Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Blog Your Heart Out: I'm a Failure as a Mother



When I read Stephanie Howell's challenge about blogging from your heart HERE, I knew that I had to accept. So often, I write more about work than what is in my heart. Today I wanted to share a little bit more.

I'm a failure as a mother. At least I often feel this way. Being a parent is the number one most important job I have, and yet every single day before I close my eyes and sleep I find myself reviewing my list of daily failures as a mother.

Failure #1: My kid prefers school lunch to home lunch. Have you seen school lunch? It's nothing great that's for sure. In fact after eating lunch with him one day last week, I realized just how plain and nasty it could be. Honestly I don't think this one's entirely a reflection on me. He is the pickiest eater on the planet. That combined with the desire to be "cool" like the other sixth graders means that he is likely eating his dessert and chocolate milk and then tacos on "Taco Tuesday" and that's about all the nutrition he's getting. I guess I'll make it up with healthier meals at home.

Failure #2: I cannot seem to protect my kids from hard things. Katelyn lost a sweet friend of hers this weekend. He passed unexpectedly from unknown health issues. No warning. Just gone. No more hugs. No more hellos. No more moments with a friend she adored and loved dearly. And with it returns all the pain of losing her brother. It just doesn't seem fair. And all I can think about is how his family is hurting and wishing I could do something. Wishing I could do something to lift their heartache and wishing I could comfort my daughter who falls apart at just the mention of him. I love you, Kate!

Failure #3: I don't remember at all what it feels like to be a teenager heading to college. Where have all those hard-earned memories gone of prepping for the ACT, or filling out college applications, or locating those "hard-to-find" scholarships? I feel like dead weight every time Kate looks for something or completes an application. I am little to no help. Was it really that long ago? Why I can't remember the tips, tricks, and secrets of a successful transition into college? I just want to make sure she gets all she needs, and I don't feel like I'm giving her anything.

Failure #4: I'm not ready to let go of my kids. I am DREADING my daughter moving out and moving on with her life. I recognize it's almost a year away, but when I think that this might be the last Christmas we're together as a family I can't help but cry. I raised my kids to be independent, capable adults; but how dare they actually grow up to be just that? I could keep them close forever. I won't. But secretly I wish I could.

Failure #5: I am brain dead these days. This goes back to #3. I just can't seem to remember my own list of "to do's." Let alone the kids' things. We miss things. We're late. We forget. The guilt I feel when something important to them doesn't go as planned weighs heavily on me. I just want to remember everything for them. It's not exactly healthy to do everything for your kids, and I don't. But I'll admit that I have to remind myself of this all the time. They are perfectly capable at 11 and 18 of remembering their own homework deadlines, church assignments, etc. I just need to let go of feeling all the responsibility and failure myself.

Failure #6: I'm running out of time. If you ran through a mental list of all the skills you'd like your children to have when they leave the house, I'll bet it would be as long as mine. When I think that I have just months to prepare Kate for her church mission and college, I start to freak out a little bit. Does she know the difference between delicate wash and dry cleaning? Have I really ever showed her how cook in a way that if stranded on a desert island she could cook from scratch or can she only just open a box of something and pop it in the microwave? Has she ever paid a bill in her life? Can she get her car to the repair shop if needed? How in the world do you address all those little life lessons that you've perhaps missed in the 18 years of raising her? Do I give up now or try to squeeze it all in and at 18 will she even listen?

Failure #7: I'm not happy enough. I struggle often with feeling depressed or anxious. Ask my kids. I worry a lot. I worry too much. My husband is a happy guy. I don't know that my kids would describe me like that. I wish they would. But I'll be honest. I'm tired. A lot. I get frustrated. I am not always enthusiastic. Don't get me wrong. I love my life. I couldn't love my kids more. And I love being their mom. But sometimes I just feel down in the dumps, or frustrated with the way things are going. I'm not skipping about as if all is well. I think too deeply about things. I worry more than I should. I think my kids deserve a more relaxed and happy mom, and I'm working on it. But I sometimes I feel like they are growing up faster than I'm improving upon myself. It feels like a race to be a great mom before they leave the house. Honestly I don't think I'm going to hit the perfection mark before they leave. Does anyone?

Maybe we all feel like this or at least share some of these feelings. I try very hard not to beat myself up over all the little ways I fail each day. But sometimes that mental list just gets the better of me, and I find myself wondering just how much I've failed as a mother.

