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I Think I Suck At this Parenting Thing

The article is a guest post from Sarah West.

They say your true character is revealed when crisis hits. If this is true, I am pretty sure I am miserably failing at this parenting thing….

Sunday morning, I walked into our hallway and noticed a puddle of water on our newly refinished wood floors. I opened the bathroom to find my son had overflowed the toilet. (And they say women use a lot of toilet paper!)

If this particular crisis revealed my character, I must tell you that I am a psychotic, foul mouth, over-stressed mama that did not take too kindly to wadding about in fecal matter. I wish I could tell you that I calmly searched for the plunger (which we apparently did not own) and evenly directed my kids on how they could help me advert this crisis.

I did not, however, do anything of this calmly.

Instead, I yelled. I barked orders for them to get me towels- towels that just so happened to still be washing in the washing machine. I bellowed a string of expletives that I don’t think my kids thought I knew. I am not sure I did either.

On my way to the store to purchase a plunger, I text my husband at work: One of the kids overflowed the toilet again. Can’t find the plunger. Headed to the store.

My husband’s response: LOL

I choose not to respond because I did not find anything humorous about fecal matter. I did not need this crisis to reveal further character flaws by my response to him. Therefore I remained silent. My mom raised me to believe if you couldn’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

After the toilet was fixed and the mess cleaned up, we managed to make it to church on time. From the outside, we looked pretty put together. No one knew about the volcanic eruption of the toilet. No one could see how stressed I was but somewhere deep down I felt like I was totally failing at life in that moment.

When services concluded, a sweet man walked over to me and told me what great children I had. He
told me their character was the result of great parenting. As he walked away, I stood, watching my children in the distance smiling and playing.

I didn’t know what else to do but sob.

In my moment of self-perceived failure, someone else saw the fruits of my parenting. It is not about being perfect. Somedays I feel all I am doing is keeping my head above water. The great thing is that each day brings new opportunities to improve. And sometimes in our monumental failures, there is an opportunity to share a life lesson, sometimes at our expense. If we always thought we rocked at this parenting thing, I suspect we wouldn’t be doing what we were meant to do as parents.

Parenting is hard and sometimes it sucks, but that does not mean you do.

swSarah West is a homeschool mom, freelance writer and first-time author of Walking the Talk: A Parent’s Guide to Intimacy and Healthy Relationships. Formerly, she served as the Director and Youth and College Counselor for Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Mississippi. Sarah writes for various online and print magazines on matters of faith and family, and believes in strengthening family relationships and reconnecting parents to their children. You can connect with Sarah and keep up to date with her writing through her blog at A Life Inspired.
Find her book, Walking the Talk: A Parent’s Guide to Intimacy & Healthy Relationships in the Amazon store.

Chrystie is a mom of 3 kids and wife to one. She's sold 4 blogs in the last 10 years and now helps other women start their blogging empire. Her love for really bad reality TV is only trumped by her love for margaritas without salt. Her other addictions include spray painting everything gold and embarrassing her kids at the bus stop. #thatmom

This article has 32 comments

  1. Meredith

    There are days where I know for sure I am failing! Funny, how He put someone in your life right when you needed some words of wisdom! Great post!

    • Sarah

      I am glad you enjoyed and could use a mommy boost! I stay amazed at how timely some posts can be in my life. I learned a while ago to keep life real and admit it when I felt like it was sinking- someone needs to hear they are not alone!

      • Leigh Anne Shropshire

        This was great Sarah West! Yet again , another home run on you putting into words what we all go through at some point in our lives. Thank you:)!

  2. Annie McGarr

    Love this! Thank you for reminding me that we are all humans and make mistakes! It’s funny how we can get caught up in things.

    • Sarah

      I think that is the attack on life- to forget that we are human and not perfect. So much stress. Thanks for reading!

  3. Rachel Bucher

    So relate-able! It’s as though you told my story from a few days ago. Sometimes it’s just too much and all encompassing. Trying to learn to show myself a bit of compassion. Great piece!

  4. Jasmine Hewitt

    This is awesome! I’m a form believe that if you don’t question whether or not you are a good parent, then you may not be. We all wonder from time to time. Its natural. And I’m glad I’m not the only mom with a potty mouth!

    • Sarah

      Lol! The sailor has a tendency to show up. I try to be honest even though I wished I had handled things better.

  5. Marisa Ulrich

    Oh, how I relate to every bit, Sarah. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this. I have many a day of doubt in regards to my parenting, but, truly, it is about tripping and falling and getting up to try again. Blessings!

  6. Shannon

    Such a great post! I think we have all felt this way. We focus on the bad and our failures and don’t see all the good things we have done. It’s so easy to put yourself down when you are a parent but it’s so important to know that we can never be perfect and what we are doing is more than enough.

  7. Emily

    Parenting is hard and we all have low points…but you clearly are still doing plenty right! I am happy that the man took the time to share with you that you are doing a great job. 🙂

  8. Sarah

    “The great thing is that each day brings new opportunities to improve.” Yes. Love this line! What a great outlook! I came into my office to take a breather from a spilled paint fiasco. This was just what I needed to read!

  9. Maintaining Me

    Love this! Good reminder that I’m not ruining my kids even when I don’t respond correctly all the time!

  10. Lauren

    I loved this! And don’t hate me, but I totally laughed out loud at your husband’s LOL text! We are certainly not perfect at this whole parenting thing, but what fun would that be anyway?

  11. Annie

    I have those days a lot! And my husband will also not see the catastrophe in it. It can be so frustrating but maybe also a good reminder that not everything is that awful?

  12. Olivia

    I think we all feel like this from time to time. I know I do. AND I am definatly not happy with my reactions sometimes! We are all learning! Thanks for the great read!

  13. suzanne

    I have definitely felt like this! Great reminder that this gig is hard, but we are tough, even when we fail. Thank you 🙂

  14. Shannon S

    What a much needed reminder that we don’t have to be perfect parents to do parenting well. Maybe I don’t suck at this parenting thing as bad as I thought.

  15. Kim

    God is so good to us crazy, overwhelmed mothers. I often feel like when I’m at my worst, God throws in a spiritual hug somewhere. Thank you for sharing this. I needed a reminder today.

  16. Lucy

    when you said your husband’s response to your text was “LOL” I thought, gosh, men are SO ALIKE! My husband’s response is exactly the same! We are not perfect and everyday is a struggle but all the good moments definitely outweigh the bad. Great post 🙂

    • Sarah

      Yep, my husband did not see why I was so upset. Glad someone was calm. Perfect I am not, but I love and live fiercely!

  17. Diana

    Ah yes! Feeling like a failure as a mother…nailed it! Love this post and I love know I am not alone!

  18. Ivette

    THANK YOU for sharing. I’ve felt much of a failure this week. Sometimes, we can be a bit hard on ourselves. God bless you.

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