This phrase is one I have been wanting to write about for the last couple of days; how fitting that Mother’s Day is approaching and this topic is on my heart. When you saw the title “Mom Fail!” you may have wrongly assumed I would share some cute little anecdote that highlights the struggles and pains of motherhood; some relatable tale of frustration and “failures.”
While I love seeing mothers reach out to one another in solidarity, sharing not only the joys but also the struggles, I do not love the term “mom fail.” When this term first emerged I did think it was quite relatable and I have even used it a time or ten myself, though usually with a chuckle or smile. However, I have been experiencing a growing dislike of this term.
I did not fail when my child wore pyjamas all day. I did not fail when I did not have a lovely home-cooked meal on the table. I did not fail when I was snappy with one (or several) of my children. I did not fail when my house was too messy, nor when it was “too clean” (do not ask me when that was, that is more a hypothetical example). I did not fail when I spent 10 minutes on Facebook rather than playing with my children. I did err, I do err, and I will continue to err. To err is human. I would not dream of telling my child he or she FAILED when they struggled. My infant did not FAIL when he tripped and fell. My preschooler did not FAIL when he had a tantrum. My kindergartener did not FAIL when he picked on his little brother (likely resulting in the aforementioned tantrum). My fourth grader did not FAIL when she forgot to feed the dogs three days in a row and someone else had to do the chore for her. My sixth grader did not FAIL when she chose fitting in over kindness.
If I would not dream of saying my children failed when they struggled; when they made a mistake, when they were LEARNING out loud; why would I say I failed when I did the same? Motherhood is a glorious hodge-podge of smiles and tears, victories and struggles. We all have those days. The days when “mom fail” seems like a hard and true fact of our existence. Can you do yourself a favour? Please, give yourself a gift this Mother’s Day. Drop “mom fail” from your vocabulary. Maybe replace it with “mom life”, or “the struggle is real!”, or anything else that appeals to you. Maybe it is just me, I mean “mom fail” is cute and catchy in a way. However, I have decided to refuse to attach FAIL to anything I do. I have only failed if I refuse to try again; if I admit defeat and thrown in the towel.
In those moments when “mom fail” feels like a deep-rooted truth take a deep breath, and face that you are human. Struggling is okay. Do what you need to do to make it to the next “mom victory.” Ask your husband to take over, call a friend to come for coffee…eat cereal for breakfast. Most importantly, grant yourself the grace you would grant to your loved ones. Your mistakes are not failures, they are opportunities to learn and grow.
On the subject of learning and growing, please oh please stop comparing your life to blogs or Facebook posts. For the love of joy, peace, and your own sanity just stop. You do not need to justify where you are at in your journey. Is my house too messy or too clean? Am I too controlling or too relaxed? Am I too structured or too unstructured? While plenty can be learned from parenting posts and books, your walk is yours and no one else’s. Whether I am looking to justify my stance on an issue or looking to grow in an area, I will be able to find something written that agrees with me. I will also be able to find something that disagrees with me! While reading can illuminate in us an area we were previously blind to, nothing is as valuable as trusting and open relationships.
When we share life, real life not just the Facebook highlight reel, we can learn so much about ourselves. In our most trusted relationships we can begin to see through another’s eyes. We can be lovingly guided through our struggles, and we can be shown areas where we are victorious! As much as I have enjoyed and felt enriched by words I have read, nothing has encouraged my growth as much as the relationships that I have invested in and the people who have invested in me. The people in my life are part of the reason I can now see I was NEVER “mom failing,” but simply “mom growing.”
I pray your growth is supported and encouraged, and that you could be a support and encouragement to others. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Happy Mother’s Day!