Motherhood is tough. It’s easy for mothers to feel defeated at times, not only during the first year of baby’s life, but well into toddlerhood, grade school, and teenage years as kids grow up.
But moms should never feel like failures, because parenting is a hard job, and one that requires constant trial and error, concessions, and help.
There are certain instances when many moms might have felt like a failure. Here are 10 common scenarios, and how to understand that none of these cases mean that you're a bad parent.
10 Problems Nursing
Nursing might be one of the most difficult tasks a new mother undertakes. For some, it takes days, even weeks, to get the hang of it. Others simply can't do it. It’s easy to feel like a failure, especially for moms who were dead set on nursing.
But it’s not uncommon, and moms should not feel like a failure if they don’t find success with nursing and decide to go the formula route. As a mom, you know what is best for not only your baby, but yourself as well. If the breastfeeding process is defeating and you feel more comfortable letting go of the idea, do it. All this means it that you're a perceptive mom who has made a decision that’s right for you.
9 Kids That Misbehave
Kids can and do misbehave for lots of reasons: to get a reaction out of you, to test their limits, to express their anger or frustration, or to try and get what they want. In any case, it happens. If your child misbehaves and you can’t tie it to a specific reason, they might just be going through a phase.
This doesn’t mean you’re a failure, but just that you need to approach the situation with a positive and consistent approach to nip it in the bud before it gets worse.
8 Issues With Potty Training
You might hang your head in shame as a friend tells the story of how their daughter was potty-trained at one. Meanwhile, you continue to try and potty-train your 3-year-old son as he gears up to start school in less than a year. But not every kid responds to the same potty-training strategy.
Your child could have issues beyond your control, or simply need a bit of extra time before they get the hang of going to the potty. Don’t compare to others; just go on this journey with your child and try different strategies until one sticks.
7 When Your Child Has a Temper Tantrum
If your child has a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, flailing about on the floor or crying uncontrollably, it can feel like everyone in the world is staring at you.
But note that every kid goes through phases, and the tantrum is likely not a reflection of your parenting. It could be something else that’s causing them to act out, or they're simply overtired, cranky, or sick. Don’t worry about what others think, and realize that every kid, at some point in time, is going to throw a tantrum. It’s how you react it to it that matters.
6 If Your Child Says a Swear Word
You might feel the urge to run in embarrassment and cover your child’s mouth as soon as they utter a bad word in a public place or in front of family and friends. You swear (pun intended) you don’t use such language at home, but feel the judgmental looks coming your way.
Kids hear bad words all the time, whether it’s from others at school, television shows or movies, or yes, even overhearing a parent. Regardless of the source, you aren’t a failure if this happens. Use the opportunity to explain to your child that it’s a bad word they shouldn’t repeat and apologize if they heard it from you.
5 Bad Grades
Some kids do well academically, others don’t. Some require extra help, and others pick up on things easily. Whatever the case, your child’s performance in school is not necessarily a reflection of your parenting.
If your child isn’t doing well, take the time to help them, talk with their teacher, hire a tutor, or get them special classes. In the end, grades aren’t the be all, end all to suggest your child’s intelligence. Focus on the positives, and help them when and how you can.
4 Delayed Development
Whether it’s walking, talking, keeping up with classmates in school, understanding shapes and the alphabet, reading, or something else, every kid moves at their own place. There are guidelines that will tell you when a toddler might start walking or what level a child should be reading at by the first grade. But these can vary depending on a whole host of factors.
Try not to compare your child to others or believe that your parenting is causing any developmental delays. If your child is later in one area or more, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means your child might excel in some other way. Focus on their positive attributes and let them develop at their own pace. If you have real concerns, talk to your doctor, hire a tutor, or take other proactive action, but only if you feel it’s absolutely necessary.
3 If You Work A Lot
Dual-income or single-parent households are common nowadays. And that might make you feel guilty for spending so much time away from your kids, because you miss out on important moments, or can’t be there for every soccer game or parent-teacher interview.
But the reality is that children, and life in general, is expensive. And you might have career aspirations that are just as important as your parental ones. This just means that you value providing for your family and ensuring your own happiness and personal fulfillment.
2 When You Can’t Keep Up With Housework
The idea of a mom who can take care of a baby or child, hold down a job, cook dinners, run errands, and keep a perfectly pristine home is a myth. It just doesn’t happen. You might feel like a failure when you see the dishes piling up, forget loads of laundry in the washer and dryer, and can’t find the time to tidy up the mess of toys in the living room.
But don’t. Balancing life obligations with that of children is tough. Try to get help from your significant other or hire outside help if it will take some of the pressure off. Otherwise, realize that your house is your own, not a show home meant to impress others.
1 When You Can’t Figure Out What’s Wrong With a Crying Baby
We hear all about "mother's intuition," but some women might feel they lack this important quality if they can’t seem to comfort a crying baby. Sometimes nothing works, be it rocking the baby, singing, removing or adding clothes, changing a soiled diaper, or feeding.
Understand that sometimes babies cry, and not even the most intuitive of moms can figure out why. Maybe the baby is just tired, not feeling well, in pain due to teething. Maybe the baby has colic. In any case, this isn’t a moment to feel like a failure, even if you feel frustrated. It’s a moment to be there for your child and understand that that’s what’s important. The crying will eventually stop, and your baby will be glad that you’re there when it does.