Hope For Bad Moms Everywhere


“Do all moms think they are bad moms?” my eight-year-old daughter asked me, her eyes full of innocence.

We were sitting around the dinner table; I was telling my family about a talk I had heard at a Women’s Conference earlier that day.

The speaker, a woman with beautiful long black hair, shared with us a personal experience from her journal–a dark period in her life when she had felt hopeless, hopeless to overcome her weaknesses and become the person she is meant to be. In agony of soul, she cried out to her Father in Heaven, as she had done countless times before, regarding her situation.

Her situation? She had yelled at her kids. She had yelled at her kids after making the commitment to no longer yell at them. Today, she had broken that commitment and yelled, yet again (because of their constant whining and teasing and disobedience and….well…all those things that tend to push a mom past her breaking point.) And while she was yelling, she caught a glimpse of her children’s hurt faces and broken spirits and it nearly broke her heart. How could she ever be free of this insufferable weakness of yelling at her children? Falling to her knees that night she wept bitter tears of utter despair.


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As I listened to her speak, I slowly looked around the Conference room to find every woman around me wiping her wet eyes. I paused a moment and then wiped my own.

Reflecting on the talk, I replied to my daughter. “Yes,” I whispered, “I think every mother probably feels like a bad mother.”

“Oh,” she said, turning her attention back to her food.


My response to her question haunted me for the rest of the night. “Did I really want my daughters to think that I believe I am a bad mom? And that all moms feel like bad moms? Did I want my daughters to grow up feeling that they themselves were bad moms?

No! No, I absolutely do not want them thinking and feeling those things. So what can I do to no longer feel like a bad mom?

An answer was presented by the speaker at the Woman’s Conference. In essence, she said, “I decided that night to hand my inadequacies over to my Savior. I decided to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ to my life. I don’t know what He’s going to do with what I gave Him, but it’s now His.” Then she stood up and went on her way, acting as though she had never had that particular weakness.

How many times have we been told to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ to our lives? How exactly do we do that?




I admire how the speaker handed her inadequacies over to her Savior and then immediately moved forward in faith. It sounds to me like a good two-step action plan for applying Christ’s Atonement to one’s life:

1. Hand your inadequacies over to the Savior

2. Immediately move forward in faith

If I could add a third step, it would be:

3. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not perfect


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Scientist and poet Piet Hein wrote short verses that he called brooks. One of his most famous brooks was called “The Road to Wisdom”:

Well, it’s plain
and simple to express.
Err and err and err again,
but less and less and less.

As this verse suggests, the key to wisdom is not succeeding, but learning from your mistakes in ways that allow the mistakes you make in the future to be less damaging than the ones you made in the past. You need to take the proper orientation toward failure. You have to learn the art of self-compassion—treating yourself with warmth and understanding. You can set high expectations, but you should not punish yourself when you fail.”

To me, this describes—in a nutshell—the application of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to one’s life.





Early the next morning, I gathered my children to my side and told them that I had changed my mind; I told them that I do, in fact, feel like a good mom. I acknowledged that I’m not perfect, but, because of Jesus Christ’s Atonement, I can try to do better tomorrow. My kids each smiled and told me that they think I’m a great mom.

I now wake up excited to face the day and go to bed feeling content, knowing (and really believing!) that, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I’ll have the opportunity to do better tomorrow. It’s a practical lesson regarding the Atonement that I hope my children will learn at a young age.

It feels good knowing that I’m a good mom. I bet you’re a good mom, too.



Day 24 Challenge: Think of three positive things you did today in relation to your role as mother. Celebrate your successes!


This is Day 24 of my Write 31 Days series for 2017: 31 Days to an Authentic Life.
For an index of all the posts in the series, please click HERE.


For more on the subject of hope: Hope For The Downhearted: A Story of Life, Loss, and Hope

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  • Aimee Imbeau

    I wonder if feeling like a ‘bad mom’ has become kind of like a trend these days. If you don’t feel like you are a bad mom, then you are not ‘normal’. And maybe, we have let our parenting give us our identity, which is a very dangerous thing to do. I agree with what the speaker said and that is something I did years ago. I still make mistakes, but then my kids get to see God’s grace in my life. They get to practice forgiveness when I confess my sin against them. There are a lot of ‘cultural norms’ that I have been rethinking over the years and have come to the conclusion that they are neither Biblical nor are they healthy (like blaming hormones for a teen’s attitude – and that it is all normal teen behavior – it’s not).
    Thanks for linking up with Grace & Truth this week.

    • Down Aspen Lane

      My teen does not like your assessment of teen attitudes. Hahaha! (But I agree with you completely!)

  • Donna Miller

    I have struggled with feeling like a bad parent and suffering regret because I didn’t mean to be a bad parent. God is so sweet and graceful. We were never meant to be perfect. As long as we can repent and say we are sorry, I think that speaks more to our kids than trying to be perfect. Thank you for this awesome post! ❤

  • Alynda Long

    Yes, yes, yes! I know this is an area of great emotion for me. I don’t want my daughters to grow up thinking they are destined to repeat my mistakes. We are all daughters of the Most High King and there is peace in that fact!

  • Brittany Ferrell

    What a perceptive daughter you have! I think she is awfully observant. We moms tend to always dwell on the things we wish we did better and our failings, rather than seeing all of the amazing things we do every day. I am the first to say I am guilty of that! It is okay that we are not perfect, but sometimes we forget to see the good at all! I pledge to remind myself of all the good things I do as a mom!

  • Melissa

    Parenting is hard! There are so many times that we don’t handle things quite right or lose or cool! Thankfully we can hand all of that over! Thank you for the post!

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