Yesterday, I recieved an F-minus in motherhood.
No, really I did. It left me not only feeling like a complete failure, but it also opened my eyes to some critical mistakes that I make as a Mama on a daily basis.
Mistake #1: Trusting a Toddler
Ever since our daughter was born, we’ve always felt like she was older than she really was. Because of this, our trust in her probably seems odd to most considering she’s only two and a half. I trust her to play independently in the other room while I do the dishes. I trust her to go to the pantry by herself and grab a snack. I trust her to go out in the backyard and play with the dogs while I’m cooking dinner. Shoot, I even trust her to go into the play zone at Chick-Fil-A without my physical presence. However, yes, there are times when her silence sparks anxiety and I go running to see what chaos she has caused. But, most of the time, I catch her quietly making a normal mess while playing with her toys or simply watching tv.
Except for the time when I found her covered in hair conditioner…or the time I found her in my parents bedroom putting Vaseline on the two littlest dogs…or the other time when I got out of the shower and she had put diaper rash cream all over the chair in the nursery – those things are harmless, right? *eye roll*
But, yesterday. Ah, yesterday was a different story.
My daughter is obsessed with dogs – we have four – and it’s actually becoming a problem. She enjoys eating dog food in the pantry with the door closed *ugh* and her favorite game is to grab a few treats and run around the house while teasing the poor dogs…and then she eats them. She doesn’t give the treats to the dogs, no, she eats the treats herself. (Don’t worry, Maddie is no longer aloud to play that game)
There is also one more game she likes to play with the dogs. Maddie loves to put a leash on any one of the animals and walk them around the house and into the backyard. Now, usually an adult has to help her put the leash on their collar – but not yesterday. Nope Somehow, this little girl managed to do it herself. She also managed to find two mismatched shoes and put them on the wrong feet.
And she marched herself, and our 80+ pound dog, Sully, right on out the front door for a nice morning walk.
Mistake #2: Not Locking the Front Door
If you’re a parent to a tiny human, do yourself a favor and make sure that all doors exiting the house are locked. Just do it. You see those videos all over Facebook about how babies are found just wandering the streets and it makes you sick to see. You know the videos…the ones where we are all thinking “where the heck are the parents?!”… “what type of parents don’t know their child is gone?!”…Well, just a little PSA: It can happen to anyone. You can be a dang good parent and not realize that your child has just let herself out of the house to take the dog for a walk.
So quit your judging.
I was in the kitchen doing something – honestly, I think I was standing by the sink scrolling through my phone, ugh – and I heard Joseph on the monitor. So, I walked to the stairs to head up and get him. That’s when the “mom gut” hit me, stopping me in my tracks, and I thought to myself “uh…where is Maddie?”. Normally, I’m pretty calm when I’m going to check on her, but my intuition was screaming at me to act quick. I just knew she wasn’t in the house. My stomach dropped. I looked out the window of the front door and there I saw her RUNNING out of the cul-de-sac, with Sully in tow.
My bright pink Crocs and I have never ran so fast and my Mama voice has never sounded so intense.
“MADDIE-KATE STOP!!!!!” I screamed over and over until I was by her side. I will never forget the feeling of sheer terror I felt when I realized what had just happened. Immediately after I snatched her up the lies started flooding my brain – lies of failure, lies of not being good enough, lies telling me that I just plain stunk as a Mama. And I believed them.
Pump the breaks.
First of all, feeling like a failure is. not. from. God. Let me say it louder for the Mamas in the back – FEELING LIKE A FAILURE IS NOT FROM GOD. Much of our weariness results from our constant battle against the world, flesh, and the devil.
The world would love to see you fail.
Flesh of humans want to see you fail – it makes us feel better about ourselves. Unfortunately.
The devil will do absolutely everything in his power to make you believe that you’re a failure.
But God? God wants you to succeed. God is on your side. God will never leave you feeling like a failure, sister. God is near…and if you fall He’ll pick you up and dust you off.
I get it though, our day to day life is fast and its busy and we tend to get caught up in the mess. At the end of the day, we are left with this feeling of not being good enough – this feeling of failure. We’re replaying the day in our minds over and over and we beat ourselves up for the things that went wrong: the way we reacted to our children out of frustration, or the way we didn’t greet our husbands in a loving way when he got home from work, or how we haven’t replied to any text messages/missed calls and probably won’t for a few more days. Or how you let your toddler escape out the front door and have herself a little adventure without you knowing any different.
Instead of dwelling on all the things that went wrong, what if we shifted our attention to God?
What if, instead of beating ourselves up about something, we give that feeling of failure to God and let Him dust us off and make us new. What if, instead of getting caught up in the mess, we allow Jesus to meet us where we are and give us grace. What if, we accepted the unconditional never-ending love + grace of Jesus Christ and we remember that if we do fail, because we will, He has a good reason in allowing it to happen. Learn from it. Stand back up and keep going.
With all the craziness and chaos that comes with motherhood, despite your best efforts, you must remember to forgive yourself every. single. day.; and strive to be better the next day. Listen to me, even the best moms that you see all over Instagram wonder sometimes if they’re really doing it right. But, in my opinion, no matter how good or bad you think you’re doing this motherhood thing, there is always room to be a better parent.
So, just remember, you can be a hot mess and make mistakes and feel like a failure (like me) and still be a damn good Mama.
P.S. – not 10 minutes after Maddie’s little adventure, I was changing Joseph’s diaper…I turned around to grab something and he almost fell off the bed.