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4 Ways to Recover From Your Parenting Failures

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When was the last time you felt like a failure? Have you ever felt like a failure in front of your kids? I have, and it’s not fun.

My biggest struggle as a mother is my lack of patience. Especially when I’m tired or stressed, I have no patience.

When you have a short fuse, it’s so hard not to come unglued at every little thing that your kids do.

Last week, I was so tired that I slept in until the last possible second. I flew out of bed shortly before the bus came to take my son to school. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my son’s lunch packed, he threw a tantrum because his shirt had buttons (apparently he no longer likes buttons or stripes), and the day was off to a bad start.

After my son dawdled his way through breakfast, I finally screamed that the bus was going to be at our house in five minutes and he was going to have to go to school in his underwear if he didn’t get dressed right.that.second. I crammed his feet in his shoes (not even taking the time to double knot them), shoved his arms into his coat because he couldn’t do it fast enough, and dragged him down the driveway just as the bus pulled up.

It wasn’t the ideal morning that I wanted for either of us.

As the day went on, it didn’t get much better.

When my daughter was eating her breakfast, she continuously threw her strawberries on the floor (strawberry colored grout wasn’t exactly the color I was hoping for) while screaming “cookie!!!” at the top of her lungs. No amount of consolation would help, and she ended up flinging herself down in the middle of the family room.

I was ready to have a meltdown myself! All parenting principles flew out of my brain and I burst into tears. My daughter just cried harder.

A patient mommy would have had grace with both of my kids that morning, regardless of how tired she was. She would have sweetly explained that, since it was Friday, my son had chosen his outfits for the rest of the week (I lay out my son’s clothes for the week on Sunday night, and each day he chooses his outfit). A patient mommy would have calmly reminded her son that it was now time for “mommy’s choice.”

A patient mommy would have hugged her daughter, whispering softly to her until she calmed down.

Unfortunately, I didn’t handle either situation like a patient mommy.

When I fail as a parent, my kids see me at my worst, in all my ugly, screaming glory.

I want them to grow up to be better people than I am, but how can I show them the correct way when I’m throwing a tantrum myself?

Even though patience is something that my children may struggle with throughout their lives, too, I need to encourage them by modeling the behavior that I want them to have.

Lesson learned: patience really is a virtue. To have patience, you’ll need to set some ground rules.

How to Recover From Your Parenting Failures

1. Learn from each mistake

After every time that you “fail” as a parent (and, trust me, we all fail more than once), think about the situation.

  • What went wrong?
  • How did you react?
  • How did the kids react?
  • Were there any extenuating circumstances that you could have controlled?
  • What could you have done differently?
  • What should you do in the future to avoid this?

By reflecting on your mistakes (and learning from them), you can figure out exactly what went wrong and then avoid it in the future.

2. Get more sleep

Clearly, I’m not at my best when I’m tired. Most people aren’t. The five hours of sleep that I had gotten the night before my meltdown were not doing me any favors.

When people get busy or stressed, sleep is normally the first thing to go. By getting enough sleep, you’ll be able to function better, think more clearly, and stay more positive.

Toddlers are cranky when they don’t get enough sleep, and most adults have a difficult time masking their sleep deprivation, too.

I went through Crystal from Money Making Mom’s Make Over Your Mornings course and Make Over Your Evenings course. These courses have made all the difference. I went from feeling like a failure as a mom because I just didn’t have it together to feeling like I actually had some control over my day.

It’s amazing what a little sleep (and planning ahead) can do!

If you need a little encouragement (and some amazing tips) to get more sleep, become more organized, and feel better about yourself overall, I highly recommend these courses.

3. Have grace

There are going to be times when you fail as a parent and you need to be able to give yourself grace. You would forgive your children for throwing a tantrum, so you should do the same for yourself.

When was the last time that you gave yourself grace for your mistakes? Start forgiving yourself now. Just remember that grace is not the same thing as making excuses. Have grace, but continue to work on the things you need to change.

4. Show compassion

It’s easy to lose your temper because when you’re focused on how you’re feeling instead of how your children are feeling. Yes, I was tired when I had my meltdown, but what was going on in my children’s lives? If I wasn’t tired, or if I would’ve had compassion, I could’ve looked past my own sleep deprivation. I would’ve been able to defuse the situation.

By showing compassion, it’s easier to see the bigger picture. You’ll be able to help your children through their problems with minimal tantrums (on both of your parts).

It’s impossible to be a perfect parent.

When you have a parenting failure, the most important thing is to reflect on what happened and avoid having the same problems again. Learn from your mistakes, get more sleep so that you can be the person you want to be (and not a sleep deprived zombie), have grace, and show compassion.

Tweet: We all make mistakes, but it’s the way that we overcome them that counts.We all make mistakes, but it’s the way that we overcome them that matters.

What are your parenting failures? How did you overcome them? Leave a comment below!


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Thursday 5th of May 2016

Excellent words of advice. And much to think on. I'm bad about not getting enough sleep and find it difficult to give myself grace at times. Oh my, Yes, I have had those school mornings too. Thank you for your honesty and sharing.

Alison Lange

Friday 6th of May 2016

Thanks, Mistie.


Friday 29th of April 2016

I wish I could hug you right now! I have very little patience and I don't usually realize it until I'm dealing with my 1 year old. Sometimes I feel like he knows what to do to set me off and he will do it to the best of his abilities. I've been working on my patience, but it gets hard. I could definitely use a lot more sleep also.

Alison Lange

Friday 29th of April 2016


Ooh, yes, it's amazing how quickly they learn how to push our buttons. It's so hard. Keep your chin up (and get some rest). The other stuff can wait!


Friday 29th of April 2016

Wonderful advice Alison! Having raised four sons I can completely agree!! Thanks for sharing on Funtastic Friday! :)

Alison Lange

Friday 29th of April 2016

Thanks, Linda!


Tuesday 26th of April 2016

I think reflection is so important, and sleep is critical. It's funny, we work so hard to make sure our kids get enough sleep, but don't always do such a great job for ourselves. Thanks for keeping it real and sharing your helpful tips on #EverythingKids.

Alison Lange

Wednesday 27th of April 2016

I know! I'm a stickler for bedtimes and naptimes with my kids (even my 5-year-old takes naps when he's not in school), but I find myself doing "one more thing" every night instead of going to bed. Then I wonder why I'm dragging and grumpy the next day!


Tuesday 26th of April 2016

Parenting is so difficult, especially when we are not perfect! I think having grace with ourselves is so important, and to ask forgiveness from our children. This helps to model to the children how to deal with mistakes. Starting and ending the day well is also important, and I've been working on getting organised in the mornings and evenings, but I'm checking out these courses now! Thanks for sharing with the Blog Fair - I've been feeling a bit rough today and didn't feel like reading posts, but I'm glad I did!

Alison Lange

Tuesday 26th of April 2016

Yes! When I'm grumpy, the whole family ends up in a bad mood, which just makes me feel worse! Apologizing helps in that moment, but I've found that it's better to try to start the day off on the right foot. If I know I have a really stressful day coming, I try to plan ahead of time to make it as easy as possible (and wake up with a smile on my face, even if I don't feel like smiling).