When You Feel Like You Are Failing As A Mom

I have spent the last few days feeling a deep sense of anxiety.

It begins when I open my eyes in the morning and ends when I finally drift off to sleep late at night.

“You should’ve done math with him yesterday.”

“You forgot to soak his injured foot like the doctor said. What if he gets an infection and it’s all your fault?”

“You can smell the bathrooms from here. When are you going to get that cleaning routine sorted out?”

“He watched way too much TV yesterday. Why did you just lie on the couch and let him? He needs to be outside, playing and exploring. He needs you to kick the ball back and forth. He needs you. He needs you. He needs you.”

When You Feel Like You Are Failing As A Mom

I feel like I am failing. All the time. For reals.

Some days a little less than others, to be sure. But it is always there.

I feel like I am failing as a mom.

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We have our moments. The butterfly garden and the rock climbing gym. The computer builds and the sweet snuggles in the morning. But somehow, they just don’t seem to “count” as much as the screen time, poor dietary choices and lack of bathing.




All three are like a strange set of triplets that grab at my legs all day and weigh me down. I try to kick them off, push them aside, but they are more persistent than I am. At some point, I just give in, pick them up, and carry them with me as I struggle to do the basics everyday.

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I have been here before. I am sure I will be here again. I know it is not a logical thing. This harsh judgement of myself is far greater than I would ever place on any other mom I know.

The only way I know to make it through the haze of mommy guilt and anxiety, is to just take the next right step.

To worry less about how the future will turn out because of my wrong choices, and instead focus on the good that is right in front of me.

The sweet smiles and silly, made up songs.

My sons’ genuine love of animals.

The living room that actually is clean.

Encouraging friends that never fail to tell me I got this.

A husband who thinks I am an overachiever and is always quick to remind me that sleep deprivation changes everything.

The hugs.

All of these things are real – much more real than any anxious accusation I hear in my own mind.

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When You Feel Like You Are Failing As A Mom

Today, I choose the good. I choose the beauty. I choose the mess and the crazy and the tired.

I choose it all. I think we all do as moms – everyday with our children’s unique needs, the lack of sleep and our own dire need of coffee.

I choose to wake up each morning and keep trying.

I choose to open my hands and pray.

I choose to serve.

I choose to live this life, instead of trying to control it.

And I will always, always, choose to love.


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  1. Sigh . . . why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we think that we’re failing if we don’t live up to our own standards (which aren’t God’s standards)? More importantly, how do we stop condemning ourselves?

    Praying for you today, dear Shawna, and for myself — that we’ll peacefully accept what is (you know, reality) and let go of what we think should be. Listen to your husband and trust his discernment. It is hard b/c it is humbling but I think that is where the peace is for us. Love you!

    1. Thank you so much, Kristi. Love you right back!

  2. So, I’ve read this at least 3 times over. Feeling like I’m failing as a mom and waking up weary and then finding grace in the middle of it all… thank you for this post of grace!

  3. I’m right there with you, sweet Mama! {{Hugs}}

  4. You have written words which have long resided in my heart. Thank you for being open with your struggle and serve as an inspiration.

    1. Your kind words mean a lot to me. Thank you so much.

  5. Allison Walton says:

    I could’ve written this. Most days, I would write it without the positive ending. It’s one of the reasons behind my choice of “better” as my word of the year. Thanks for writing this.

    1. The positive ending only comes with 13 years of feeling this way. I have too much experience with it…praying for you this morning, momma. I think you are doing a wonderful job.

  6. Yes. Anxiety. You can know in your head that all is well, yet there’s a porcupine inside your stomach & it squeezes & makes your heart beat faster. I think it bouls down to thinking we are not enough…I wrote about it here: http://www.sarahbadatrichardson.com/am-i-enough/
    Sleep and exercise are the other helpers and fish oil…I hope you can release the porcupine. Mine has shrunken down 🙂

  7. Don’t listen to the liar feeding you all those lies and dragging you down. You are the chosen mother for your children for a reason. You are in my prayers, really.

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