Struggling with feelings of inadequacy as a mom? You’re not alone. This article will help you learn how to overcome the comparison trap and embrace the unique strengths and abilities you bring to motherhood. Discover the many roles you play as a mom, why you are exactly the mom your child needs, and some practical tips to combat the feelings of inadequacy. Here’s a tribute to mothers–for all you do, and all you are.
I was hoping we could chat about something today that impacts SO many moms… in fact, it might even be impacting you…
And that is the idea that you aren’t enough or that you have to be some kind of “super-mom!”
Feeling That You Aren’t Enough
It’s that pain you feel when you show up to the class party with a purchased box of cookies instead of homemade. It’s that pit in your stomach when you realize you missed the PTO meeting because, well, you didn’t write it down and never have. It’s that lingering heaviness of comparison whispering that you aren’t as organized, attractive, energetic, helpful, active, involved, educated, talented, noticed, or admired as the other moms around you. It’s the little nagging voice in your head that tells you, you can’t do what other people are doing because you lack the time, energy, money, resources, talent, skills, abilities, knowledge, or style.
And it’s that feeling you get when you walk into a school, community, or church activity and without any hesitation you find your brain trying to size up the situation and then quickly yourself, with that measuring stick that always leaves you feeling like you don’t quite measure up to the moms around you. And I’m guessing that’s part of the reason that one of my most viewed blog posts is about why moms feel inadequate.
Every mom feels like she’s failing in one area or another. It’s just the nature of the beast. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. – Jill Smokler
Motherhood–A Big Call
But here is the thing. You don’t have to measure up. You don’t have to compare. You don’t have to even wonder if you are enough. You are. You are simply enough because you, are you!
In fact, God called you to be a mom for this child when he/she came into your life. He handpicked this child for you, but He also handpicked you for this child! You were just what God thought this child needed to grow into the person He created them to be!
And think about this…God knows you better than anyone! He knows your strengths, weaknesses, and every detail of your life. AND He still chose YOU! Better yet, He chooses you and HELPS you…equipping and empowering you to do what He’s called you to do!
Mothering Is A Challenge
Truth is, sometimes…it’s not an easy job. So I’d like to take a couple moments to share a little tribute to mothers and acknowledge your journey of motherhood.
Some of you dreamed of being a mother and are living a reasonable version of what you imagined, and for that you are probably grateful. Others of you may have found yourself in the role of being a mom without much dreaming, planning, or preparation, and that can be a bit of a challenge for sure. For some of you, it’s more clearly not what you imagined. You may be:
- Facing the role of mothering without a strong role model to lead the way. You may have had an absent mom or even unhealthy or abusive one who only showed you what you wouldn’t want to repeat.
- Struggling with a child with various challenges, such as emotional dysregulation, that constantly reminds you with their words or actions that you are horrible, less desirable than others, or unloved.
- Grieving the loss of things in life that have changed what you thought parenting would be…loss of spouse, child, job, peace, health, or even safety.
- Doubting that you have been an effective or good enough mom when you face the hardships that your child’s life choices or decisions have brought about.
- Experiencing intense emotions and watching challenging behaviors that have nearly convinced you that you have no idea what you are even doing as a mom.
- Treading water with your own mental health, anxiety, depression, stress, trauma and questioning if things will ever feel normal for you and your family.
- Wading through life circumstances that tend to knock you down and without mercy.
- Waiting for God to answer the prayers that you have desperately prayed and pleaded in the middle of the night while everyone else was sleeping.
- Wishing and hoping that you could connect with a child who is nonverbal, disconnected, mentally or physically challenged in ways that you never dreamed would impact you.
- Handling the challenges of filling extra or complicated roles in your child’s life, and picking up the pieces of things that fell apart.
