The Notorious “Mom Fail” vs. Christ’s Accomplishment

August 12, 2013 · 11 comments

Post image for The Notorious “Mom Fail” vs. Christ’s Accomplishment

by Kimm Crandall

I wake up to the sounds of my five year old microwaving himself a quesadilla while he sips on a soda. My pre-coffee conscience is slammed by the phrase “mom fail.”

I think of the shame that I should feel for not getting out of bed and fixing the kids a healthy breakfast.  I’ve convinced myself that every other mom, regardless of her situation, was up before her kids cooking up something healthy, unlike me. And then it hits me. Why am I trying so hard to cling to my self-righteousness through a plate of scrambled eggs and a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice?

It happens without notice. It’s the air we breathe and the food we eat. It’s the incessant need to compare ourselves to others. We need to be the best we can be, or at least to measure ourselves against someone who is struggling to make sure we aren’t failing too badly. While these sentiments definitely indicate our heart issues, I’ve seen how these thoughts are built into a worldview regarding motherhood. The world tells us that unless we are Pinterestly perfect, Facebookly faultless, Instagramly interesting, and Twitterly terrific, then we have failed.

In my life I experience days of chronic illness when TV and video games are all that I have to offer my kids. There are days that a corn dog and a juice box are sufficient for lunch and then again for dinner. There are days that my bed has been filled with crackers, Legos, glitter, and scraps of paper as my kids have had to live life in the only spot that mommy could rest.

It’s my brokenness, my mess, and all of my failures as a mother that continue to draw me into the arms of Jesus. It is by the grace of Jesus Christ that I see the silliness of the idea of “mom fail,” as though I am perfect 99.9% of the time and that this little “fail” is just a little blip in my well-programmed system. The truth is that the whole operating system is broken. Crashed! Kaput! And I am in great need of outside intervention. I am in need of Someone who can do for me what I cannot do for myself. Christ has taken on my sin, failures, and the weaknesses that beset me, and he’s redeemed me at the cost of his own life.

We have all failed miserably. I’m not talking about “fails” like the time that you let the two-year-old out of sight and she painted the toilet with nail polish. Or the time that you poured milk from the baby’s bottle into your toddler’s cereal because you didn’t want to walk to the kitchen. I’m not even talking about the less cute failures of yelling at your husband or lying to your friend so you didn’t have to babysit her kids.

No, I’m talking about the failure of all failures…the crucifying of the Lord of glory. The tragic event that happened on Calvary 2,000 years ago was because of your failure and my failure. It was the most epic fail of all mankind. The necessity of the crucifixion of the perfect Son of God exposed us all for the failures that we are. No one is righteous in God’s sight—no not one.

When we understand that the cross was about us and our sin and our failure, we see that there is nowhere left to hide. We no longer have to fear exposure. The cross said it all. And as the hymn says, “Jesus paid it all,” so we can stop pretending that we really aren’t that bad. We can start loving the people around us because we know that we really are that bad and so are they. The shame and the masks and the walls… they all come to a blinding halt. The beauty of the cross is that we no longer have to bedazzle our proverbial fig leaves with the words “Mom Fail” across the front. We’ve been found out.

It is finished, moms. Every true failure has been laid upon Jesus’ back and every masqueraded self-righteous “mom fail” has died with him in his death to be remembered no more.

Let’s believe and be free!

Kimm (@big_kimm) is a mother of four kids (12, 10, 7, and 5) who is never short on examples of how God has flooded her with the excessive grace that the gospel brings. Kimm is the author of Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood and can be found blogging at Christ in the Chaos, Dropping Keys, CBMW, and Faith Life Women.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephen Clark August 12, 2013 at 8:34 am

Good words Kimm. Applies just as well to “Dad-fail” and “Husband-fail”. We hope we will be better in 5 or 10 years but truth is we might not. My hope for my kids and everyone whom I love lies not in me but in Jesus, the only rock solid enough to anchor them against all that this life will bring. I will fail them, he will not. All is grace.


2 Elizabeth Crowe August 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm

So needed this this morning. I’m pretty sure this describes me perfectly. My two year old had left over chicken nuggets for breakfast yesterday. I totally relate.


