I sighed and offered up a quick “Lord, help me” prayer as I crouched down to look my son in the eyes. I firmly corrected my dimple-cheeked, almost two-year-old, red-headed boy yet again. He had spent the last hour pushing other kids, taking someone else’s snack, and escaping the room through a supposedly baby-proofed door.
And then it happened. The final straw. He took a plastic toy fire truck and hit another boy on the head. As I rushed over and took the truck away, the other boy’s mom rushed over too. She scooped up her crying child. And as she comforted him, I caught the disgusted look she threw in me and my son’s direction.
She tried to hide it, but I know it was there. And honestly, after the way my son had been behaving, I didn’t blame her.
But that expression on her face, combined with my frustration over my son’s behavior, had me on the verge of tears. I just wanted to disappear. We quickly cleaned up, gathered our things, and left, leaving a trail of apologies in our dust.
After buckling everyone into their car seats, I barely had my own seatbelt fastened before the tears started to fall and the barrage of questions and doubts invaded my mind:
“How did it get this bad?” I wondered.
“What am I doing wrong?”
“What do I do with him? “
“When did I become such a bad mom?”
It Hasn’t Always Been This Way
There was a time in my life where I didn’t feel like the bad mom. In fact, I used to think I was a pretty good mom. I was the one others came to for advice. I had the kid who slept well, played nice, and did as she was told.
And then my son was born.
Things were fine at first. He was a pretty good sleeper, an easy baby, and so sweet to snuggle with. But then he learned to crawl and climb. As we crept closer to his first birthday and entered the toddler years, more of his personality began to shine through.
My boy can be an absolute joy. He has one of those 100-watt grins that lights up the room. He’s silly and playful and has brought so much laughter into our home. He’s also a helper: he loves to help carry in groceries, cook dinner, and figure out how things work. He’s strong, brave, and not afraid to get dirty. Splashing in puddles are one of his greatest delights.
My boy is also fiercely stubborn. He’s defiant and isn’t afraid to say “NO”. In fact, he tells me that multiple times a day. He’s determined and persistent. When he has his mind set on something, nothing will stop him. And because he’s not quite two yet and still acquiring verbal skills, when he wants something that someone else has, is curious, frustrated, or sometimes even excited, he does things like hit, push, and pull hair.
My brain knows that this will improve as he gets older and can communicate better. I also know traits like determination and persistence will serve him well when he encounters the difficulties of life. I know his ability to say “NO” will be a valued asset during his teenage years when peer pressure is strong.
Sometimes I just wonder how I’m going to make it to those teenage years.
My boy is still so young. There are lots of years of teaching and training ahead of us, which is both comforting and completely overwhelming all at once.
The sheer weight of the work he requires just feels like too much sometimes. It leaves me mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.
And That’s When the Bad Mom Lies Sneak In
Because that’s exactly what they are- lies!
I know deep down that I’m really not a bad mom. I love my kids, serve my kids, and enjoy my kids way too much for that to be true.
But when I’m depleted, drained, out-of-energy- and out-of-ideas, the lies come pouring in. They soak down deep and leave me a soggy, drippy, mess. All I feel is the failure, the shame, and the desperation.
They leave me blind to the truth right in front of me: I’m not a bad mom. My kid is not a bad child. We are humans in a fallen world, both prone to sin. But God put me and my boy together for a reason. He knew we needed each other.
Through daily challenges, my boy teaches me about patience, perseverance, and staying calm when I just want to lose it.
And although it’s a work that often leaves me weary, I am daily teaching my boy about obedience, self-control, and forgiveness.
Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”.
You Are Not a Bad Mom
Mama: You may be weary, but don’t give up! You are not a bad mom! We must stop believing that lie.
Parenting is hard, exhausting work. But we must keep putting in the work; we must keep training, teaching, and disciplining. If we keep crying out to God for the hearts of our children, we will reap a harvest!
There will still be days, probably lots of them, where my boy behaves in a way that is unacceptable. He’s still going to disobey, test the boundaries, and be outright defiant at times. But my job is to not give up on him. And as long as I don’t give up, then I can know without a doubt- I’m not a bad mom. And neither are you.
Check out my favorite book to help me gain perspective when I’m feeling like a bad mom and don’t forget to sign up to receive my printable Monthly Prayer Calendar for Kids: