Being a mom is hard, and nearly every mom has wondered if it’s worth it. In this article, Cindy Singleton unpacks why being a mom is not easy, sharing Scriptural truths to encourage and remind us that even on the hardest days, we are building a legacy for our families, and the daily struggle is always worth it in the long run.
Being a mom is hard, and nearly every mom has wondered if it’s worth it. While my three daughters were still at home, it wasn’t unusual for me to say, “I love being a mom!” But there were also moments―sometimes even days―when I secretly thought, “I hate being a mom!” In every parenting season―whether scheduling nap times, helping with homework, or navigating teen drama―being a mom is not easy.
I’m so glad I persevered. Today, my girls are my best friends. They’re grown now, with husbands and children of their own, and they serve as constant reminders to me that the struggle was worth it. If you’re in the trenches of parenting, you know being a mom is hard. But these important truths will remind you that motherhood is worth it.
THE TRUTH ABOUT WHY BEING A MOM IS HARD
1. You’re Not Born a Good Mom
At my grandson’s first junior high soccer game, he left feeling defeated. “I thought I’d do better than that,” he said. Trailing him to the car, I whispered a piece of wisdom I wish I’d known as a young mom. “You weren’t born a great soccer player,” I said. “You have to become one.”
Not one of us is born a good mom. But we can become one. With every mess-up, we’re learning as we go. Parenting is a journey, and no one starts out as an expert. But we’re in it for the long haul, so we can learn as we go.
Training Takes Time
Moses is a wonderful example of someone who, over time, became a better version of himself. Born an Israelite, Moses was rescued as a baby by Pharaoh’s daughter. He grew up in a palace, with access to the best education and training. At 40, Moses killed an Egyptian, fled Egypt, and ended up a shepherd. Finally, 40 years later, Moses was called by God to deliver His people from Egypt. After a lifetime of preparation, Moses “led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years” (Acts 7:36).
God is a master at on-the-job-training. Being a mom is hard because there’s no textbook or professional license to equip us for all we need to know. But as we study the hearts of our children and commit to simply making the next best choice, we grow into wiser, stronger, and more proficient moms. Just as He did with Moses, God uses our daily circumstances to train us for success in the most important job of our lives.
2. You’re Not Enough
Before my first daughter was born, I prepared for motherhood with reckless abandon. I bought the latest parenting books, attended three prenatal classes, and asked an embarrassing number of seasoned moms for advice. Yet, when it came time to leave the hospital with my tiny baby in my arms, I felt completely inept. My infant daughter had instantly become my whole world, and I was terrified I’d mess her up.
Every season of my children’s lives has brought a measure of that same kind of insecurity. No matter how much I tried to prepare for their toddler, elementary, and high school years, I still ended up second-guessing nearly every major decision. Should I be patient or stern? Is it time to be fun or in control? When should I dig my heels in? When should I give in?
Being a mom is hard because the phases of our kids’ lives rarely look or feel exactly like we imagined they would. Each is filled with surprises, challenges, and a million and one decisions. We want so badly to succeed. To be everything they need us to be. Yet, in spite of our best efforts, we secretly wonder if we’re enough.
The truth is, on our own we’ll never be enough. We can’t access the deepest parts of our children’s hearts. We don’t know the future. And even our best efforts sometimes fall short. But we do have access to the Perfect Parent who promises to help us.
What To Do When You Know You’re Not Enough
The following suggestions may sound over-simplistic or cliché. But I pray you’ll hear me out, because they made the single biggest difference in my life as a mom.
Pray about everything. There’s no greater source of power for your parenting journey. Prayer may feel awkward at first, but persevere. You have an opportunity to ask the God of the Universe for guidance, wisdom, and comfort. Don’t pass Him by.
As a young mom, I never felt like a “prayer warrior.” I didn’t even have a regular prayer time. But I talked to God while carpooling, as my weary head hit my pillow at night, and in the welcome quiet of our weekly church services. I prayed through tears, as I struggled with loneliness, and when I was desperate for help.
I’m convinced my three beautiful daughters are who they are today because God heard my prayers. Being a mom is hard, and I was far from a perfect one. But I asked God almost daily to correct my attitudes, cover my weaknesses, and give me the wisdom I desperately needed as a mom. And, every time, He graciously responded.
Read your Bible
The Scriptures equip us for mothering. They’re the words of God, spoken directly to us by our Heavenly Father, who has a thing or two to teach us about parenting. When we read our Bibles, God changes our hearts, and the Holy Spirit makes us smarter moms than we ever thought we could be.
Making time for Bible study isn’t easy when you’re a mom, but don’t fret too much about it. Organized Bible studies are great, but you don’t have to join one. Just open your Bible―in a translation you can easily understand―and start reading. Anytime, anywhere. In the morning, or at bedtime. For an hour or for ten minutes. Like prayer, once you begin, the more you’ll want to continue.
Over the years, prayer and Bible study have been constants in my life. And nothing else impacted me more as a mom. Nothing else instilled more hope. Nothing else kept me on a steady path. God is faithful, and He answers us. As we read His Word, His Spirit transforms us. As moms, we’ll never be enough on our own. But God will give us daily wisdom and constant guidance as we seek Him.
3. You Keep Messing Up
I was hard on myself as a mom. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to be quite the mom I wanted to be. You probably feel the same way. You’re weak in some areas and strong in others. Some things come naturally, but most take a lot of hard work. To combat mom guilt, sometimes we try a little too hard to be perfect.
