Dear mom who sometimes feels like a terrible mother

By Rachel Martin

For Finding Joy

Published: Monday, June 17 2013 1:30 p.m. MDT

Hannah Nicole Martin

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Editor's note: This article by Rachel Martin originally appeared on her blog, Finding Joy. It has been posted here with the author's permission.

Just the other day, in the middle of the day, as the glorious Minnesota sun streamed in my kitchen window — which, by the way should have put me in a wonderful mood — I burst out saying that I was simply a terrible mother. Here am I — the writer of finding joy and intentional motherhood — and I felt like I didn't measure up. That I failed. That I couldn't do it. That I was no good and for sure not a good mother. And I don't know what even brought it up. Maybe it was the trail of cereal on the counter, or the little boys fighting, or the laundry hamper that never seems to be emptied, or the fact that I was just tired, or that I never seem to finish the to-do list much less actually do one of the 743 or something pins that I've pinned on Pinterest.

I felt like a terrible mother. Like I couldn't do it. That I was failing.

You're just a terrible mother. That's what I heard.

It's like a constant whisper in the brain sometimes, isn't it?

You're no good. You don't measure up. You're going to mess those kids up. You are failing. You can't keep your house clean. You can't teach them. You are terrible at this mothering thing. Why did you think you could do this? When are you ever going to get all of this stuff done? Did you realize that you've made macaroni and cheese for lunch two days in a row? Are you ever going to work out again? When are you going to make some fun crafts with the kids? Why don't you ever get the glitter out? You know you're behind, right?

I know I'm not alone. I know that there are those of you out there who think those thoughts, who worry about measuring up, who worry that they're not doing enough with their kids. We worry, moms, we worry. We worry when they should read, or how they speak or if their shoes can be tied by themselves, and if they can't, we get them velcro shoes but worry that they're the only ones with velcro. We worry and apologize when others come over that the house isn't clean enough, or that our projects aren't on the wall, or that they saw the sugar-filled cookies in the pantry, and you're wishing you had made that super healthy granola with chia seeds instead, and then we worry that we served the right food, or if our kids were good and why didn't they answer more politely or hope that we didn't look like a fool when we opened the hall closet and the boots so carefully stacked immediately fell out. And somehow in all of that worry and wonder the words, the lie, about motherhood creeps in.

You're not a good mother. You're terrible. You're failing. Look at everybody else who has it all together. Why don't you?

Those words, those thoughts, are often just lies. You don't have to listen to those words, you know. Funny thing is that I think deep down we all are sitting here looking at our screens and are wondering how the gal who writes about joy and motherhood knew that those thoughts are in our heads. You know how I know? I know because I struggle with this issue of motherhood identity and worth and not letting what I think motherhood should look like really cloud what motherhood really truly is.

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