You’re a good mom. For a mom struggling with mommy guilt, these can be the toughest four words to swallow in motherhood. But for me, these were the four words I needed to hear the other day at the grocery store.
It was a typical shopping trip with my special-needs son. While my son is a smart kid with a seemingly normal personality for a rambunctious 6-year-old, he struggles with major impulse control issues. This can make grocery shopping quite an event.
That day, I had my 2-year-old in the carrier on my back, which made it easier for me to chase my other son across the store if the need arose. As usual, the trip was fraught with “No!” and “Please don’t touch all the food!” and “We don’t ram our cart into other people!” It was like fitting in a 5k marathon into a 30-minute shopping trip.
I was a hot mess by the end of the trip, struggling to keep my cool and holding back the tears as the by-standers at the checkout counter not-so-quietly commented on my parenting skills and my son’s behavior. All I wanted to do was hide.
I was embarrassed, frustrated, guilt-ridden, and exhausted. Then it happened.
“You’re a good mom.”
A quiet voice stood out from the crowd and a warm hand cradled my shoulder. I glanced to my side (hoping for that moment my son wouldn’t dart out the doors into the street) to find a silver-haired woman standing beside me with kind eyes and a calming smile.
“You’re a good mom,” she said. “And he’s being such a good helper.”
If she could only feel the exhale my heart gave at the sound of her words. She offered me and my son such grace in that moment — and all the other voices fell silent.
She’ll never know how hard I cried once I got into my car with my two kids. I needed to hear those words, even if I didn’t believe them at the time.
The truth is, I didn’t feel like a good mom that day. I didn’t believe it. And as much as I needed to hear those words, they were very hard to accept.
Those words brought healing to my heart. Not because I believed them, but because someone else did. Because someone else took the time to notice my struggle and offer me comfort — a complete stranger at that.
So today, let me be that kind voice telling you that you’re a good mom. For all the sleepless nights, the moments of regret, and the love you pour out on your child, you’re a good mom. For all the those times you’ve watched your child sleep, hoping and praying that your mistakes don’t royally screw everything up, you’re a good mom. For those times when you struggle to keep your cool and you feel like a total failure, you’re a good mom.
Because you show up every day anyway. You wake up and face the battle head on, ready to try again and again to love your child with the best you have for that day.
Friend, you ARE a good mom.
It’s taken me a while to be able to accept these four words for myself. Still, sometimes I need help reminding myself that I am a good mom.
If you need a little help getting out of the self-doubt, here are a few strategies I’ve used to help myself on the days I’m having a hard time believing it:
I talk to someone who believes in me.
When I’m feeling weighed down by my own feelings of self-doubt, I go to someone who I know believes in me. For me, this is my husband. He is SO good at helping me wade through the feelings of guilt and self-doubt to find out where it’s coming from.
Usually, my feelings can be traced back to an unrealistic expectation I have placed on myself. Knowing this and having someone help me identify the unnecessary pressure I’ve put on myself helps me fix the root problem.
Sometimes, all I need to do is change my expectations. Easier said than done, I know, but having someone near who loves you can help you find the grace you need to give to yourself.
I talk to myself the way I’d talk to a friend.
Most of the time, we give other people far more grace than we give ourselves. When I start feeling down about my abilities as a mom, I ask myself, “What would you say to So-and-So if they were struggling with this?”
And I know exactly what I’d do. I’d encourage them and list all the ways they are a fantastic mom. If I can do that for someone else, then I can do it for myself — and so can you.
It’s okay to be your own friend. In fact, it’s necessary.
I snuggle with my kids.
Sounds simple, but physical affection toward your children is one of the best ways to overcome self-doubt. Why? Because in that moment, pain from past failures can be repaired and damage to our confidence can be mended.
Our children are excellent sources of grace. They tend to approve of us when we don’t approve of ourselves. Having some snuggle time with them reaffirms that our love for one another is all that matters, and it’s what carries us in difficult times. And if you’re loving your children today, you are a good mom.
Whenever I feel insufficient, I remember that God’s grace is sufficient for me. In all my life, not matter how I’ve failed and no matter how hard I can be on myself, the Lord ALWAYS comforts me. He knows my struggles (and yours!), and He is always there to listen to my heart’s cry.
I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was terrified. After we found out, I remember going on a drive with my husband, looking out the window, and silently pouring my fears out to God. In His sweet gentle nature, He spoke to my heart and said, “Stick with me, and everything will be okay.”
I’ve taken those words with me throughout motherhood. Whenever I feel the struggle and I get overwhelmed, I remember His words and pray. He has been my shelter in the storms of motherhood, and He can be yours, too.
So today, I hope you can take some time to be your own friend, get some encouragement, snag a snuggle or two from your little ones (or big ones!), and pray for the strength and grace you need.
Dear friend, you are doing well, and you’re a good mom. 🙂
Do you need some encouragement or have an encouraging word for another mom out there? Comment below and share it with me!