Feelings of Inadequacy

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 8 Comments A+ a-

I never pretend to have all the answers; in fact, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have it all together. I usually love motherhood, in all of her guts and glory. I can handle the poopy diapers, the running noses, the battle of wills, and the screaming tantrums (sometimes). I absolutely cherish the tight hugs, the chubby hands, the open-mouthed kisses, and happy eyes. However, in the past month or so, I’ve had a couple of moments where I just feel inadequate (great word, Mary) as a mother.

About a month ago, we had out-of-town family visiting and my parents wanted to take us all out to eat. "Great," I thought, "This will give me a wonderful opportunity to catch up with aunts, uncles, and grandmothers." I was really looking forward to it. I failed, however, to take into account that a table for 17 would prove to be impossible for most restaurants, and the Texas Roadhouse was no exception; combine that with a tired toddler, cranky and worn-out parents, a missing pacifier, a noisy restaurant, and we had a recipe for disaster.

Devyn didn’t want to sit in my lap but she didn’t want to be with anyone but Mommy. She didn’t want the water in the child-proof glass that included a lid; it had to come from Mommy’s glass. She didn’t want to eat her macaroni and cheese; she wanted Mommy’s steak. She cried non-stop for 20 minutes and her pacifier went MIA. And the list goes on.

I was exhausted, frazzled, and at my wits-end. For the first time, I wanted to throw in the towel. I actually said aloud, "That’s it; I give up." My brother-in-law, Caleb, looked at me and responded with, "And you want another one?!" I finally placed Devyn on the floor and suddenly all was right with the world. I didn’t care that she was crawling on the floor littered with peanut shells; I didn’t worry about what kind of germs she could find; I was just so thankful to have a happy child on my hands once again."

Another example happened on Monday night. Again, I was exhausted and Devyn was especially needy. Every time I tried to set her down to get something done, like cook dinner or put away the dishes, I was met with tear-filled eyes and arms reaching out for me. Of course, I picked her right back up and placed her on my hip, where she snuggled her little head in the crook of my shoulder.

As we sat down to eat dinner, Devyn wouldn’t sit anywhere unless it was on my lap so I let Jon finish eating before I could have my turn. He took Devyn from my lap and held her on his, desperately trying to distract her with anything. It was no good; she screeched, she hollered, she cried, and she screamed. She wanted me, the mommy, and what was I doing? Ignoring my upset daughter so I could finish my meal.

When the crying turned into a full-blown tantrum, I was beside myself, I had no idea what was wrong; I didn't know if she was teething, tired, or hungry; I had no answers, not a single one. I tried ignoring her, I tried giving her something to eat, I tried picking her up and rocking her but nothing worked, her tantrum continued at a loud volume. I could feel my composure slipping away and my frustration was building by the minute. At one point, in an agitated state, I cried, "What, Devyn? What do you need?" I wasn’t expecting an answer but it felt good to get it out. I picked her up, went into the bathroom, ran a bath, and put us both in it; the warm water went a long way in soothing my nerves and wouldn’t you know it, Devyn’s tantrum ended as she soon as she hit the water and could splash with her toys.

There are moments that I look at my baby girl and I can’t help but worry that I’m doing permanent damage to Devyn; I wonder how my actions are going to affect her adulthood; or I still wonder that the hospital let her come home with me because I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. There are mornings when I drop Devyn off at my parents’ house and she’s crying as she reaches for me, that I can’t help but feel like an absolute failure as a mom. Some moments just bring feelings of inadequacy and I wonder if I’m really cut out for this job. Only with prayer and guidance from God am I able to recharge my mommy batteries and get back on the proverbial horse. Somehow just picking up the Bible brings me the peace and calm that I need.

"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." Psalm 143:10


I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

8 comments

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Jess
AUTHOR
5:22 PM delete

I'm crying. Thanks. Seriously, you're sssoooo not alone!! I have these moments with Sophia quite often. She has some secret code & no one's told me where to buy the decoder ring. You ARE doing right by her. Trust me. I know you & I've seen her. Its just part of the mother/child relationship. Learning each other. A lifelong process, I think. I don't think if we asked our Moms, that they'd say their done learning us. Call me if you wanna cry. I'm here for you!!

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Jill Davis
AUTHOR
7:52 AM delete

You are a great Mother! If I do half as well as you have I will be satisfied. I love you!

Jill

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
9:03 AM delete

I was just thinking today how absolutely wonderful it is to have a daughter-in-love that is such an incredible mom. Your journey of questioning yourself is just beginning. I know that if (when)you make mistakes God uses that to mold your child in to who he/she is going to be. There is no handbook and you can only do and be the best you can be with the knowledge you have. God will do the rest! What a great peace there is that comes from that! I love you , girl, and I am so thrilled you are the mommy of my precious granddaughter

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Anonymous
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10:00 AM delete

Sweetie...it happens to all of us! You are a awesome mommy and you need to give yourself a big hug...OK?
Colleen

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Overwhelmed!
AUTHOR
11:21 AM delete

I think all moms share feelings of inadequacy at one point or another as they do their best to raise their children. My feelings of inadequacy come to play when I'm struggling to juggle work, time with Snuggle Bug, time for my husband and Heaven forbid, time for me.

I have to sometimes stop and remind myself that I'm doing the best that I can for my family and cut myself some slack.

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Amanda
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1:30 PM delete

May I suggest a book called :"The Mother at Home" by John SC Abbott or "To Train Up a Child" by the Pearls. They are great Christian parenting books with stuff straigt from the Bible. The 1st one is especially good and has really been a blessing to me. You will be a great mommy! Just follow what the Lord had to asy about parenting and it will work! I hope you have a chance to check out the books.

I've really enjoyed your blog!

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Joy
AUTHOR
7:37 PM delete

I'm actually encouraged to know that I'm not the only one who struggles to be a good mommy. Thanks so much for sharing your heart. I have struggled through many of these moments with all THREE of my children. Thankfully the oldest one (4 years old) is fairly well past all the drama and can express through words what is going on, at least most of the time...

I have checked out your blog a few times (from Jess' links) and always feel you capture being a mommy so well. God bless you and your little one!

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Mary
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3:27 PM delete

Girl, I sure remember those days when my daughter was small. You will make it and you will get through it. You're not inadequate - you're HUMAN.

Praying for you! Hope you have a blessed week!

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