Being a great mom is important, but if we’re not careful, our goal of being a good mom can become an idol. In other words, our performance as a mom upstages the children we’re called to serve and the God we’re called to love. Our kids become pawns as we manipulate their lives to make our mothering look like it’s flawless. The good news is, our kids don’t need a perfect mom.
The Cure For Perfection
Moses had plenty to feel imperfect about. He had a speech problem, and was convinced he’d fail as an ambassador for God. In fact, he pleaded, “Please, Lord, send someone else!” But God told Moses to stop looking at himself for what he needed and, instead, to look at God.
“God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). He’s the God who was, the God who is, and the God who’ll always be. He made everything, He sustains everything, and He alone holds the future. To be honest, Moses didn’t have what it took to be the kind of leader God needed him to be. But God did.
Being a mom is hard, and some of my worst moments came when I stared too hard at myself. In those moments, my faults made me insecure and my failures made me stressed. On the other hand, my best moments as a mom came when I spent time looking to the Lord. As I depended on His power and sufficiency, I became less defensive, more joyful, and more content with my role as a mom.
4. Your Life is Out of Control
Every season of parenthood is filled with its own set of uncertainties. Life happens. We can’t possibly predict the health issues, behavior concerns, outside influences, and the myriad of unknown circumstances our kids will face.
As moms, the odds of life looking exactly as we imagined aren’t very good. The only thing we can expect is the unexpected. The baby will get sick on the day of a special event. The teacher will give homework on the most chaotic days. And our child will rebel the moment we brag about how compliant he is. For all of us, life is beyond our control.
The One Who’s in Control
Moses wasn’t long into his journey to the Promised Land before stuff began to happen. The Red Sea loomed in front of him, people grumbled about nearly everything, and both food and water became scarce. Nothing was easy. Yet, God showed up in every circumstance and revealed Himself as the one who was right there in the middle of the chaos.
No matter how carefully we plan, we can’t see what’s around the bend. But we can relax and embrace our circumstances when we know God is in them with us. In every inconvenience. In every disappointment. And in every unexpected moment of celebration.
5. You Don’t Measure Up
Even before social media, the game of comparison was a threat to moms. There’s always been the mom who seems to have it all together. With social media, the comparison game is amplified. Today, we’re tempted to compare ourselves to women whose lives are more virtual than real. Naturally, we feel less-than.
That’s similar to what happened to Moses. In his 40-year wilderness journey, Moses was influenced by likes and comments, too. At one of his lowest points, the Israelites complained about the manna God had rained down from heaven. Their ungrateful hearts caused them to romanticize their captivity in Egypt. In essence, they said, “We may as well go back there” (Numbers 11:5-6)! Moses became so discouraged, he was ready to give up.
It’s hard being a mom, especially when we measure ourselves to other moms. But God didn’t design another mom for the heart of your child. He assigned you to that job. No one else in the whole world can fill that spot as uniquely as you can. That’s why it’s important to understand your calling as a mom and then go after it with all your heart.
As long as Moses measured his performance as a leader against the sentiments of the Israelites, he got off track. But when he turned his attention to the Lord and settled into his role as a deliverer, he led with courage and confidence. In the same way, we’re more successful as moms when we settle into the role God has called us to and follow after Him with all our hearts.
6. There’s No Time For Yourself
Being a mom is hard because it’s a 24/7 assignment. Not only are the demands of mothering endless and exhausting, but they rob us of personal space and time. In a culture where self-care is elevated to top priority, it’s easy to feel deprived when so few moments are left for yourself.
Finding Quality Time
When I was a young mom, I discovered a secret for making the best use of my time. Instead of seeking more time for myself, I began seeking the Lord. In the process, I found contentment. God’s presence filled me with the kind of peace, joy, and satisfaction I couldn’t find anywhere else. Filling my soul through Bible study, prayer, and worship left me an overflow of love and patience for others.
Moses depended on God’s companionship, too. When God threatened to remove His presence from Israel as they moved on to the Promised Land, Moses said to Him, “If You don’t go with me, I don’t want to go” (Exodus 33:15). Quality time with the Lord changes our hearts and homes. It’s what separates ordinary families from those that are supernaturally different.
7. You Can’t Do It All
Moms really can’t do it all. From wife to dietician to nurse to teacher to counselor to spiritual advisor to disciplinarian, moms juggle a variety of roles, emotions, and challenges. It’s no wonder we sometimes drop the ball. But it’s not the occasional drop that really matters. It’s the trajectory we’ve forged for our lives―the road we’ve chosen to travel over the long haul. Over time, showing up for our kids and engaging with them will reap rewards if we stay the course.
Do What Matters
It’s clear we can’t do it all, and a simple “no” works wonders for keeping life more manageable. That’s why it’s helpful to circle your wagons. In other words, first make sure you’re doing all you can to provide for the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of your family. Then, consider branching out into other activities and commitments. Your kids are at home for an incredibly short period of time. In light of your lifetime―and certainly in light of eternity―your season of total commitment to them is brief. But the rewards will be priceless.
BEING A MOM IS HARD BUT IT’S WORTH IT
Being a mom is hard, but it’s worth it. When Moses had faithfully led his people through the wilderness, it was time for him to die. God took the old man high up on a mountain and let him look out over the Promised Land. “And the Lord said to him, ‘I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there’” (Deuteronomy 34:4).
As moms, we’re doing more than wiping noses, packing lunches, and screening text messages. We’re creating a legacy for the generations who’ll come after us, some we’ll never see this side of heaven. Hopefully, it’s an eternal legacy, forged when we embrace the most important job in the world―being a mom.
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