Sometimes all I see are my failures as a mom.

She left a note by my computer that said, “Mom is tired.  Mom is always tired, but it’s okay.  She’s writing a book.”

And just like that, I’m a complete mess.  All choked up, tears dripping on my computer, thinking back on the last few weeks and months and how I’ve never been in a more vulnerable place.  So much change going on in our family.  This one starting medical school, this one moving out, this one coming home, my book, his work, her struggles—grieving the losses, celebrating the victories, but mostly feeling like it’s all slipping through my hands.

And I knew it before I saw the note.  The weight of it was already crushing me.

I’ve not been the mom I want to be.   I’ve been too tired.  I’ve been busy.   I wasn’t home when she was coming over.  I missed his concert.  I fell asleep before I told her goodnight.  I was sarcastic or unkind or impatient.  I broke another promise.  I was preoccupied.  I wasn’t there when she needed me.   I know you know.  Because  this is your life too.  The life of someone who wants so desperately to love well and finds her failures lying scattered over the landscape of so many days.  This is the life of someone who cares enough to look hard at the broken places and make the difficult confession—the same one we make every Sunday to our Father.

Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean.  We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what have done and by what we have left undone.  We have not loved you with our whole heart.  We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.  We justly deserve your present and eternal punishment.  For the sake of Your Son, Jesus, Christ, have mercy on us.  Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight on Your will and walk in Your ways, to the glory of your Holy name.  Amen.

I almost never can say it with dry eyes.  I know who I’ve sinned against.  I know who I’ve hurt the most.  It’s these people that I love more than anyone in the world.

I hang on to the absolution for dear life.

But God in Mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sin.

And God’s strong word cleaves the darkness,  repairs what I’ve fractured and unites what I’ve severed.  He creates faith where there is unbelief,  hope where there is hopelessness, and peace where there is despair.  By His stripes, we are healed.

I remember that repentance is the way of life.  

I couldn’t hold this all together even if I tried.

So, I lay it down in confession, all the pieces,  disparate and torn,  and He counts my tears and raises the dead and all I see are light and life.


52 comments on “Mom Failures, Mom Guilt, and How I Find Peace”

  1. I love your heart sweet sister, your words reached and pierced MY heart out here in the sun of California. My very last baby off to her senior year of High School leaving me alone with my thoughts, thoughts that mirror yours line for line. Thank you, for
    your words comforted and encouraged me today:)

  2. Amen.And Amen!The mommy road-the I live on Earth road is tough.As is the way of repentanse,forgiveness and pressing on toward that “Light and Life”.Ahh,! I see Is Jesus.

  3. Like so many other moms, this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Your message and feelings reminds us that we are not alone. God is with us, always ~ we lift it up to Him. Thank you for the healing words ~ you have helped my heart and faith.

  4. A blessing to read. How many times I have felt this way – like a failure? We Moms expect so much of ourselves. And yet, maybe somewhere in the unrealistic expectations we do more than our lazy or burdened selves would have and hopefully with God’s grace and mercy our efforts are redeemed. “For he who started a mighty work (in us or our children) will be faithful to complete it, Pray, pray pray. God Bless the moms! Good luck as your nests empty, school begins, and the summer flowers fade:) Fall is coming and oh the glory of Pumpkins and fall foliage- Amen?

  5. Needed this today, cause I too found words yesterday that she said. I can’t tell you how perfect your words and His timing is for me today. Thank you so much!!!

  6. This was a true gift and blessing that I read this today, as I sit here crying realizing that someone else truly understands how I feel some days I can now feel at peace. Your words touched me and this prayer was the answer I needed.

  7. Beautiful! The key is it’s Life…and CHANGE. You have a lot going on, change is hard for everyone but it seems like many times that change comes all at once. I have one also, who things just hit differently, She’s my most supportive and understanding, but is the one to verbally point things out, when she’s feeling alone or overwhelmed. ITs not failure, its growing pains – on both your parts – really for all of you. God’s just setting the path and preparing you all for something great. And yes, we are all there, in different ways, and seasons. We are praying for you, thanks for sharing your heart…By his stripes we Are definitely healed, that’s the only way.
    I’m also there – in changes of life- I have one in college – thinking of moving out, one in HS, and a middle schooler, and God in his grace decided to bless our crazy life with a baby who is due in 2 mo…Change is hard but sometimes so sweet and good – and I am Thankful that I know God will get us all through this.

