I remember the day so clearly. It was a Sunday. My husband was in Greece for 10 days attending and presenting at a conference for Orthodox theologians. And, I was home with the kids.
I was already struggling with my attitude. I mean, my husband was in Greece–Greece! On that day he was visiting old churches, meeting new people, and (most importantly) having time to himself.
Me, on the other hand? I am not sure I had a moment by myself to pee in privacy. So, my bitterness began to well up.
It was also Sunday. I was trying to get three young children (6, 2, and 1) bathed, dressed, and to church on time. Before we arrived at church, we had experienced exactly three toddler meltdowns, one big kid argument, and one diaper blow out.
And then we had a two-hour liturgy ahead of us.
I went to bed completely exhausted that day. I also went to bed feeling like an utter failure. I had yelled at my kids–repeatedly. I had put my baby to bed early just so I wouldn’t have to hear him cry anymore. I had spanked my 6 year-old. And, I generally avoid spanking!
And, to top it all off, I was incredibly resentful of the love of my life and this amazing opportunity that God had given him.
It was an epic mom fail.
Mom Fail Culture
Perhaps you have seen the hashtag #momfail on social media. It seems like everyone (at least in my social circle!) is using it these days. Oftentimes it is in a joking matter. As in,
“I fed my kids oatmeal and eggs tonight because I just couldn’t make myself cook. #momfail” (Ahem, that may have been mine……)
Other times it takes a more serious tone as mothers share their real feelings of inadequacy and guilt. Are they they only ones royally messing up this motherhood thing?
If you have ever felt like this, I want to encourage you:
-You are not a failure. You had a bad day–you are not a bad mom.
–In the Orthodox Church, we take sin and repentance pretty seriously. So, yes, you may have sinned today. You might have lost your patience. You may have yelled at your children. You could have struggled with your attitude. These are sins. And, you will need to repent of them. Ask Christ for forgiveness. Go to confession. Pray for strength to lead a new and righteous life.
–But, we also take forgiveness seriously. When you receive Christ’s forgiveness, you are truly forgiven. And, when you pray for strength and wisdom, it will be given to you.
–You are not alone. Faith is meant to be lived out in community. Even the monastics have spiritual fathers. Speak to your spiritual father. Find a community of Christian women–some in the same place in life as you and others who have wisdom to impart because they are farther along in the journey.
So, what did I do about my epic mom fail? By the grace of God I moved past it. The next day I started over–and that is a beautiful thing.
Have you ever felt like a failure as a mother? What did you do? Tell us about it in the comments below!