Many Roles In Mothering
I want you to know that no matter what journey you are on, you matter. I see you. I see what you give so graciously and sacrifice so lovingly (though once in a while a tad bit hesitantly) as a mother. You play the role of so many things, including:
- Comforter when things feel horrible, rotten, overwhelming, sad, or heart breaking
- Encourager when things feel disheartening, discouraging, or difficult
- Coach when you have to rally the family troops to get a task or goal accomplished
- Discipler as you walk your child in the direction of their own spiritual journey
- Emotional nurturer as you listen, care, empathize, redirect, reframe, reassure, reaffirm, and consistently love them through the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult
- Chauffeur as you taxi kids to and from activities, appointments, and more including a lot at odd hours of the day or night
- Cheerleader as you attend the numerous activities and quietly support (or shout! LOL!) from the stands so they know you are in their corner
- Teacher to help them learn the many things they need to handle relationships, jobs, friends, school, careers, and so much more
- Advocate for when they have needs but no one else to speak up, step out, or take action on their part
- Caregiver as you generally oversee their basic needs and nurture them from their early dependence until they can achieve healthy independence
- Activity coordinator for all those days you had to plan activities to ward off boredom as well as those you limited activities to keep from schedule overwhelm
- Health care provider trying to nurse them back to health from injury or illness, big and small, and everything in between
- Relationship coach (or referee! LOL!) as you help them learn to navigate everything from getting along with siblings, friends, teachers, teammates, coaches, boyfriends/girlfriends, parents, and so much more
- Housekeeper because we all know that for a number of years kids don’t clean up after themselves and then still need a little oversight, direction, or encouragement until they have a place of their own
- Protector from anything as small as a germ to as ominous as a ravenous tsunami, you relay to your child your desire and willingness to keep them safe and protected
- Program director keeping the details of what, where, when, with whom, and all the differing relationship components in place in the midst of all that family life entails
- Safe person as many children who are highly sensitive, highly emotional, intense, or challenging can often have that one person they tend to fall apart with…and while it can often feel like you are their target, you are truly the one person they know will love them despite what happens when they lose control.
When you take a look at all those roles, it’s easy to understand why you might feel exhausted, right?! You play a variety of roles that may or may not come easy for your personality. I understand.
Many moms talk about having a child who never runs out of words, a child who never tires of physical affection, or never gets enough of their undivided attention. So being a mom can push you to the limits of what you think you are capable of doing or managing.
And many moms play these numerous roles as they put their own personal dreams on the back burner to invest their own energy, efforts, money, resources, time, and focus on those things that their children desire learning, doing, or enjoying.
In fact many moms discuss their circumstances of mothering a child through special needs, disability, trauma, mental health issues, and more as something they could have never ever imagined in a million years. These journeys can feel impossible and all-consuming.
It may be that the sacrifices you make may never be noted by your child, maybe even until they have a child of their own someday, if at all. But someday, they may truly realize the depth of love, devotion, care, protection you felt from the moment you became their mom.
I See You And All You Do
I want you to know that I see you. I see the effort you put into mothering to the best of your abilities. I see you give when you fear you have nothing to give. I see you press on when you feel like giving up. I see you push when you need to further things and pull when that is necessary too. I see you mustering the energy when you’ve had sleepless nights. I see you find that small moment in your day to do that special little touch that says, “I love you,” but may likely go unnoticed. I see you trying your hardest but sometimes feeling like you fall short. And I see you giving your 100% and questioning if that will be enough.
Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you never knew existed.- Linda Wooten
Make A Difference in the Life of A Child
I want to encourage you to keep on. You have such an important role in the life of your child. You can make the difference in the life of a child, and that is no small thing! You are helping affect their future, their relationships, their life, their career, and their purpose. Continue to nurture, love, direct, and lead them in the way that God has created them to go. What you do matters. You matter. Whether you feel the impact you have in their life or not, I want you to remember, you fill one of the most integral parts of your child’s life.
You may be the first person that helps them grasp what love, acceptance, forgiveness, devotion, and relationship are all about. They may get their first impression of their Heavenly Father from the parental role you model here on Earth. You can be God’s hand extended in the life of your child.