  8. I am so glad that I am not the only one who feels this way. Sometimes Ithink that surely I am…then I see what you have written and I could have said exactly the same (except for ‘writing a book’ part…:-) I would love to go back, do things differently…so sad that we can’t. I would read your blog, thinking that certainly you never feel this way and now I see that it is not unique to ME to feel like this. Thanks for being so vulnerable…it is a help and blessing for me.

  9. Yes! And Amen! Such glorious truth! All of it! I love that you post this stuff here for all of us to relate to and to remind us! Blessings and Grace to you!

  10. This, this and so much this nagging at my heart today. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Thank you for sharing, Edie. XOXO

  11. Amazing, as usual Miss Edie. I thank you for your openness and honesty. We love it because we now know that we are not alone. Hoping your day has gotten better:)

  12. Thanks for sharing, I can so relate…I have one two year old going to school, a five year old going to kindergarten, a sweet girl heading to fourth grade, and I have just gone back to work full time…change, seasons of life, guilt, all of it swirling around…but He is greater;) Mandy

  13. Been struggling lately too. It’s amazing how being in church, in His presence, how it all comes falling to our feet knowing full well that He will pick it up and carry it all for us.

    Hang in there!

  14. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I find myself feeling like this often as I run to this ball practice and that tumbling practice all the while wondering if it is being done in their best interest even though I know they desperately want to play, I struggle with the fast pace we live. I feel I’m not spending enough quality time with them and feel a constant nagging sensation that I’m failing them!!

  15. Oh, Edie! You amaze me. Truly. You are so strong and so brave.

    It was a true pleasure meeting you this weekend (I was painting my mantle listening to your podcast…).

    Thank you for taking time away from your precious family to pour into us!


  16. oh edie. i know this weight so so well. if you ever need an ear, a shoulder. i’m always here for you. you’re going to launch one amazing book and your family will stay in tact. keep trusting and being you!

  17. This poignant post reminded me so clearly of the day my seventh grader said “Momma, when will I see you in the daytime again?” As a single mother working two jobs out of necessity, that cut to the core, but as bad as I felt then, I can also look back and take comfort in the fact that we made it out of those times, and she turned out okay. You just do the best you can, one day at a time and ask for forgiveness when you know you need it. Even on days you feel like a bad mother, you are still such an inspiration for so many of us. Wishing you peace this week, and praying for y’all from Texas!

  18. Reading your post then through the comments actually made me feel a tiny bit better… I have one child leaving the nest for college this week and another suffering heartache and I am overcome with… Well with sadness… I have to let one go and comfort another while being the primary breadwinner at the moment. It’s a lot…

  19. I was lamenting to my oldest daughter (16) just last week that I have failed them so much. Not enough science! We should have learned the Presidents by now! No one plays an instrument! She looked perfectly shocked and said, “You think I’m a failure?” Of course not!! You are amazing!! Then she looked at me with her beautiful, wise, green eyes; her mature, competent, kind, compassionate eyes and said, “Mom. You’re not a failure. We’re doing just fine.” That girl …

  20. This was such a blessing to me. Thank you! I have four kids. An almost 11 year old boy who is starting to act preteenish. A seven year old boy is high energy and I feel like I work all the time to keep a lid on him. A five year old chatter box daughter ( you know the quote from Anne of Green Gables? ” she could talk the hind leg off a mule.” That is my sweetie. And a three year old wild child daughter who is a little tornado. I am so exhausted trying to meet everyone’s needs this summer. Trying to savor and trying to slow down on tasks but I am dragging. Thank you so much for your open heart and warm words.

