32 & 33/52 | when you feel like you failed

My kiddos captured once a week, every week in 2015

They were happy to have me back from my weekend away. Super happy.
Jumping-in-the-air happy (First picture).

I, however, was tired. Falling-down-on-the-floor tired.
Two midnight flights in 3 days, I finally fell into my own bed somewhere around 3am.
Only to be woken lovingly at 6:30 by excited little people, happy to have their mama home. 
And I was so happy to squeeze them, but so sad to say goodbye to my bed so soon.
But up I got, and soldiered on.
It’s what we do, isn’t it? We soldier on. We put their needs before ours, we lay ourselves down. 
And rightly so. But the second picture? This was us almost a week later. 
A lets-get-us-out-of-the-house-before-someone-gets-hurt moment. 
I piled the kids and the dog in the car and we drove to the ocean. 
The place I thought would give us space and air and beauty and calm down this mama-heart.

I wish I could say it worked but it didn’t. For the 45 minutes we were there, watching the sun setting, it was bliss. But we came back to the same grumpiness, just-add-sand. 
By then I’d had enough. I had tried my best to reign in my tone, and get to bedtime with even just a small amount of kindness, but I failed miserably, and I wasn’t the only one in tears. 
My words had an edge and I made demands ruthlessly. My poor little people did as they were told dejectedly. I found only a minuscule amount of patience – just enough to kiss them goodnight. Their forgiving cuddles made my heart ache as I left their darkened bedsides, one by one. I felt like a failure.

And as I stood in the shower, the tears ran fast and condemning thoughts ran more still. I’m the worst mum ever. I’m ruining them. They’re going to grow up devoid of love and affection and remember me only for my tyrant ways. 

But I’ve been doing this parenting gig long enough to know that these days, as awful as they are, they’re few and far between. Its okay.
It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay not to have it all together. 
I refuse to give into the lie that I’m not enough.
We’re enough, and the truth is that being a mother is tough.

We can admit our failings.
We can apologise. 
We can ask for help.
We can try again tomorrow. 

It’s good for your kids to see your humanity; they’ll remember how hard you loved them and how much you cared, they’ll learn to ask for grace, turn to Jesus and be thankful that you never gave up. Because failing is giving up, and you’ve not given up yet.

Today you brushed hair, listened intently to long winded stories, cooked dinner, helped with homework, read a story… and they wore clean clothes, took a lovingly packed lunch to school… 
We’re doing this! And if the soundtrack in your head is telling you otherwise, change it. 
You’re not a failure. 
And tomorrow is a brand new, sparkly, fresh day full of mercy.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


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