July 30, 2010

Being Afraid of Failing as a Mom


Image By Pink Sherbet Photography

There are many things that I am afraid of. Little things like giant worms, clowns, forgetting to say I Love You to someone I love and then not seeing them again. And I also have big giant scary fears. We all have things we’re afraid of, right? And it’s OK to be afraid. Yes?

But what if that fear seems unfounded? What if it’s dumb or stupid or silly? We’re told from an early age not to be afraid. The bogeyman doesn’t exist. The monsters under the bed or in the closet can be tamed with special ‘monster spray’.

And who determines if that fear is founded or unfounded? Doctors? Your spouse? Friends? I’m not so sure. I’d like to think it would be me, but then again if I’m the one with the fear I’m sure as heck going to think it is based in reality.

My biggest fear is failing my daughter. Not being a good mom. Not in the sense that I didn’t let BabyGirl eat ice cream for every meal last week, mom fail. But big giant things like not protecting her or not being there when she really, really needs me.

Maybe it’s a common theme among moms. Maybe I’m just a freak who grew up being told that I can’t fail. That failure was horrible and unacceptable. That if something went wrong it was my responsibility to fix it. And that not fixing it wasn’t an option. Harsh, yes. But my reality.

Being a parent is hard. Being a perfectionist parent is nearly impossible. I live it. I know it’s hard. I know that my fear and perfectionism are being passed on. I know that my worries and anxieties are partially paralyzing. I know that I control this. That I am fully responsible for letting these fears go. But they won’t go away. And if I think they go away, they’re merely hibernating or on hiatus. Ready to leap forth at any moment when something goes ‘wrong’. Yes, wrong is in quotation marks. Because wrong is now subjective. Colored by an insane thought process of what is right.

I live with my fear. I try to rid it from my brain. I need it to go away. I want it to go away. It is irrational and debilitating at times. I don’t want it to take over. It can’t take over. It can’t win!

I am a good mom!
I am a good mom!
I am a good mom!

Please tell me I’m not alone in this fear. Maybe not to the same extent, but do you ever think you’re a failure as a mom?



Amy @ Dealusional July 30, 2010 at 5:10 am

You’re definitely not alone in your fear. As a matter of fact, we stopped saving for college and now just contribute to a “therapy fund.”

Erin August 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I love this comment. I’m not sure if it’s a joke or serious but either way, I can totally relate!

Nancy @ The Affordable Mouse July 30, 2010 at 8:21 am

Oh Sara you are so not alone. I think that feeling truly comes with being a mom, and striving to be the best possible mom you can be. Being a parent….being a Mom….is the hardest job in the world, and I am in constant fear that I will have failed at the most important thing I will ever have done in my life. And mine is in college….so the worry does not end. So please know: you have many *sisters* out there who share your fear and worries.

Valerie D July 30, 2010 at 10:20 am

You are certainly not alone. I think it’s only natural to be afraid of failing, especially when it comes to something so important. It took me a long time to realize that I am not a bad mother and that circumstances are what they are (you know what I mean). But I remind myself that fearing failure as a mother just means that I care so much about my girls and that I want them to be happy. Seriously…my mom made a lot of mistakes and I’m still here, happy, healthy and doing well. So I figure I’ve got a little leeway there! You’re a great Mom and she’s lucky to have you, as you are lucky to have her.

Sara July 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Amy, Valerie and Nancy:

Thank you for comforting and reassuring me. I’m definitely fortunate to count you all among my supporters and friend. As you mention, Valerie, your mom made mistakes. My mom did too. And, I made it to 41 without much incident. I guess I shouldn’t worry b/c I’m more normal than I thought. Thanks for being a great sorority!


Kate @ Songs Kate Sang July 30, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Oh, I completely relate. It has replaced the fear of heights as my biggest fear. I think we see how much beauty there is in our children and we don’t want to tarnish that… ever. All I know is:
1. YOU are a GREAT mom!
2. We will fail. We are human. When we do, we can say we are sorry and love them more deeply and with more vigor than before.

It’s ok! We will all get through this amazing journey together!

Honey August 2, 2010 at 9:34 am

Hi Sara,

I have mom fears too. I fear the twins falling off the bunk bed that they have recently learned how to climb. I fear that someone will forget to lock a window and the twins will open it, climb up, and fall out the second story window. I fear that the someone will forget to lock the front door and the twins will open it and get out. I fear that one of the kids will have a severe allergic reaction to something hidden in foods that we are unaware of. We have an Epi-Pen for allergies and I am scared that I will someday have to use it – like if Zion ever gets a bee sting again (they said it could be fatal).

We probably don’t all have the same fears, but I am sure we all have some fears (if we are honest with ourselves).

Thanks for this post Sara. It feels better just sharing my fears.


Sara August 3, 2010 at 1:41 am

Hi Honey,

Thank you for sharing your fears. Seems like we all have them. And while they may not be exactly the same, it’s a more universal part of motherhood than anyone ever lets on.

Luckily, we’re able to support each other – even though we live far apart.

Thank you for your very personal comment and know that we’re all part of the same village supporting one another!

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