God Will Equip and Grow You
So when you get weary. When you wonder if you can do it. When you doubt if you can be effective or if things will ever work out. Take heart. God has called you to a BIG job, and He will continue to equip and guide you in that. That is His promise. He has entrusted you with the life of a child. Those 18 years they spend in your home and under your direct care will help form and shape them to accomplish the purposes for which they were created. Stand up tall. You’ve got this. You are enough. You don’t have to achieve super mom status. Do what you do well. And remember that God will continue to equip you and grow you for the tasks He has called on you to do.
Do What You Do Well–Don’t Compare!
If store bought cookies are your go-to, then deliver them with a smile! If you lack organization, focus on your understanding. If you fear you don’t measure up in energy, put to use your skills of encouragement. What you question about possessing in volunteer service, focus on quality connection. What you offer is just what God thought this task of raising this child would need. And pray that He will continue to lead, guide, and provide what you need to do it well.
Don’t Forget About Self-Care
You got this Mama! I’m cheering you one! And from one busy mom to another…take some time to take care of you too! You are worth it. And you will always mother better from a heart that’s not depleted. Taking care of you is a great way to steward what God has gifted you with in your mothering journey. Don’t underestimate the importance of self-care and wellness! It is easy when caring for a busy family to let your own needs fall by the wayside. But don’t allow that. Schedule it in, and don’t feel one bit guilty or selfish doing it.
The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already are one. – Jodi Picoult
Tips For Handling Feelings of Inadequacy
It is normal to feel overwhelmed and tired out. Many, if not most parents would agree with that. And those that don’t admit it probably don’t admit much! But you might be wondering what to do if you are struggling with feeling this way. I’d like to share some simple and practical tips.
- Work to manage your level of stress
- Establish healthy self-talk and thinking
- Prioritize self-care
- Make supportive connections with friends and other parents on similar journeys
- Surround yourself with things that help you grow in positive ways and mindsets
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help–you don’t have to do it all alone
- Reach out for professional help or counseling if necessary
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of strength. There is no shame in asking others to help or assist you in your journey or time of need.
You Are Seen, Understood, and Supported
I hope this little tribute to mothers can help you feel seen, understood, supported, and encouraged. What you do can feel tough at times. It is. What you do can feel unnoticed at times. It might be. But keep on keeping on. This is a journey that also carries many blessings. Treasure each moment you experience the smiles, tears of joy, understanding, hugs, compliments, gratitude, connection, accomplishment, and growth.
And don’t ever forget…
This child was hand-picked for you, and YOU were hand-picked for this child by God!
Mothering is the most important job in the world. It requires sacrifice, dedication, and a deep love for your child. But it is also one of the most rewarding experiences a woman can have.–Dr. James Dobson
You play a valuable role in your child’s life. You will make a difference in the life of a child…your child! And as you do this job, I want you to remember, you are not alone! I am here to help, support, and encourage you along the way! Let’s connect!
P.S. Needing some guidance in your parenting journey? Desperate to make changes and experience peace in your home? I’d love for you to check out the Calm Connection Parent Coaching Program! One year of ongoing support, education, practical tips, coaching, and a step-by-step approach to parenting those kids who are highly sensitive, intense, emotional, or challenging! I will help you discover calm, confident connection through understanding personality, sensory needs, and mental health issues. Super excited about this new program!
- Many moms struggling with feeling inadequate and pressure to be a “super-mom.”
- Oftentimes, moms feel they don’t measure up to the expectations of other moms, society, or even themselves.
- Comparison can lead us to mistakenly feel like we are not enough, but we are.
- It is crucial to remember that God chose moms for their children, knowing their strengths, weaknesses, and details of life, and He will equip them to do the job.
- Moms play numerous roles, including comforter, encourager, coach, discipler, emotional nurturer, chauffeur, cheerleader, teacher, advocate, and more.
- Mothering can be challenging, but regardless, moms can know they matter, and their sacrifices and contributions are appreciated and valued.
- Mothers need to prioritize taking care of themselves in order to function well as a mom.