Cheer Here #3: Your Mistakes Aren’t The Whole Story

Sometimes, it feels as if motherhood is about my effort to minimize mistakes. I try to mess up as little as possible.

How joyful!

But really, there are days I feel like I make mistake after mistake. I yell at my kids. I ignore them too much. I’m distracted. I just plain old don’t treat them very well. I’m disconnected and I don’t provide the things I know they need. It’s a horrible feeling to end a day knowing it was like that. I feel so bad for my kids. I vow to do better tomorrow. And I beat myself up quite a bit.

On some of those days – when I’m in a sour mood and feel I’m messing it up horribly – my kids don’t reciprocate. Instead, they show me magic in the simplest ways. They show me that they’re thriving despite me. They show me their pure love for me and each other. They laugh and play despite their monster mom. It makes me realize that I believe the lie that – exclusively – they are the result of my efforts. I forget that they’re their own beings and can do well even when I don’t.

It is true that we ought to do the best we can. And we ought to improve ourselves. But our kids are apparently pursuing emotional independence from the time they’re born. And man, are they resilient! Thank the Lord!

We have intuition about how we mother and if it’s going well. But luckily, our own feelings often don’t tell the whole story. You may feel as if you’re failing your kids miserably. But in those moments of weakness, your kids are just happy to be able to call such a strong and beautiful woman “mom.”

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