  21. Oh Ediie! I have lurked for ages- but today I tell you-your post was just what I needed!!! I am working on my teaching liscense and working full time I. A school. I often feel just as you do!!!! Just rest in The Lord and His grace is sufficient for you!!!

  22. I have said that confession and absolution my whole life…thank you for helping me to look deeper into God’s word today. You are a gift! And a wonderful Lutheran. Martin would be proud!

  23. Thanks for being real !!!! I am a pastors wife and find that trying to “fake it” and act like we have it all together gets us no where. Ministry happens when we are vulnerable and let others see Christ through our mistakes . Hope you get some time with your family 🙂

  24. Oh Edie, thank you for this! Your vulnerable honesty always points your readers straight back to Christ, and I think these are the posts that always touch me the most. Thank you for having the bravery to share with us so deeply. What a blessing!

  25. Edie, you have shone light on my very soul. I am letting out a big sigh of relief, for being reminded that I am not alone. I am beyond thankfulness for the mercy of our God. xo

  26. And just so you know because I’ve been reminded of it by other kind souls…

    You are wonderful. Just enthralling! You are the mother you are supposed to be and your husband and children love you for who you are. Sure, you’ve got your faults, you could’ve handled some things better but you are trying. The Lord sees your struggles and He knows what is in your heart. He will not give what you cannot bear. You are blessed, you are loved, you ARE a blessing. 🙂

  27. Edie,
    I was feeling this same way this morning after failing at celebrating my husband’s birthday yesterday. So much to live up to my mind, these celebrations. Focusing on what counts, not how it looks on Facebook, Instagram, pictures, etc.

    Your post was raw, honest and so touching. Fresh tears fall for you and for me this morning over my cup of coffee. You have brought so much joy, peace and hope in your podcasts and blog posts Edie. Know this, you’re enough. God loves you, flaws and all sweet girl. And, your family does to. We are the hardest on the ones we love.

    Praying for you today and wishing God’s Grace upon you always


  28. I love this. Some days it all seems so right and then there are days or weeks like this. I have felt the very same way as I have tried to move us two weeks before school. Feel like summer slipped through our fingers, fighting perfectionism as we move into our new home, and fighting fatigue and the crazy expectations I set for myself which seem to really only exhaust me and make me who I DO NOT want to be!

  29. So we moved to a more rural area, so we could give our children what I had growing up. The only problem, I was a kid, and now I am a woman raising kids. I didn’t worry then, my parents did. I didn’t care about feeding animals on time, my parents cared.
    It seems like growing up, is an endless strand of understanding one’s own parents and their choices.
    They were not Christian, so we didn’t see repentance and sorrow over sin, since that would have broken them.
    Our Savior allows us to truly love our children, and allows us to see our own brokeness, and we can show the way to healing in our daily and frequently traveled path to the the cross on which he said….”It is finished.” There we can show our children the worn place where we kneel and beg for our forgiveness from our sin.
    We are not hear to show them a perfect life, we are hear to show them them the true way of escape, going through the pain, not around it, to get to his cross of life.

    thanks for your post, my favorite ever! May the Lord Bless you and keep you (and yours) and may he cause his face to shine upon you.


  30. i haven’t read blogs in forever, but today, the day i come to yours, i find this.
    i just messed up with my oldest over homework.
    needed to be reminded of these words. this truth.
    okay. signing off now..this is why he led me here. 🙂

  31. I’m going to frame this and pull it out next time I am pulling my hair out over my daughter! I love her dearly, but there are times that I wonder where I went wrong. This weekend was one of those times and I had just come home from church. I prayed that I did the right thing, but felt horrible all afternoon wondering what caused all this turmoil. Thank you so much Edie for your words of comfort!

  32. Thank you for this post. I desperately needed this today. It was recommended I read it with a box of tissues…I needed those too. 🙂 As I go about my business after reading your post, I realize that I have been quietly chanting “He fills my gaps. He fills my gaps.” over and over again. Not quite as eloquent as you put it, but clearly your comforting words struck a nerve. Thank you for doing His work and delivering His message.

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