29 comments:

  1. Oh sweetie, what an honest post and I know I speak for many when I say thank you for sharing your heart so bravely.

    This life is tough; it can be at one moment intensely and incomprehensibly painful and then so suddenly, wonderfully joyful. And we ALL feel like crummy mummies - we're all struggling, however together things may appear! And through it all is One who travels with you and shares your pain, your delight and your 'what the heck is going on?"-times. You are so, so loved. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Suse! What we do without His love and voice guiding us throughout this life? I have no idea. Hugs to you and yours!

      Delete
  2. Oh Jen, I wish you were near.. sending a big cyber hug your way. Suse is right. We all feel like we could be doing better. You definitely are not alone in this. I too am one who also feels like I could do a lot better. I know what you are talking about with college and are they prepared enough to go out on their own. I had the hardest time when Laura moved out. All of that is resurfacing as Brit will be graduating before I know it. I am so not ready for her to move out too. I too wish I could keep them close forever. And no, I don't think an 18 yr old would listen if you tried to give her a crash course in all she needs to learn. We just do our very best. That is all anyone can ask for.

    I am so sorry to read about Kate's friend. Hugs to you and Kate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle, it's going to be tough. I can't believe you've already had to do it and now are doing it again. Hugs!

      Delete
  3. This has moved me to tears. A tear or two may have fallen. I too, raised my children to be independent, leaders. Then they left home, went to college, now my last one is about to marry. Days I want to shout "STOP!" I turn 54 this year. The ages of my Mom, her dad (my grandpa), her sister (my aunt), her baby brother (my uncle), when they all went Home. I've had a LOT of reflection time since my birthday in April.
    None of those, who passed, got to spend the time with 4 amazing grand children, like I have. ALMOST daily! And I'm LOVING my life as Grammie! Being Mom was SO HARD at times. So many pressures I put on myself! So many things I failed at! I thought. But, in my reflections, I'm seeing now, I don't think I failed after all. I LOVED my babies! I gave all I COULD while quite a few tragedies, while life happened to me, to us. And I look at them now, I see my years of loss, and grief, and depression from losing so many loved ones (my sister and son included), taught my now grown kids love and Great compassion. I don't think I failed anymore. I did what I COULD. The grandchildren are my second go around! I'm not failing now at all! I think I'm pretty cool!
    I'm so sorry for the ramble!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki, THANK YOU! Knowing that there is a point at which I may feel better about how I raised my kids is something I need to hear. I'm so happy you've reached that point, but I also ache knowing you've lost both a sister and your beautiful son. Thank you for sharing that with me.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. When my mom passed away, I didn't want to live anymore! I knew I had my 3 beautiful children depending on me, BUT I COULDN'T MOVE in any direction of healing for years! That only came to me when I had my first grandchild 7 years ago. Now I MOVE freely! I know Heaven is real. I'll see them AGAIN. SO now I'm being the BEST Grammie I can be.
      Jennifer, I see you as an AMAZING , Mom! You're the BEST mom for your children!

      Delete

      Delete
    4. Vicki, I know exactly how you feel. It's so hard to move forward with all that pain. Hugs!

      Delete
  4. Love your honest post and it came as I great time as I am struggling with that last one two. I have a 15 month old and work three days as a teacher and am totally overwhelmed by it all at the moment and have been having meltdowns and feel like i don't spend quality time with me son anymore as I am too busy fretting. This is life as a working mum I feel and so we can't beat ourselves up about it. At least they get good scrapbooks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mel, just the amount of time we spend worrying about being a good mom to the kids should help us realize that we're doing our best. Shouldn't it? I sure hope so. Hugs!

      Delete
  5. A failure list????? I don't see failure when I read that list, I see a lot of strenghts! I am 43 and have gone my whole life without knowing how to prepare a meal on a desert island. I still call my Mom for cooking instructions. I think that as long as Kate has your number, even after she leaves home she will know who to call for help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You made me laugh. It's true, though. Kate can always call me. :)

      Delete
  6. Reading your post, I felt very touched by your honesty.
    The main thing I see is insight into real life and that insight and worrying over things show how much you care for your kids and how good a mum you are....having known some complicated families in my time it is the ones who don't worry, who don't think they are doing anything wrong or just don't care that concern me.
    Being a mum doesn't come with a guidebook and I often feel I am learning all the time and just as one difficult phase passes and you begin to forget the traumas it brought another one comes along!! LOL! I love my kids dearly and also wish great futures for them a home filled with love must be a good start surely??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I DO forget things as a new crisis arises. I wonder why that is.

