I Feel Like A Failure
Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. Exodus 2:1-2
“I feel like a failure,” said the mother of two young children, “because I never accomplish what I set out to do.” It’s not only mothers who feel that way, but it’s a fact mothers do face unique challenges when it comes to time and meeting possibly unrealistic expectations.
Do you ever stop to think about the number of young mothers who are confronted with situations which they were never really were prepared for? A young woman graduates from high school with honors and goes to college. First thing she does is pick a major. Four years later she graduates with high expectations that she will make her mark in the world. She has majored in information technology, communications, biology, chemistry, literature, economics, or sociology. She knows how to analyze genetic codes. She can quote the leading authorities in her field and is ready to make her mark in the marketplace. For four years she has prepared for this career.
She launches that career and marries the man of her dreams. Then a few years later she is pregnant. Wait a minute! Life has changed radically and drastically. Her career now faces a major challenge and things just will never be quite like they used to.
Women have discovered that trying to “have it all” in the same season of life is often unsatisfying and almost always exhausting. But when women (or now, even some men) step out of their careers to care for children at home, they often bring their expectations of workplace efficiency with them. Life at home involves its own set of goals and expectations. Mom plans her day out, makes her list of what she expects to accomplish, and then… things don’t go right. Life with little humans happens. Kids get measles, ear aches in the middle of the night, colds and runny noses. They get the flu and throw up just as she has loaded them into the stroller to go do a round of never-ending errands. Her husband comes home to a messy house and within the first two minutes of his arrival comments on the same.
No wonder young mothers get frustrated. What mother hasn’t cried, thinking that her husband doesn’t understand or care, and wishing she was back in her quiet office where she accomplishes “important” things?
As my wife of some 57 years and I were talking about this very issue, she remembered that she, too, wondered if she would ever survive the three whom God gave us. Thankfully, today there are many more options for moms and dads, to stay connected to the workplace and invest with presence in the lives of their young children at the same time.
Our hindsight is always 20/20. Believe it or not, those small children are not forever. Someday you will also look back and think, “If I could only grasp those tiny fingers one more time. Raising a family–for both a mother and a dad–is one of, if not your greatest accomplishment in life. Children are your highest and best investments which you grow to cherish long after the company you thought you would be with until retirement, has gone broke, and your bonus–a reward for making your sales quota–has disappeared with your unrealistic expectations.
As a young mother, you may want to downsize those lists of what you want to accomplish and someway realize you are accomplishing what God wants. You are building something for a forever future: you are shaping a life, born in the image of God, with the potential to impact the Kingdom of God. Never underestimate the importance of investing yourself into the lives of your children.
Resource reading: Proverbs 31.