Am I doing the right thing? My biggest motherhood struggle.

Am I doing the right thing?

Those are the words that hit me after I’ve had a difficult parenting moment, and when I lay in bed staring into the darkness mulling it over and over again. 

It is like a physical pain in my heart when I think about my kids. Am I doing this well? Did I choose right? Was I too harsh? Did I let them manipulate me? Was I too lenient? Did I give them what they needed not just for now, but also for long term wholeness?

I think about each of my kids and their needs. I wonder if I see all that’s going on in their little hearts and minds or if I’m missing something important. I wonder if I’ve already created any wounds in their identity.  I wonder if they truly know (down to their very bones) how much I love them, and how much I believe in them with my whole heart and soul.

Being a Mom is just so much messier than I anticipated. I get it right sometimes, I know I do, but other times I’m just not sure and that’s a hard uncertainty to swallow.

I question myself when one of my kids has an outburst fit for the stage and I think, aren’t they too old for this??

I question myself when my son rolls his eyes and sighs. 

I question myself when they’re all bickering and snapping at each other, and instead of being a calm presence, I snap too.

I question myself when I am strict, and I question myself when I am relaxed.

I question myself when they’re mad at me (even though I know that’s a normal part of parenting).

I question myself when I stop at two songs and no story at bedtime.

I question myself daily, nightly, sometimes hourly.

As I walk away from those moments it hits me like it always does, “am I doing the right thing? Am I doing a good job? Is it my fault? Is there some magic formula that I haven’t found yet?”

I think that’s why articles with headlines that boast three *magic* ways to parent are such clickbait. They give the illusion of certainty. “If you just parent this one way the kids are going to be alright”, and then the clincher: “but make sure you DON’T do it this other way or everyone is screwed”. Nothing like a little fear to drive an article home.

The fact is, there’s no certainty; there just isn’t. There isn’t “one way” to do this right, but there are a whole lot of ways to do our best.

I’m never going to “know”; I’m just going to do my best. I’m going to do my best to love them, cherish them, and make sure they don’t grow into assholes.

Yes, someday my kids might sit in front of a counselor and tell them about how I gave them timeouts or that I didn’t listen well sometimes. I have to make peace with that, because I cannot control their story. (Though I’ll be honest, I wish so hard I could).

I did my best, and that’s all I could do.

My mom did her best, and that’s all she could do.

And her mom did her best, and that’s all she could do.

We are moms, not magicians.

We are human and flawed, and we can’t read minds or see the future (no matter how hard we might try).

There are a lot of ways to love our hardest and teach them the best we know how.

There are a whole lot of ways to do our best; and that is enough.

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5 thoughts on “Am I doing the right thing? My biggest motherhood struggle.

  1. agshap

    As parents we will always question our decisions but you are right, you do the best you can and as long as it is done with love, somehow it will work out. I raised five with mixed emotions – from happy to sad to angry to doubtful – but all done with love for all of my children. My biggest job was to protect them. I feel blessed to have 5 great children who turned out wonderful and are now asking the same questions with their own children.

  2. Jules

    No one will ever love your kids as much as you do. And a bad day at home is better than a great day under someone else’s care… was my mantra. 😉
    My kids are grown, self-sufficient, debt-free, love Jesus. Sure, I should have prayed at bedtime with them more, talked out our issues more, read more books, etc. But they’ve both thanked me for teaching them to clean!!! Seriously, a boy & a girl. Their generation is slobs they’ve said! I know the grumbles I had on Saturday morning “home blessing time”! But they got it.
    And for what a regret from the past, I work on for now. If I’m wrong, I say I’m truly sorry and explain that I should not have said that, etc. They know I’m clear and honest with them. And I have a solid rule in place that dear son can not leave the house to return to his home with a hug for mom. And on 12/26 when he left and I probably won’t see him until July, I “took” 3 hugs and kissed him on the cheek. He endures it! Ha! (and his love language is touch… single, not dating, etc! LOL!) My eyes leak to write that it will be so long until I see him. :'(
    Thanks for your honesty. Trust in God’s leading.

  3. Jules

    ^^^ yes, my vision was blurred by tears and I didn’t proofread well…
    “And for what I regret from the past…. ”
    “…dear son can not return to his home withOUT a hug…”
    Feel free to edit my comment and delete this one of leave it all. ♥

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