March 13, 2019

When You Feel Like a Failure as a Parent

Why do all mothers feel like failures sometimes? Is it the 24/7 job description? The high stakes of nurturing small humans? A culture which tells us no matter how hard we try, there’s another mom doing it better? All of the above. Here’s what works.

In this episode we discuss all the reasons we’ve felt like failures as mothers, why we’re never as hard on others as we are on ourselves, and what we have done to mitigate these feelings of failure in our own lives.   

“I feel like I’m failing at parenting fairly often,” our listener Becky wrote when she suggested this topic.  If it makes you feel any better, Becky, you’ve got plenty of company. These self-inflicted guilt trips are nearly universal among mothers.

But why? Is it the 24/7 nature of the job? Is it the admittedly high stakes that come from nurturing small humans towards successful adulthoods? Is it our parenting culture, which tells us no matter how much we do, how hard we try, there’s another mother doing it just a little bit better?

We think it’s all of the above. We also think talking to other mothers is the best solution. Thanks for being part of our mothering community.

Here’s links to research and other writing on this topic discussed in this episode:

Regan Long for Motherly: To the Mom Who Feels Like She's Failing: You're Not. Promise.

Heather Marcoux for Motherly: 66% of working parents feel like they're failing—but the system is actually failing them

Doug Parker for Babble: I Feel Like I'm Failing This Parenting Thing Every Damn Day

Denise Rowden for Empowering Parents: “I Feel Like a Failure as a Parent.” How to Turn That Hopeless Feeling Around

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