This is a tough article to write since it’s a look back on the many ways that I’d fallen short as a mom. Part of me wants to deny my mistakes by clinging to the old adage, “Nobody’s perfect.” But the other part of me knows how healthy it is to face my shortcomings head-on.
The truth is, each of us will fall short in our parenting at one time or another. Some of us may fall very short and feel like we’ve completely failed our kids. If that’s you, please be encouraged today. I’ve learned a few hard lessons about falling short as a mom. I hope by sharing them with you, you’ll be a little less hard on yourself moving forward.
Lesson One: Many things are out of our control.
Moms, I get it. We’re hard-wired to feel responsible for everyone and everything ALL of the time. We believe that if we can maintain a Pinterest-perfect life, everything will run smoothly without a hitch. But that’s not reality. Stuff happens. And much of it is completely out of our control.
In this article, Mistress of the Universe: Learning to Let Go of Control, the writer admits, “I’ve tried to affect the outcome of nearly every circumstance, and secretly wanted to control the entire universe.”
If you’ve been grasping to control the spiraling situations in your family life, it’s time to let go. The key is to focus on the things you can control, such as your emotions, your words, and your actions. You can’t predict every outcome. And quite frankly, some situations will sweep the rug right out from under you, leaving you flat on your back. But the sooner you release your white-knuckled grip on what you can’t control, the sooner you’ll be able to breathe a much-needed sigh of relief.
Lesson Two: We cannot go backward, only forward.
I’m sorry to say this, but regret is part of every mom’s life. There is no way to avoid it. Every single one of us will look back and say, “I should have.” This is a reality of parenting that we cannot escape.
However, all we have is the here and now. There is no way we can go back in time and fix our mistakes. Taking the next step, no matter how difficult, is really the only choice we have. Stop living in the regrets of the past and look forward to a bright and beautiful future with your kids.
Lesson Three: We need to be better at forgiving ourselves.
For some reason, moms have the hardest time giving themselves grace. It’s as though our shortcomings are forever stamped on our parenting record. But I’d like to encourage you, from the depths of my heart, to forgive yourself often. It does no good to hang onto failures. In fact, dwelling on them only causes more anxiety, which can seriously affect the way you parent (in a negative way).
In this article from Motherly, they suggest “embracing your imperfections, laughing at yourself, and being willing to change and improve.” If you need to ask your child’s forgiveness for something, by all means, do it. But on the same hand, forgive yourself just as readily.
Ultimately, as moms, we’re in this together. Don’t try to walk this parenting journey alone. Find a mom’s group that will provide camaraderie, support, and openness about falling short. Soon, you’ll be letting things go, giving yourself grace, and moving forward just like the great mom that you are.