3 Ways to Win When You’re Losing at Motherhood

what to do when you feel defeated

When a baseball pitcher starts to lose his mojo, you can see it in his body language. Everything about him starts to droop. At a recent game, this was my son. After one too many walks, his confidence was down—and his teammates quickly followed suit. But his coach knows what to do when you feel defeated. He called out, “Shoulders up, son!” I watched in amazement as the boys straightened up their shoulders and stood tall. Their entire game changed!

This is how we act as moms sometimes. After what feels like one too many strikes in parenting, our shoulders slump. Our energy sinks. It’s as if we’re mourning a loss that hasn’t even happened yet. But you don’t have to stay in that place! If you don’t know what to do when you feel defeated, try taking these 3 steps to get your mom mojo back.

Get your shoulders up!

Check your posture. Whether you are literally walking around with slumped shoulders or feeling down in your heart and mind, pause to straighten your posture. You haven’t lost this battle! Progress is attainable while perfection will always be just out of reach. Sometimes it’s three steps forward and two steps back.

Get your literal posture up by putting on some music you love while you clean the house! Or get up early and do some self-care. Sometimes we need a little time to ourselves to regain strength and perspective.

Get your hopes up!

If you’re like me, you get laser-focused on the problems can’t figure out what to do when you feel defeated. But we can be intentional about seeing the good things too. Write them down on your to-do list. Thank God for them. Start small and let it grow from there.

Recently, I was doing the dishes and feeling utterly defeated. I knew I needed to start by being thankful for something, but I didn’t feel thankful for anything. So I looked at the spoon I was washing and I said, “God, I’m thankful for this spoon.” As I stared at that spoon, I thought of something else. My sink. My dishwasher. My kitchen. And it grew from there!

Get your eyes up!

Where is your focus? When we focus on our children too much, it puts excess pressure on their performance (and ours). When I shift my sight upward on God, I can refuel and refocus on what He is asking me to do, rather than on the failures all around me.

I love Psalm 121:1-3 because it helps me do that: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber.”

Mom, you’re the pitcher.

Remember, Mom is like the pitcher on the Family Team. If the pitcher thinks the team is in a losing battle, everyone else will, too. The attitude catches like wildfire at my house; some retreat to their bedrooms and others start bickering or even snapping at the dog!

I used to resent this chain of events, this power I held. I thought, Why can’t I have a bad day, or be in a bad mood once in a while without feeling guilty that it’s affecting everyone else? But, the hard truth I had to swallow is this: I’m the grown-up. The woman is the emotional leader of the household whether she wants to be or not. You are the pitcher and the team needs you.

How do you make a comeback when you’re feeling defeated in parenting?