3 Hillary August 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I completely agree with what you say about all of our “mom fails” being taken care of on the cross! Praise God for his abundant grace in our lives and the lives of our children. However, what about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, convicting us of areas we need to grown in? I know you are not advocating laziness, and no, we don’t wallow in our failures as moms, but we do need to be made aware of areas of sin in our lives as mothers, confess them, lean on Christ and the cross, and pray that we can grow in those areas. So, while I don’t disagree with what you are saying, I believe you are leaving this part of our sanctification and growth out of the scenario. I especially felt this after reading Christ in the Chaos.


4 Kimm Crandall August 14, 2013 at 1:24 am

Hi Hillary- No, I did not cover sanctification in this post because it was simply meant to show moms that the “mom fail” is essentially another excuse for our deep seeded self-righteousness. I strongly believe that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to help us to see where we have sinned and that if we have sinned then God, in his kindness, will draw us to repentance.
Spiritual growth cannot be manufactured. It is the work of the Lord that changes us. I can attest to that in my own life as well as many others. I address this in my book and hope that others will see that the deeper we delve into the truth of the gospel the more in love we will become with our Savior. And the natural effects of love is to desire to walk closely to the one who loves you most. Telling others to be good may motivate obedience for a time but since it is not true obedience that is coming from the heart there is no true growth. I hope that the Lord will free you to believe that this is true.


5 Kimberley Suchta April 19, 2014 at 5:44 pm

If I may add to this, (since there is a comment box for me to do so :), I think it is so hard for us being wired to do works for God’s acceptance, that we forget that the marks of a mature christian/sanctification is just that they repent quicker. They see their desperate need for Christ. My husband refers to telling others to “be good” as fruit stapling. Meaning…it’s like stapling fruit to a tree. It will die quickly because it hasn’t come from the root of the tree. And like you said, only the Holy Spirit can give us that life. It is our job to stay desperate. And also remember that our sanctification often looks very slow…sometimes even one step forward, ten steps back. But that is exactly why Jesus had to die! We are THAT bad. I think it was CS Lewis that said something like, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” I love that. It’s so true. Your post actually caused me to see my own failures in the ways I try to find my righteousness in things I shouldn’t. Which brought me again to the end of myself, which brought me to the cross! Staying desperate, seeing how valued and loved we are despite our messes…is what causes us to love Christ and our hearts to change and want to obey…because he first loved us. Thank you!!


6 Kendra Fletcher August 13, 2013 at 5:25 am

Kimm, I love this. Yes! He is there, in our weakness and failures and blunders and fails. And His grace is not only sufficient, His righteousness covers it all. That truth is so magnificent, so spectacular, that it draws me closer and closer and I just want so much more of Him!

Hilary, does the Holy Spirit convict us? What does that mean? A convict is guilty. We, however, are no longer condemned in our status as righteous before God, and our conviction was taken care of at the cross. We are reminded often of our shortcomings and our need for our Savior, but the work of sanctification is His, not ours. It is what He has wrought, and what He declared fulfilled when He exclaimed, “It is finished!” Far more glorious than guilt and conviction is the reminder of Whose we are and what He has done for us, and that His love pours out above and all over us.

Live as if you are loved! It changes everything.


7 Tim August 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Kimm, I didn’t see any mommy failure at all. To me, the fact that your five year old knows how to fix breakfast when hungry is a huge testimony to your good mom skills. How many people have a kid that age who can microwave a quesadilla and get their own drink? You’ve done well with that one, and his kitchen chops will only improve as he grows up.

He’ll also grow up hearing about all that Jesus has done for us. Like you said so well, we don’t have anywhere left to hide. We also have no need to hide, since Jesus has taken on himself everything that might have prompted us to hide ourselves away. I agree completely with Kendra’s comment above: When Jesus said “It is finished,” he meant it.



8 Kimm Crandall August 14, 2013 at 1:15 am

Thank you all for reading and for your kind words!


9 Tami Kim August 14, 2013 at 4:20 am

Loved this. : )


Join the conversation...

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: