When you are your worst critic, give grace.
“You should probably just divorce me and get a better wife for yourself and mom for the kids.”
Hot, frustrated tears left trails on my cheeks. I was tired, angry, and defeated.
When I initially sent the message to my husband, I meant it. It wasn’t that I wanted to get away from him or the kids. Not at all. I love my husband and children dearly, and that’s why I sent it.
I felt like I was failing at everything, especially at being a mom.
The tears flowed more freely, and I could feel the frustration seep out with each tear. Pretty soon, I was sobbing. I felt like the worst mom on the planet. The kids and I had spent several hours driving in the car, they were being disrespectful and disobedient, and I was not handling it well.
At one point, my oldest ran away from me while I was pushing a double stroller, trying to calm my second son down because he was crying over being in the stroller, and juggling the baby and a couple bags. I snapped and yelled. Loudly. I felt my face heat up with embarrassment as tears erupted from my eyes.
I either have horrible kids or I’m a bad mom. Worse yet, I think I’m a bad mom who has not raised my children properly.
Thoughts beat around my head as I watched my two oldest boys sleep in their bed. Then guilt set in. Had I really told my husband to divorce me and find a better mom for the boys? I cried even more as I dropped my head in my arms.
I had become so defeated that, in a rash moment, I crazily thought divorcing me would be the best option for the entire family. The “d” word is something that is never uttered in our marriage. It’s not an option. But I had become desperate. I felt like my family was falling apart, and I was the problem.
The problem is I WAS the problem!
But, I wasn’t the kind of problem I kept thinking I was.
I was not a failure.
I was not a bad mom.
Truth is, I was not giving myself grace.
My husband messaged me back . . . “Babe, please don’t ever say anything like that. You are not a bad mom, but the more you tell yourself that, the more you’re going to believe it.”
He was right. I was believing it because I kept saying it. I kept letting what I thought other people were thinking of me get to me. I kept telling myself I was not good enough and that I won’t ever be enough.
I forgot about grace.
I forgot that God’s grace never ends, and I already have it.
I forgot that the main person I need grace from is myself.
On that morning I feel guilty for letting my children get extra tv time so that I can get more sleep, I need to remember that I’m not a bad mom. Truth is, I had been up late the night before folding laundry and making snacks so that my children would have clean clothes and treats to eat. I need to give myself grace.
On that day that I end up snapping at my children too harshly for playing loudly, I need to remember that I have been playing single parent ever since my husband deployed and some days are just more difficult than others. It doesn’t make snapping at my kids right, but I still need to give myself grace.
If I were to look at every scenario that made me feel like a bad mom, I could find an underlying reason for each thing happening the way they did. No, it doesn’t make the reactions and frustrations right, but it does shed light on what’s going on. It sheds light on the fact that I’m not giving myself room for anything less than perfection. The problem with that is there is not a single perfect mom. Every mom messes up. Every mom fights battles every day. The problem is we aren’t giving ourselves grace. We aren’t allowing ourselves to accept that there is always room for improvement.
So mom, on those days when you feel like the worst mom ever, please give yourself some grace. Learn from the situation, figure out what needs to be changed, and then move on in the freedom of grace. Don’t get stuck in the “bad mom” thoughts. You are a good mom . . . a good mom that needs to give herself some grace.
What are some things you do to help remind you that you need to give yourself some grace?