Three Lies About Parenting That Steal Peace

Along this mothering journey, I’ve found that my hardest days come when I allow lies to creep in and let them take over my thinking. Do any of these lies make your life harder than it should be?

LIE #1 – My child’s success is up to me (and my failures will doom my child).

We take so very much on ourselves as mothers. It is so easy to begin thinking that if we don’t handle everything just right, we’re going to doom our children to failure. We’ve got to remember that our child’s most important  and most influential parent is God, who loves that child with an everlasting, perfect love, and who is at work in our child’s life and heart every moment of every day. The work we do on behalf of our children does have impact, and there are times when our own sin-nature makes our responses to our children less than ideal. But even then God is at work, redeeming hard moments and hard days and hard years, teaching us and our children about His love. We’re not more powerful than God, and we cannot thwart God’s purpose for our child’s life.

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you [and in your child] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6


LIE #2 – I should be seeing change/growth/improvement by now.

Motherhood is one of the longest-term projects you’ll ever have in life. It takes many, many years for a child to reach maturity. In fact, many (most?) all of us have lots of growing and learning still to do after we officially reach adulthood. That being true, why on earth do we get so frustrated when our kid doesn’t learn something the third or fourth time we teach it? Progress takes time. Our job is to be faithful to the best of our ability, to continue to look at our child’s immaturity with grace-filled eyes, and to gently, repetitively show him the way he should go, giving consequences for wrong actions along the way as needed. How long will it take? That’s not our deal. That’s between our children and God.

“Do not be weary in doing well, for in due time you will reap your reward if you do not faint along the way.” Gal 6:9

LIE #3 – Other moms don’t struggle as much as I do.

It’s so easy to feel like other mommas are more patient, better organized, wiser…and on and on. But the truth is, we’re all human. We all chug away day after day trying to do right by our kids. Someone else’s outside appearance is almost always going to look better than the messy inside of my own head. We need to remember that we are precious to God just as we are—flaws and all. He paired us up with our children for a reason, and His wisdom is perfect. So what’s the best thing we can do for our children as we navigate life amid our own personal brand of struggle? To model an unshakable dependence on Jesus, who is the only source of peace and strength amid the struggle of this life.

“In this world you will have trouble.  But fear not!  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

What lies steal your peace?  How can you counter those lies with God’s truth?

Mary Ostyn is the mother of ten children ages 8 through 25, six of whom arrived via adoption. Ostyn’s passions include mothering, adoption advocacy, homeschooling, cooking, and encouraging other mothers. She blogs at Owlhaven, and is in the process of writing her third book.


  1. T says

    Wow, I was just thinking about lie #1 tonight. I realized one reason I have a hard time losing weight is I believe if I take time to exercise it’s selfish, which means I’m being a bad mom, which means I’ll mess my kids up for good, because it’s all up to me. But it’s not all up to me. Thanks for that great reinforcement! And love #2. I get defeated about that one as well. Thank you!

  2. says

    Hi Mary! You are right on!! These are so perfectly true and after 35+ years of parenting I’ve found them to be the most freeing! Another one…. My childs behavior does not reflect on my parenting or who I am as a person. Yes…sometimes there ar some parenting problems..but not always. We forget sometimes that our children have a sin nature too and can make their own choices to act out.

    The other thing I agree with wholeheartedly is that parenting is such a loooong term thing…I have found that the early 20’s is actually the hardest age I think… to sit back and watch…waiting in the wings..only to be there if they need you. All that learning and parenting….will they make it? Uggg I don’t like it :)

    Blessings to you! Great post!

    • says

      “I have found that the early 20′s is actually the hardest age I think”

      I wrote a blog post just a week or so ago, “Parenting Teens is a Piece of Cake . . . Compared to Parenting Young Adults.” :) I think most people scoffed at me (especially parents of teens that do not yet have young adults). Right now, 7 of my 12 children are in their 20s (along with 3 teens and 2 almost-teens). Yikes!

      Parenting is a very looooong, and very challenging, and very rewarding “career”. We must be in it for the long haul.

      mama of 12 (ages 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 20, 23, 24, 24, 26, 28, 29)

  3. says

    I heard Dr. Dobson say not long ago, after doing a mom survey, that 80%!!! of moms think they are failures. That is a lie that Satan will use to destroy a home. And it is most certainly a lie!

  4. Shana says

    Just read a focus on the family post about this too.. Something to ponder.. If my kids make bad choices and act bad am I an unsuccessful parent? No!!! If the answer was yes that would mean that God is an unsuccessful parent :)


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