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When You Feel Like a Failure As a Mom: 10 Quotes to Remember

When you’re overwhelmed as a mom and feel like a failure let these quotes encourage you and know you’re not alone. We all have bad days as mom–when the milk spills, the toddler won’t stop screaming, the whining won’t stop, and you feel like you’ve reached your absolute limit–and it’s not even 9 am.

If we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying.

The truth is there are a lot of lies we tell ourselves about our mothering–we insist on perfection and shame ourselves constantly. We’d never tolerate anyone talking to our best friend that way–so why do we do it to ourselves?

Consider this your mom-bestie pep talk for those hard days of motherhood when you feel like a failure. May these quotes and truths encourage you and give you direction for your dealing with tough days as a mom.

woman with arm around her son against a white wall with text overlay 10 quotes for when you feel like a failure as a mom

This post is not to be construed as medical advice or professional counseling. Depression in moms is real and prevalent. If you are thinking of harming yourself or someone else please seek emergency medical help via 911 or the suicide hotline 800-273-8255.

Feeling Like a Failure as a Mom? These 10 Quotes Can Help.

1. “Let yourself be a beginner at something new.” -Annie F. Downs

Mom with dark wavy hair kisses her newborns face as she holds the baby in her arms. Quote box says "let yourself be a beginner at something new" by annie f downs

Here’s a fact: you have to fail until you get good. If the first time I sat down at the piano, having never played a note or know what a music note looks like I called myself a failure for barely being able to pluck out “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, I wouldn’t be a failure! I’d just be new!

It’s the same way with mothering. You’ve never done it before–and just when you learn one stage and one child, they grow out of it and into another new challenge.

2. Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or your middle to someone else’s end. Don’t compare the start of your second quarter of life to someone else’s third quarter. -Jon Acuff

never compare your beginning to someone else's middle. Quote from Jon Acuff about comparison with photo in background of mom holding her child at golden hour

Comparison is a massive mind-trap for moms. But you can’t compare the sleep you get with a toddler to the sleep you’ll get as a mom of teens. You can’t compare the patience you’ve developed over 5 years to the patience some other mama has been working on for 10 or 20 years.

We’re all on our own journey in motherhood and comparison will steal your joy if you let it.

3. The fact is, most of us are pretty average at most things we do. -Mark Manson

magic in ordinary moments quote

Listen, mom friend–you do not have to be Daniel Tiger’s mom level of perfection. What feels like failure can be normal.

Gosh, this is so freeing! Believe it or not, you do not have to be excellent at every aspect of mothering. Sometimes what feels like failure is actually just average (and average is ok).

Understand you’re not actually “failing-failing”, you’re just not reaching the unrealistic expectation you’ve set for yourself. (Like I’ll never yell at my kids or I’ll never let them eat pizza in front of the tv or I’ll never have a disagreement with my husband or I’ll never get bored of my career choice.)

Being average isn’t the worst thing to happen to you, and there is actually a lot of magic that happens in the ordinary, mundane moments. Let’s normalize normal so we feel less like failures and more like the real, humans living imperfectly in an imperfect world we are.

This is an exceptional article on Embracing Average, which is definitely worth the read. (*language warning*) This book, Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman, is also a beautiful read on the magic of ordinary and average.

4. The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked. -Proverbs 24:16

Mom in overalls leans against a wall while holding the hand of her little boy. Proverbs Bible verse about rising after failure

Some of us can only learn things the hard way. What feels like failure can actually be a pathway to growth. Each “fail” means we are learning, we know what we can improve, and we can do better next time.

Sometimes when I fail as a parent, when I lose my temper or get distracted, I am given the opportunity to ask my kids for forgiveness, to show them how to make restitution and how to give grace to others. Even though I’ve failed them (and I’m sorry and sad about it) we both get to learn and grow from my failure.

Often failure gives me opportunity to grow my faith, to model humility and tenacity and trusting God.


5. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” -Thomas Edison

Quote from 
Thomas Edison about failure overlaid on a photo of a mom in a dress walking with her daughter in the woods

Thomas Edison is maybe the most famous American inventor, but it is said it took 10,000 attempts (I’m sure that perfectly round number might be hyperbole) to invent the incandescent light bulb. Each failure he and his team learned something new and used that failure as a stepping stone, getting closer and closer to what he wanted to create.

What a waste of time, talent, and money if he had given up on his 9,999 try.

