She sat at the table staring out the window while I got my coffee. Her eyes were distant when I slipped into my chair, and I sensed something was wrong.“Renee, how do you do it? You seem like you love being a mom and I feel like I’m sinking. I have no idea what I am doing.”
It was the beginning of a vulnerable conversation and a gut-honest confession: I really love my kids, but I haven’t always loved (or even liked) being a mom.
When my boys turned into toddlers who wouldn’t listen, I turned into someone I didn’t like. All the other moms looked like they knew what they were doing. Secretly, I wondered, What is wrong with me?
I was young, and my expectations were high. Surely, I should know how to stop my three-year-old from trying to climb out of the grocery cart without causing a scene. And why couldn’t I get my five-year-old to understand we could not buy every item his little hand could touch?
I felt like such a failure.
Almost daily, I compared how I felt on the inside to how other moms looked like they had it all together on the outside.
Holding up my feelings of inadequacy and insecurity in contrast to moms who dressed their children in matching outfits and looked like they were killing it at motherhood, I wondered how in the world they did it? I could barely get a shower, get my kids dressed, and get us out the door before lunch.
I wanted to quit.
One afternoon, I came home from running too many errands with two tired and fussy kids. After putting my boys down for an early nap, I searched our house for pink construction paper so I could write “I QUIT” on it and turn in my “pink slip” when my husband got home from work that day. While the boys were napping, I pulled out my journal and wrote down all my disappointments and frustrations, questions and fears. I’ll never forget how I felt as these words spilled on the page, “Lord, I can’t do this! I just want to quit.”
I didn’t want to quit being a mom. I just wanted to quit the hard parts that made me feel incompetent, discouraged, and defeated. The worst part was believing God was just as disappointed in me as I was in myself. Yet in that messy place of surrender, it felt like His peace came and sat beside me. Like a deep breath, His presence calmed me.
Opening my journal again, I wrote down what I sensed God whispering to my heart: You’re right, Renee. In your own strength and with your own perspective, you can’t do this. But with My promises, My perspective, My presence, and My power, all things are possible. I will help you become the mom you want to be, the mom I created you to be, the mom your kids need you to be.
Turning the pages of my Bible to a familiar promise, I found comfort and courage in these words: “You give me your protective shield; your right hand supports me; your willingness to help enables me to prevail” (Psalm 18:35 NET).
I needed a new place to start.
The day I wanted to quit became a new starting place for me. It was the day I started to realize how unhealthy my critical thoughts and comparisons were and how much of a residual effect they had on me and my kids.
It was the beginning of God unraveling my false beliefs about Him and unrealistic expectations of myself. In the days that followed, as I set aside time to figure out what was twisting my perspective, God reshaped my understanding of His heart towards me as His daughter, and how He wanted to parent me as His child. Over time, His grace and truth transformed how I saw myself as a mom and as a child of God.
That day changed everything. In my new book, A Confident Mom, I share more of what happened that day and in the days and years to come.
I wished there was someone I could talk to as a struggling mom. But sadly, I was too ashamed to tell anyone.
I wrote A Confident Mom, because I want to be that “someone” I wish I’d had so many years ago. A friend and mentor to come alongside you as a mom, to encourage your heart through vulnerable personal stories, lessons learned and wisdom gained the hard way. I share simple ways to give your children what they need most (no matter how old they are) while sharing God’s Truth and assurance your heart needs to know.
This is the story of His unfolding grace and unfailing love that rescued me from the pit of defeat and discouragement.
If you, or a mom you know, long for hope and encouragement, practical tools, and Biblical truths to help you experience joy and confidence, I wrote A Confident Mom for you!