you mothered today

Tonight I sat on my couch, put my head in my hands, felt a tear fall and told my kids to all go to bed. Immediately. With no dessert, no books read, no nothing.

Go. To. Bed. And no more talking.

I just had enough, my friends, enough.

I don’t even know what it was, really about tonight versus other nights. I don’t know if I was tired or worn or the fact that the clean house was getting constantly destroyed or that oh I don’t know.  I don’t know if it is March and a week of clouds and money being tight or me being tired. I should have realized it when I woke and my six year old barricaded his room and wrote a note telling his brothers to keep out because they were annoying him already at 7:20am.  I could probably put money on the fighting between my kids as part, but well, sometimes I’m like King Solomon and have brilliant solutions. But, not tonight, because tonight I just had enough. And in those moments sitting on my couch with the tears falling and the aggravation still there I just want to have a moment to step back and breathe and get my bearings.


But inevitably there will be another issue – another cry for my name – and no moments.

So tonight, I sent them to bed, sat on my couch and put my headphones in and turned on Hulu and started watching old episodes of American Idol. Because, of course, just like laundry – which needs to be switched – I am behind.  Maybe it’s that out-of-breath always feeling behind part that gets me. Or maybe it’s the part of me that cringes when there is a mess. Or the part of me that feels irritated when I find wrappers and dishes left in the family room – because then I’m like – and who do they think will clean it?

So I start to get down on myself a bit. Like I’m not doing enough or I should have more patience and then that just all rolls into the whole package of frustration. That’s what it is – frustration, really.

And then friends, as I sat on my couch and stewed – I’ll be honest that is what it was – my six year old Samuel came to me. I had words for him.

I told you to go to bed.

And he didn’t listen to that. Not one bit.

Instead he walked over to me, put his arms around me and said I love you mommy.

Yes, you read that right. He stopped what he was doing, saw his exasperated had enough and so not perfect mom and stopped what he was doing and told me he loved me. With a hug.

Feel free to cry.

Because I totally did.

How in the world did he know to tell me that then? How did he love me in that moment – the bear of a mom that I was and pushed to my breaking point? How?

I just felt like I didn’t deserve it, you know.

Like I should ALWAYS have it all together and never snap.


Well, the truth is that sometimes we all will have days where we’ve had enough. And sometimes it isn’t over the really big things but is rather an accumulation of lint like sticky small things that when there are too many push us to our end of patience.

Those bad moments and bad days and overwhelming days and frustrating nights don’t make us bad moms. They don’t mean our kids will be scarred because we hypothetically messed up. I didn’t mess up – I just was human. The kitchen was clean and the dishes done and the family room vacuumed and the kids sent to bed because they were all crabby. And I just needed space – space to breathe and be. And they still loved me.

Your kids still love you – even if they don’t tell you – on those days when you have had enough.

You don’t have to have perfect days to be enough. You don’t have to have perfect meals to be enough. You don’t have to have the perfect body to be enough. You don’t have to have kids who always get along – can you even imagine – to be enough. You just don’t.

Mothering in the moments of angst and crazy and when you’ve had it is enough. Loving kids and grocery shopping and working hard and refolding blankets and doing laundry and firing up the grill and washing floors and stopping disputes and scrubbing peanut butter out of the floor – it’s all enough. There never was a gold star badge of motherhood glory to put under your facebook profile for the perfect mom.

There is you.

You right now. The mom who might not feel loved or appreciated or if you’re like me like you messed up. And that you is a person who should put her head on her pillow tonight and breathe deep and think that today you accomplished great things. Yes, great things.

You mothered.


Through good and bad and crazy and hard and insert whatever variable you’d like. Do you see that? Understand it? Mothering isn’t about perfection but is very much often about days like today too. So before you decide that today was a fail or that you’re not enough or are way too hard on yourself I want you to stop and remember that you mothered. I want that to be what you write on your mirror in your bathroom – I mothered. I want you to remember that.

Not the other stuff or that it didn’t match your paradigm. But rather that, well, you did it.

Just like I did.

That is powerful.

Be proud, my friend. Be proud.

I guess I just wanted my bad had enough day to be a reminder to you all that none of us have it together all the time. None of us. We may look like we do from the outside but we’re all in this together – learning to mother day after day after day. And you know what?

I think we’re all doing a pretty good job.

You mothered today.

Thank you for that.