So often when we fail and give up we are so close to success, whether that’s with coaching our kids to obey better or creating the perfect macaroon or building true community. We just need to find the courage to keep learning and keep trying.

6. Being an overwhelmed mom doesn’t make you a bad mom. -Katie M. Scott, Chasingvibrance.com

quote "being an overwhelmed mom doesn't make you a bad mom" with pink, teal and griege brush strokes behind it.

Listen, mama– life with littles is overwhelming. Life with teens and pre-teens and big kids is too! The mental load of motherhood is exhausting and it’s easy to get overwhelmed; that doesn’t make you a bad mom.

It makes you a good mom, trying to follow Jesus, and who also had a bad day.

7. Until the day is over, there’s always a chance you’ll remember it for something else.” -Rebecca Pearson, This Is Us

quote about restarting when you fail as a mom from Rebecca Pearson in This is Us. In background dark haired mom dances with her daughter in the living room

You don’t have to wait until the end of the day to reset. Think of your day as a mom in quarters and use the next quarter as a chance to reframe and make new memories.

Maybe everyone needs a nap? Or a quiet movie time? Or a dance party to your favorite playlist? Maybe you need to shake up your day with a morning bubble bath just because? Maybe you need to phone a friend and see if you can meet up at Chick-fil-A for lunch and a playdate?


8. “We all fail Mum School sometimes. We can just start again tomorrow.”  -Chili Heeler, Bluey

Mom with short blonde hair and yellow polka dot dress hugs her small daughter in her arms. Quote beside her says: we all fail mum school sometimes, a quote from the tv show bluey

Every hour is a new hour and every day is a new day. Sometimes what your mom life needs is a full reset. A mommy time-out in your room, girls night out, date night, or evening at a coffee shop is the break and refresher you need when you’ve had a hard day of motherhood.

Also, never forget the power of asking your kids for forgiveness and modeling starting over! There is grace for their hard days and your hard days too, mama!

9. Sometimes good things have to fall apart so better things can fall together. -Marilyn Monroe

sometimes good things have to fall apart quote with text overlay of couple dancing

What feels like failure can be the end of something no longer serving you. Sometimes failure (and repeated failure) that tells us that it’s time to end this part of our journey.

I used to feel like the worst mom in the world when taking my three little ones to library story time would descend into utter chaos. After a couple massive failures, I decided it wasn’t me or my kids, it was just the environment that insisted on quiet, sitting still little ones following directions well wasn’t working for us.

So we took nature walks where yelling and fighting with sticks was appropriate. We went to parks and playgrounds instead. And (after a bit of maturing) we enjoyed the library again, but honesty, never got that into story time.

Instead of chalking it up to your personal failure as a mom, ask yourself…

  • How could I make this easier?
  • Is this the best choice for my child’s age, personality, and abilities?
  • Is this a good fit for the type of mom I am?
  • What could we do instead (go on a nature walk) that would serve the same purpose (get us out of the house)?

10. There is no way to be the perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. -Jill Churchill

there's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. -jill churchhill inspirational mom quote with baby clothes and items in the background

Let yourself off the hook for being the perfect mom. She doesn’t exist. No one (despite what they may portray on social media) has perfected parenting.

God’s grace is for our failures and mistakes as moms. Having bad moments doesn’t negate the good. But God’s grace calls us up and into living more like Jesus everyday. We are meant to stay stuck in the sinful thought patterns or habits.

So how do we change when we know that’s what we need?

Here are a few things I try to do…

  • Pray. Pray. Pray. Think you’ve prayed enough? Pray some more. (Need help in how to pray? Check out this post!)
  • Be in the Word. Be pouring over God’s truth in Scripture. I especially love this list of Bible verses about gentleness!
  • Ask others you trust to pray with you.
  • Ask advice from those you trust and who know you well.
  • Journal around what life would look like if you were able to change in the way you wanted. How would it feel on an average Tuesday? How would your relationships improve
  • Be willing to get help from a counselor or therapist. This might be something you need to unpack and make a plan for change with professional help. There is zero shame in that!

Helpful Tools for When You Feel Like You’re Failing As a Mom

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs To Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

Yell Less, Love More: How the Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids by Sheila McCraith

Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler

Hard Is Not the Same Thing as Bad by Abbie Halberstadt

When you feel like a failure it is often just a feeling. Sometimes it is true. But it’s not the ONLY TRUE THING. There are a lot of other powerful things that failure can bring us–like perseverance, new beginnings, and healthier endings.

pinterest image with text overlay "5 powerful quotes about failure"

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