When You Second-Guess Yourself As A Mom

second-guess the past

My mastery of second-guessing myself didn’t end when I became a mom. If anything, it became worse.

I second-guess what the kids ate for lunch. I wonder if my three-year-old should be writing his name by now, like some other children his age. When the endless sibling rivalry turns physical I think, “Didn’t I teach them better than this? Will they ever get along?”

Sometimes the worst critics are the ones running on repeat inside our heads.

We teach our kids to share, to love their neighbor and show respect. But when we don’t see the fruits of our labor we question whether anything we say is sinking in. We’re told in Proverbs to “train up a child in the way he should go” but when we don’t see visible results, we wonder what we’re doing wrong.

Instead of living in the present, we second-guess the past.

A couple of weeks ago, God gave me a push of encouragement along with a wake-up call. My husband and I had tucked the kids in for the night and were settled into our comfy spots in the family room. With the soft orange glow from the table lamp we read our devotional app and talked about its subject, prayer.

The teaching gave a blueprint. Begin with thanks and repentance, then present your requests to God in Jesus’ name.

As we sat there talking my mind went to our kids. Were we teaching them enough about prayer? My husband, as if reading my inner thoughts, said,

“Do you know what our son did tonight?”

“No.” And I secretly wondered if I wanted to.

“He thanked God for a good day at school and time playing at home. Then he asked God to place his hand on Coco and heal her.”

Coco, our dog, had been struggling to walk for last couple of days. At fourteen years and counting, she wasn’t as limber as she used to be.

Listening to my husband describe our son’s prayer, eyes welled up with tears. Here was our seven-year-old, modeling the exact form of prayer Jesus used with his disciples. And he wasn’t thinking of himself. He wasn’t asking for a new Lego set or a video game.

He was petitioning on behalf of our dog.

Even through all my doubt and questioning, God was working in the heart of our son. We were doing what we could do, but God was moving this little seven-year-old’s heart in ways only he could.

When we second-guess the past, we often miss what God is doing in the present.

Parenting is a tough road. There are days when we wonder if anything we are saying or doing is making a difference. In moments of frustration it’s easy to play the past on repeat.

That night, God gave me an invitation to live in the now. To be present with my son as he prayed and grew and loved.

No matter what the future held, I didn’t want to miss it.


*Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday and Grace & Truth. Come join us and be inspired.

13 thoughts on “When You Second-Guess Yourself As A Mom

  1. LOVE! I struggle with this, even now that my son is a teen. The teen years can be frustrating at times. I find myself questioning the past. Maybe I didn’t do enough of this or that. But you are so right, Abby. Second-guessing is destructive, and lessens our trust in the One who is in complete control.


    • Kristine, thank you so much for your encouragement. I can only imagine how much second-guessing those teen years bring and how your faith is challenged! I always love hearing from moms who are a little further ahead on the mothering journey and are forging that path. You are an inspiration, friend.


  2. Oh this is so good, Abby! One of the things I miss the most now, as an empty nester, is overhearing those precious bedtime prayers! This is such a great reminder too – to stay in the present and look for how He is moving, because He IS moving… He always is at work!


  3. LOVE! (I second Kristine.) Just shared on my FB page and want to pin. I struggle with this so much, especially now that my “boy” has gone to college. “Did I do enough?” I ask myself. Thanks for this encouragement to lighten up and rest in God.


  4. Abby,
    There’s a saying that goes something like this…What our children learn from us is not so much “taught” as it is “caught”. Obviously your boys have caught you praying as a family, by yourselves, with others?? These little sponges of ours are taking it all in. Sounds like you and your husband are modeling a good example. I think God would smile and say, “Be easier on yourself…you’re doing a good job with my boys!” Great post!
    Bev xx


  5. Hi Abby, sometimes it tires me out too, thinking If I have done everything I should have done!
    I don’t want to miss the present while brooding on the past.
    Thanks for your beautiful post.
    God Bless


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