When We’re Sure We Are Dreadfully Screwing Up Our Kids


I’ve been struggling with feeling like a failure as a mom lately.

Nothing in particular has happened— it’s more like just a constant through-line permeating my heart and brain all day every day, making me second-guess all my decisions and live in insecurity and fear as a mother.

I keep feeling like, no matter how hard I try, no matter how much I mean well, no matter how often I seek God and try to follow His lead… I’m certain I’m dreadfully screwing up my kids despite it all.

When I confided in a friend about this last week, she reminded me of the quote “Behind every great kid is a mom who’s pretty sure she’s screwing it all up.”  She reassured me that my kids are actually wonderful, well-adjusted individuals with great qualities and character, and that the way I’m feeling is extremely normal.


That definitely helped… and yet this tape reel has still been haunting me.

And then, yesterday, another dear friend of mine asked me how she could pray for me.  When I told her about this inner struggle I’m battling right now— this shame and fear of completely ruining my children— she immediately responded with this text:

“Aw mama you are doing great… The truth is we inevitably in some ways will screw up our kids.  We have to rely on God moment by moment.  I was just praying today that, despite myself, that my kids would always be led back to HIM, and this would be by example through me.  That even in failure Christ is always the answer, constantly pruning us, growing us, loving us.  I may not be a perfect mom but darn it if my kids won’t see me on my face in prayer and in the Word trying to be better day by day.”

It’s true.  I know it’s true.  I’ve even written it myself once upon a time.  “It’s not all up to me…  I am not called to blaze ahead of [God] and figure out this life on my own,” I wrote a few years ago as I pondered motherhood and the brevity of life.  Yet somehow I forget it.  I don’t know if it’s my pride or spiritual warfare or just “the inevitable way all moms feel at some point”… but, man, I really do struggle with this one.

And then tonight, as I was mopping the kitchen floor, this song came on the Pandora station I was listening to:

[“Oceans” by Hillsong UNITED]

And I found myself using the lyrics and melody to cry out to God in desperation.  As I sang loud, for all my kids to hear, I was struck with the truth of that song:  God calls me out— as a mom— to places I’ve never been.  Places wherein failure is a high possibility.  Places wherein I’ve got to seek Him and trust Him and depend on Him alone.  Places wherein I need to keep my eyes fixed on Him— despite the tumultuous waves of hormonal teenage girls, strong-willed preschoolers, and the constant surge of uncertainty that is my current reality in motherhood…

Yet, through it all, as the song says, “my soul will rest in [God’s] embrace / For I am [His] and [He is] mine.”

As a matter of fact, as the song reminds me, God’s grace abounds in places like this— places where I screw up; places where I falter and am filled with fear.

“You’ve never failed and You won’t stop now,” the song says.

It is just as my friend texted me yesterday: I pray that “despite myself my kids would always be led back to HIM.”  HE won’t fail them.  HE is faithful and good and trustworthy and wise.  And HE is greater than any of my weaknesses— even all of my weaknesses and failures combined!  Despite ME, He will show Himself strong and true and pure and good and dependable.

“All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.” ~Isaiah 54:13

Thank You, Lord, that my kids are in Your hands.  Thank You that You will take care of them despite myself.  Thank You that You are bigger and greater than me.  Thank You for Your love and Your great capability.  I love You, Lord.  I trust You and am so grateful for You.  Please watch over all my sweeties again today.  Thank You that You are with us and You love us and You are guiding each of us every step of the way.  May we tune into Your voice and follow Your lead.  Amen.

**If you would like to take some deep breaths, reconnect with God, and discover how beloved you are, I highly encourage you to pop over to Bonnie Gray’s site and pre-order her new book “Whispers of Rest.”  It is a great tool to help you reconnect, in simple and profound ways, with God.

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What about you?

What song speaks encouragement to you as you wrestle with your inner critic?  What friends can you turn to for help, encouragement, or prayer support?  

Please share your journey in the comment section below.