      Delete
  7. These are STRENGTHS that God has given you. You have a beautiful, big heart. The fact that you feel all of these emotions and don't just ignore them (or worse yet- never experience them at all!!!) means that you are doing something right. Sending you so much love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephanie, thanks for the challenge. It felt good to dig deep. Hugs!

      Delete
  8. leslie1:51 PM

    I found a lot of comfort in the book "The Gift of an Ordinary Day" by Katrina Kennison. Just hearing her voice the same feelings that I had was a gift. And she didn't have a fantastic solution to every problem...just a way with words. My oldest is now in grad school. He still calls me with cooking questions, laundry advice, etc. -but now really listens to my answers! He has had his share of problems he has had to work through and has learned so much with each struggle. We are not parents in order to prepare the road for our children, but to prepare our kids for the road ahead...hard to do sometimes! hang in there, mom, you will be fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm love that your son calls you from grad school. That totally gives me hope!

      Delete
  9. I typed out this long response that was so nicely worded and it seems to have disappeared. In summary, I am so touched that you felt you could share these feelings Jen. From what you've said, I can tell you're a fantastic mother & just the fact that you worry about all these things is testament to that. After what you've been through in your life, no wonder you worry! Wish I could give you a big hug.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gina! That means a lot to me.

      Delete
  10. Jen - I want to add my words to all the others who spoke so eloquently to you. A group hug definitely is in order. Keep that list -- then someday go back and look at it and see how you feel after your children have grown and you have moved on from this point....I think you will see that you did the job you needed to do at the time you needed to do it and the way you were to do it. Hopefully that makes sense....I like the quote from Maya Angelou that says "You did then what you knew how to do, when you knew better, you did better"....and that IS so true. Like another poster said - she has lived longer than lots of her family...as have I...No female on my maternal side has lived past the age of 58....and I'm now 10 years past that and I have celebrated each of those years....and please know - those are not your failures, those are your learning days....Hugs to you, Lynn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lynn, what a beautiful note. And I love that quote by Maya Angelou. Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  11. #1: I think those grades -- 5th, 6th -- are such a time of transition for kids. My daughter is in 5th this year. This is one small area where your son can have a preference -- they seem to need just that little bit of independence. Even if you packed a lunch, there'd be no way to know whether he was eating the healthy food or trading it for Doritos. *sigh* I feel your pain.

    #2: There is no way you could have prepared your daughter for the sudden loss of a friend. Just be there for her.

    #5: Oh, gosh, we are this way, too, and we only have one child. And she doesn't have anywhere near the amount of activities that so many kids seem to have. We just got a whiteboard calendar to write things on, which I hope will help. At age 10, Gabi is not yet fully self-sufficient with remembering deadlines and whether she needs her flute on any given day, so we are still helping.

    #6: When I was 21 and first married, I had no clue how long it took to thaw out a turkey and called my Mom about ten times on Thanksgiving. Kate will call you. And consult the Internet. And it will be fine. :)

    #7: I sometimes feel like this, too. I am 47 and am likely beginning to experience some fluctuations in hormones. But I know if I drank more water (just read an article last week that said being slightly dehydrated can cause you to feel mildly depressed) and exercise more and ate better food . . . it would probably help.

    ~ Laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura, I love that you can relate so well. It's so great to know I'm not alone.

      Delete
  12. Jen, you have spoken so honestly for the majority of moms...huge thanks! I found myself shaking my head on so many of your points. Because we care so much about our kids' well being, we try to give them 100%. Two of my three kids have learning differences, which complicates things and take lots of energy, time and money!! Thank goodness for scrapbooking...creative escape.

    Thank you for the inspiration to art journal for ourselves! Always loved your layouts, but this blog posting so appreciated!

    Leslie
    leslieprice15@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leslie, I can't imagine the challenges that come with raising children with learning differences. The extra patience, the extra care, love, and time. Hugs to you for sharing your story with me!

      Delete
  13. I could relate to every single one of your topic's, so sorry for your loss, having lost an infant son, I understand the pain of being the Mum, seeing your darling kids hurting with each new tragedy, please know we are not alone. Hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so heartbroken that you lost your son. Every time I hear of someone else that has suffered through the loss of a child, I just ache to do something. Please know that I'm thinking of you!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Site Design by Designer Blogs