If your child was acting out, you can take steps to train better child behavior.
If you are super frustrated by a mess, you can spend some time organizing and decluttering. Most mommy frustrations stem from issues that can be resolved completely or at least partially.
- #2. Ask yourself what you can do to prevent a repeat incident.
Do an internal audit. Dig deep into the why’s of your fail. If you identified in step 1 that your child’s constant messy room is what made you fly off the handle, do something about it! Box up his toys. Get more shelving. Splurge on some storage bins.
Put locks on toys, so he has to ask permission to get one thing out at a time. Whatever it takes. It’s FAR better for him to have just one toy to play with and a HAPPY mommy, than all the toys in the world (all of which he cannot play with at the same time anyway) and a MEAN mommy!
- #3. Picture your child feeling the same way about herself as you feel about yourself after a mommy fail.
Is this what you want? The way you want your child to treat herself is how you should be treating yourself right now. The way you want her to fix mistakes is how you should be fixing your own. With grace and compassion.
- #4. Pray these 3 scriptures out loud over yourself in a personal way, right now.
I have changed the wording slightly to make these scriptures speak directly from your heart and apply to you. For the exact words, please look up the scriptures.
- 1. “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in me, (fill in your name) will bring it to completion”
- 2. “…I rejoice in my sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope”
- 3. “I, Now repent of my sins and turn to God, so that my sins may be wiped away.”
- #5. Apologize to your child.
Alright, so this should be step #1! But you need to prepare your heart first… Say, “The way mommy acted/responded was wrong and I am very sorry. I will do all I can to NOT act that way again. Will you please forgive me?”
Accept forgiveness from your child, forgive yourself, then move on. Be defined by how awesome you handled the situation, not the mistake you made.
Your fail does not have to define you and stress you out. You can instead be defined by the stellar way you handle the mistake you made.
What happens if you don’t address your mistake?
The horrible sinking, sick, yucky feelings you have right now, won’t go away on their own. They’ll fester and boil and eventually, you’ll begin to treat others poorly as a result.
Your child is observing how you act after you screw up. She’s watching to see what mommy does because mommy knows best. That’s why you are going to address your mistake, do what you can to make it right and whatever can’t be fixed, you are going to apologize for and try like heck not to let it happen again.
By confronting the mistake and humbly going to your child to make it right, you are showing her that she is worth every effort to maintain your relationship. You are showing her that she is not to blame for your mistake.
Sweeping it under the rug, however, teaches her to do the same. That mistakes are shameful and she should feel awful about her own.
Turn the tables.
Imagine that your child disobeyed you. She got really mad and threw a tantrum. She then found a corner to sit in and told herself, “I hate myself! I’m no good and I will never be good. I can not forgive myself!”
You have a choice to make.
You can stay mad at yourself and embarrassed about what happened OR you can teach her that she is worth more than all the precious gold, diamonds, and rubies. Teach her that she can humbly ask forgiveness, receive it, and move on.
She’ll only learn it if this is how you feel about yourself and you train her by being a living example. How you treat yourself is how she’ll treat herself. How you see yourself is how she’ll see herself.
Practice this when you’re feeling like a terrible mother.
I want you to picture the greatest mommy you know. The one that has it all together. The one with the well-behaved kids, who is always pleasant. Now understand this: she has screwed up big time too! Oh yes.. she has.
You are not alone.
You had a terrible moment, you are feeling like a terrible mother, but you are not. And you have to get over this and move past it. Not because I said so, but because your baby’s heart is broken. And it will remain that way until you intentionally show her how to heal.
You messed up. Own your mistake, then own your responsibility to train your child how to move past mistakes. Make right what you can, take steps to prevent it from happening again, the let it go.
Thank you! You have no idea how much this has helped me. Emily C
I’m so glad!