Top 5 Ways Moms Fail

by Dr. Kristen M. White, Portland Oregon Psychologist - (503) 714-5479


If you are reading this, it’s because you care about your kids.  You worry about whether you are doing it right.  You’re not alone; we all have those worries.  And the very fact that we have them is usually a good sign!  As a therapist and a mom of three, here’s some of the top ways we really do fail and how to fix them:

1) Putting other people’s needs before our own.

Of course the love we have for our kids is actively self-sacrificial; it’s an amazing picture of God’s love for us.  But we aren’t God.  We have basic needs, like sleep and food, health and relationships, and they need to be cared for too.  If we put our needs aside indefinitely, both we and our kids will pay the price when we run out of resources to give.  So remember to put some of your needs on the schedule too!

2) Not asking for help.

“But everyone else seems to be able to do it, shouldn’t I be able to as well?”  There are so many things wrong with this logic, I hardly know where to start.  First, everyone else may have support.  Second, they likely have struggles we don’t see.  Third, who cares?  Being a mom is hard work, and if we can benefit from a little help from your partner, parents, in-laws, friends, or a sitter, why not reach out and ask for help?  There is a good chance at least one of them is offering anyway, so tell them specifically what you need and take them up on their offer!

3) Staying too busy

It is unbelievable how busy we keep ourselves and our families.  While all the activities we do are great, we need enough time to slow down and decompress.  Don’t forget to build in some time just to be still and enjoy one another.  You’ll most likely find you like your kids, your life, and even yourself a little more.

4) Expecting too much of yourself

As a mom, there are a million ways our kids need us.  I mean, seriously—in addition to just keeping them alive, we have to help them develop new skills, teach them how to manage their emotions, help them learn to get along with others, and the list goes on and on.  And, of course, since their list goes on, so does ours.  So good news and bad news: None of use can do it all.  Try prioritizing one or two things and make them the focus for your week or even month.  The guilt gets you nowhere, and focusing will probably be more effective for both you and your kids anyway.

5) Refusing to take small steps

Feel overwhelmed?  You aren’t alone.  But don’t stay there.  Choose one small step today—whether it’s taking a 10 minute break, asking someone to help in some small way, saying no to one thing that is too much, or focusing instead of giving into guilt, it’s important to start somewhere.  And one step today, plus another step tomorrow or next week, soon adds up to quite a distance toward where we want to go.

So bottomline?  Give yourself a little grace, and maybe even a little pay on the back.   None of us can do this whole mom thing perfectly.  And the good news?  We don’t have to.  We just need to be good enough.

Need additional help?  Contact me today: (503) 714-5479 or

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