Why You Need to Fail at Motherhood

Today I have asked my friend Brooke to guest post for us moms who sometimes struggle with failure. Be sure to check out her free resource below!

Why You Need To Fail at Motherhood

Six years ago, I sat on my front porch—infant in the swing and toddler in the pack-n-play—and told my husband to bring me beer and cigarettes.

I’m not a beer drinker, and I only smoked a few times in college. And of course I do not suggest booze and cigarettes to remedy your problems. I simply was NOT myself that day at all! As I sat on my front porch in tears that night, cell phone in hand, something in me snapped. After months of trying so hard to put on a brave and sure face to my friends and family, I broke down and admitted there was no way I could raise my boys by myself.

It was my “mommy moment,” as I like to call it—that space in time where my inadequacies and failures became too much for me to handle alone.

We all have the mommy moment.

Maybe yours was last year. Maybe you’re having it right now as you read this. Or maybe yours is yet to come. You won’t like it. You’ll feel like a failure, and you may even do something out of character, like call your husband to ask for beer and cigarettes. But I want to encourage you not to miss it…because it’s one of the best moments of your life.

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Go Ahead and Fail

The truth is, friends, we don’t have what it takes to be good moms. I know there are moms out there who look like they have what it takes. Their homes are immaculate, children seemingly well-behaved. They work 50 hours a week, have perfectly manicured nails, and a weekly date night with the love of their lives. They’re in perfect shape, not a hair out of place, all plates spinning at maximum speed with no threat of even the tiniest break.

At least it seems that way.

But at that mom’s core—that deepest, darkest part of her heart where the truth resides—she knows she’s not enough. She sees the spots and blemishes no one else sees. She knows how much effort it takes to keep those plates spinning. She hears herself yell too much, criticize too much, or choose the easier way over the right way because she’s just so darn tired. She knows the helpless feeling of watching her children’s childhood slip away and wishing she just had more time. She knows what it is to fear bad choices and want to protect them with her own body. She knows what it is to go to bed at night in tears, knowing she wasn’t the kind of mom she wanted to be that day…

Could that woman be you? She’s certainly me.

We’re not abusive, crazed lunatics who are ruining their children on purpose. We’re just normal, everyday moms who wonder if we’re getting it right, knowing in our hearts that most of the time we don’t, and feeling the pain of it all as we watch the clock of our children’s lives tick away. It’s not that we’re particularly bad at being moms. We’re just keenly aware of how much we need God.

Made to Need God

In John chapter 11, we read the well-known story of Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life. I was re-reading this passage the other day when something grabbed my heart afresh. It wasn’t new revelation…no…I’d thought about it before. But it was a fresh reminder that God’s ways aren’t my own. Read verses five and six with me.

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (John 11:5-6, ESV).

Yes, you read that right. Jesus intentionally allowed Lazarus to die. He could have prevented his death, but he chose not to.

What? Why? Why make a family suffer so much pain if you could fix it? It makes no sense whatsoever! When my babies are sick, I drop everything to get to them because I love them. And yet, Jesus allowed Lazarus to die knowing his beloved friends would suffer and grieve.

Why? Because miracles are often birthed from the place of our greatest weakness. Jesus knew that allowing their worst fear to come true—forcing them to face it—was the best way to glorify himself and give them a faith they would never have had without it.

That day on my front porch God made me face my worst fear—that I didn’t have what it took to be the kind of mom I wanted to be. It was true, reality, displayed for all the world to see. But that mommy moment—my place of great failure— birthed something beautiful in my life. Something that has changed the way I see my worth and value as a mom.

You see, the mommy moment doesn’t end in failure. It may start there, but it’s never God’s desire to leave us there. In his mercy, he allows us to see and feel the ruins of our lives, so he can build them into something that brings him glory. He created us to need him. Sometimes, he just needs to remind us of it.

It’s not weakness. It’s divine design.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

So don’t be afraid of your mommy moment, friends. The place of our greatest weakness can unleash the power of God’s greatest grace (<<—Tweet that). Embrace it. Feel it deeply. And remember that behind it all is a loving God who wants to show you his power, working a miracle in your life for all the world to see.

A Prayer for Today

Lord, there can be no doubt that we need you. Today, as we experience again the calls and demands of motherhood, give us an expectation of your provision and strength. Help us to recognize it when it comes, so that all the world can see you living in us.

Free Resource

This week, when you purchase Brooke McGlothlin’s newest book (co-written with Stacey Thacker), Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess, you can receive three free videos to help you take the content even deeper. They’re perfect for use with a small group or alone, and give you a behind-the-scenes look at how Brooke and Stacey actually live out a hope-filled life in the midst of messy motherhood. To get your videos, click here.

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Choose Hope photo cropBrooke McGlothlin is Co-founder and President of Raising Boys Ministries, most known for its popular blog for mothers of boys, the MOB Society.

She’s a boymom times two who believes God has chosen her to fight for the hearts of her sons.

She can be found most often on her knees in prayer, not because she’s so holy, but because God is. Not because she knows how to raise godly men, but because she believes in the God who is able to use them for his glory, despite her.

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  1. Wow… Just wow. This was so real and I’ve totally been there. Having 2 teenage daughters and a soon to be 10 year old son, I have definitely felt those ‘mommy moments’ many times. Thank you for your honest words.

  2. Oh, my! How I needed to read this today! (And probably tomorrow and the next day, as well!) Thank you so much for this. Your words really spoke to me.

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