why your mistakes in motherhood matter

I have made so many many mistakes in motherhood.

I could list them all for you if you’d like. Maybe you’d like to see a list so you can breathe that sigh of relief or maybe it will save you from mistakes or maybe you’ll think phew at least I’m not that bad. It’s not that I’m bad, honestly, friends, I’m just human. I’m a mom with a heart for her kids. A mom who tries and tries and just wants to be a good mom.

But I make mistakes. Like this:

I have low patience. Now this mistake I jokingly blame on God. Someday I will have a conversation about that mistake given to me that I have to deal with – like seriously? Did you just add extra low patience to my DNA? And this is the result: Low patience means that when my kids are creative – making slime, making glitter stuff, trying to cook on their own, creating forts, or any other thing that requires a mess being made in a home that I attempt to keep clean – my patience is tested. So I get snippy. I have yelled. I have gone in my room and binge watched HGTV shows to help me feel better about my now messy house. I have called their creativity a gigantic disaster of a mess to their face. And then I cry because I think that I just destroyed their life-long dream of being an inventor and one day they will talk to a counselor and cry about the day their mom freaked out over green glitter slime dripping off the table and onto the floor.

Oh yes, just to make you feel even better, I forgot a birthday once. Of my OWN child. I remember waking up, rolling over, going through my day and then wondering what am I forgetting? Oh yes, the birthday. I certainly will not ever forget the labor. But yes, I forgot the birthday. Not the whole day, but enough.

I get annoyed too. I get crabby at homework. I’ve yelled despite being told whispering is more effective. I get crabby at messes. I know we established that above, but I’m letting you know. I am divorced. Trust me. That one gets to me sometimes. I used to be a stay-at-home mom and now I am a stay-at-home-working-please-do-not-bother me now mom and I feel guilt. I love frozen gluten free chicken nuggets (not really a mistake until I read the articles on organic and kids.)

I honestly could list you ALL of my mistakes in motherhood. There are so so so so many.

But you know what? I am proud of my mistakes. Proud of them.

Because they mean I did not sit on my rear and do nothing for the last twenty-two  years.

I figured out potty-training. Yeah, it drove me nuts and started my addiction to lattes at Starbucks, but here’s the deal – ALL MY KIDS ARE POTTY TRAINED. Despite me thinking I would never survive it. Did I make mistakes? Uh yeah. But we made it through.

I make mistakes because I am human. I am real. And I am a mom that tries. And when you try, you make mistakes. But you can’t learn to jump unless you actually try. And sometimes it means falling and trying and falling again.

My kids weren’t born being brilliant at math. How in the world did we decide that we are supposed to be brilliant and perfect at motherhood before we even tried? Yet somehow there is this pressure to do everything just perfect and right and to lament and bemoan our mistakes. I get it. I have thought I have ruined my kids forever.

Let me tell you this. Kids are resilient. They aren’t perfect either. So we’re a group of us making mistakes. But there is something powerful in it – we are a family trying together. Trying to build a life. Celebrating each other’s victories and cheering for the great days. Showing up and loving. Crying with each other too during the hard moments. Forgiving the moments we snap. And never giving up on each other.

Listen, you will make mistakes.

Please don’t let them be a grade of your story. Your story is not a story of perfection, but rather realness. And that means that instead of shame you hold your head high and you live today with purpose and joy.

You see sometimes we get so busy seeing the mistakes we miss everything we do right. I know I do. I miss seeing that all those attempts at making gold star progress charts that we never finished actually wasn’t failing, but was trying. I miss seeing all the times I cried behind the bathroom door because I was overwhelmed as me gathering my resolve, not failing. I miss understanding that when I felt scared and had no idea what to do that I didn’t stop, I figured it out.

Sometimes I think we need to be proud of our mistakes. Because surrounding the mistakes is more often than not victory, resolve, success, tenacity and unwavering love.

I have been a mom for twenty-two years.

I will be a mom for the rest of my life.

And that is the greatest gift I can give my children, my family. The gift of showing up, being their cheerleader, being their constant, being their mom.

And that is worth every stumble, every mistake, every try-again to get to this place.

And so are you.

~Rachel

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