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16 Responses to “you mothered today”

  1. March 5, 2016

    Mary Falotico Reply

    For weeks I have had enough, I’ve been suffering through, through the frustration of the 17 yr old, who thinks they are too old to do chores, or a 13 yr old, who says she’s been SO BUSY, to help around the house, I’ve been suffering through my depression of trying deal with the 1st anniversary of the death of my father, and then suffer through being that Single Mom, who is just So tired of being Everything, Doing Everything, and having No rest, No support, no one to stand up for me, or back me up.., just me, feeling alone, and defeated and feeling as if I’ve failed them, and myself…
    Feeling the depression overcome my being, that not one but two, then three, then seven days of feeling like I’ve had enough, of feeling overwhelmed, and the frustration level is still high, and the tears at night, turn into tears during the day, and then the pain starts to show, when you hide it so well… And yes – I Mothered today, and my kids thanked me, but I’m crying tonight, again, feeling frustrated, and angry, and lost…
    But I’ll Mother again tomorrow, and the next, and the next, because – as a Mother, that is a choice I made, maybe not the dream I had, or the future I dreamed of… But I am a Mother, and I pray I can make it through one more day…

  2. March 6, 2016

    Annie Garrett Reply

    Thank you. I needed this.

  3. March 6, 2016

    Vera Reply

    I thought l was the only one

  4. March 6, 2016

    Lara P Reply

    Tears! Love!! Yesterday was hard for me too. My kids wake up at 4:30-5 every. day! Sometimes happy sometimes crabby. Either way, they wake my husband and I up every day. Sometime happy, sometimes crabby. Yesterday we were all crabby, my husband had to work, and I felt so very stuck at home. So at 4 pm, a friend I don’t know well posted she was at a relatively inexpensive waterpark and I stuck the kids in the car and we joined her! Still bone tired but we are all happy. Mother on!!

    • March 6, 2016

      Aimee B. Reply

      amen. tears here.

    • March 6, 2016

      Pilar Ferrell Reply

      I’m glad you were able to turn a crabby day into a good one. Sometimes all you need is to get out of the house…I’ve definitely done that before just packed the kids and go😊

  5. March 6, 2016

    Amanda Reply

    Thank you for this blog. I guess it’s okay not to be perfect after all….

  6. March 6, 2016

    Pilar Ferrell Reply

    Wow! Thank you, thank you sooooo much for your honesty and your encouragement. I’ve known days like those oh so well, nights when my husband works late and I’ve just had enough and I angrily put the kids to bed because they didn’t eat their dinner, because they didn’t pick up, because they were bickering and arguing about this and that and I’m just tired and exhausted of everything, frustrated with the kids and with myself. I’m familiar with the tears too, after it’s finally quite and they’re are finally sleep I do exactly what you described, I sit down defeated and exhausted and I cry because I feel like a total failure, like I’ve messed up again after reading blogs and posts of how to be more patient, more loving, how to be a happy mom instead of a snappy angry mom. In that moment, those days that just are bad days it’s so hard to remember that I’m only human and that I kept the kids that I love but drive me crazy fed, clothed and taken care of even if it wasn’t a perfect day, even when I wasn’t perfect. Sometimes, I beat myself up over it so much I can’t sleep because I’m afraid that I’m messing up my kids for the long run and sometimes I breath and tell myself that tomorrow will be a better day and I’ll have another chance to make it right. Thank you for reminding me that even in those bad days when we feel like total failures we still manage to accomplish mothering and that I’m not alone, that I’m not the only one who goes through this and that I’m enough. I need to remember that I’m enough a lot more often and it’s really hard particularly on “hard bad days”. Thank you for sharing your “bad day” because not a lot of us are willing to admit we have days like the one on your post and if we do we don’t because like in my case I’m afraid to be judged and labeled as a terrible mother.

  7. March 6, 2016

    Pilar Ferrell Reply

    Sorry for my long coment

  8. March 7, 2016

    Denise Reply

    I was talking to my pastor the other day about all the times I loose my patience with my kids and he said something to the effect of: The real victory isn’t that we loved perfectly but that we kept making the choice to love. That if we loved automatically, it wouldn’t be real love at all. That loosing my patience is natural, and that it was something about which I should be contrite, but that I should keep my eyes on Jesus and keep making the choice to love (and mother my kids in love, and that the Spirit would keep strengthening me to do this. He is also always quick to point out that our kids know how much we love them, even when we’ve lost our patience with them, and that we should take great comfort and inspiration in the way that they see through our frailties and love us without reserve anyway. (the way you did with your son)

    Rachel, thank you for your post. I often feel like it’s only me who struggles with these things. Not that misery loves company, but knowing that other moms are struggling with the same things makes me feel like less of a defective person and more like a person who is trying to rise above their humanity to love more like our loving Father.

  9. March 8, 2016

    Elizabeth Reply

    Thank you for saying what I feel all too often.

  10. August 3, 2016

    Tash Reply

    I love it how they just know what you need. when I say sorry to my 5 year old for yelling etc. he just says ‘it’s ok mum’. This breaks my heart every time as I know that our relationship isn’t ruined.Thank you for your blogs – they make me feel so normal – it’s ok to not have it together all the time. and the encouragement – I DO MOTHER – everyday and all that entails :)

  11. August 4, 2016

    Bill Cooper Reply

    Sounds like my day today except… I fathered! Good post.

  12. August 4, 2016

    Amandia Reply

    After 2 days of constant fighting, cleaning, packing, tryingbto find a renter, and find a place to rent ourselves I sooo feel like this. So thank you for this!

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