To the mama who feels like she’s failing,
You’re not. I promise you that. You’re probably doing far more amazing than you’ll ever give yourself credit for. But no matter what’s happening in your mind and your home, household, and children’s lives, I pray you’ll trust me on this: you are not failing.
We’ve All Been There
As I sit in my daughter’s nursery rocking my sweet baby girl, who gave us a scare this past weekend (horrendous stomach bug, two terrifying, unknown-cause seizures, and an ambulance trip to the children’s hospital emergency department later), I can assure you, I’ve been where you are. Not just this past weekend. But especially this past weekend. This whole past weekend has been one of the hardest and scariest of my life. And I felt like I was failing.
The entire weekend, when my only job was to keep my daughter alive and well (with the help of some amazing medical staff) and my household together, I felt like I was failing.
The entire weekend, watching my daughter struggle while her typically lively, energetic, and hyper-aware little self was on a hiatus, I couldn’t breathe. She wasn’t thriving as usual, so how could I be content? As health scares and sickness took over, I pleaded with her to be okay, again and again. And you know what? She’s okay. Yet still, the entire weekend, I felt like I was failing.
The entire weekend, seeing the dishes pile up from one refused meal after another. The garbage overflowing with food scraps mixed with dirty, stomach-bug blow-out diapers. The laundry continued to sit right where it was placed more than a week prior. I felt like I was failing.
The entire weekend, trying helplessly and unsuccessfully over and over again to set my daughter down for a quick moment so that I could use the restroom myself. Maybe wash my face, brush my teeth (forget about a shower) and get myself somewhat put together. I felt like I was failing.
The entire weekend, repeatedly wiping tears from my inconsolable tiny human only to be met by more of them. And the occasional piercing scream of an upset 21-pound, 30-inch long little body, arching back and wailing, feet and all. I felt like I was failing.
The entire weekend, looking at my long list of unread, yet-to-respond-to text messages of concern from family and friends wondering how my daughter was doing while I was trying desperately to keep myself afloat alongside her so that I could get us both back to the shore of normalcy, I felt like I was failing.
Shift Your Perspective
And as I sit here rocking my now asleep, happily-dreaming one-year-old sidekick who is still glued to me despite all of the aforementioned chaos, finally catching a breath of my own, I’m starting to wonder: how in the world did I ever feel like I was failing?!
The truth is, my baby girl is breathing, fed, clothed, being loved and held and comforted. She is safe. She is content and secure, and she knows I am here. Because I am. Showing up and loving her the best I possibly could, despite everything. We are in this together, and we continue to make it through. For when we have each other, we have everything. How could I possibly be failing?!
To the mama who feels like she’s failing: I hear you, see you, and often am you. As moms, we want nothing more than for our children to always be happy, healthy, and thriving. We want the best for our babies. So, when life presents itself as a series of unpredictable, sometimes bumpy events (as it often does!), it’s only natural for us to question our success as parents to those little humans who depend on us for everything. I completely get that, I promise you. But I promise you, even more, mama, you are not failing.
You see, even in the most challenging times of your life (and probably your children’s, because we all know their struggles are our struggles just as much), you’re showing up. You’re placing your feet into those big, tired yet Olympic-race-winning worthy shoes only the greatest of mamas could possibly fill. Day after day, win after win and struggle after struggle. You’re continuing to walk alongside your child on their journey, refusing to let any rough terrain stop you from trucking along. Mama, you are not failing.
You, mama, are unstoppable. You’re continuing to put your young above all else. Sometimes (or, if you’re like me, probably frequently) sacrificing your physical, mental, and emotional well-being for the sake of theirs. You’re doing everything in your superhuman power possible to protect, grow, guide, and love your children. Mama, you are superwoman to the bearer of those youthful eyes gazing back at you. Tear-filled or bright, they continue to look to you for peace and comfort. After all, what else could a child really need? Mama, you are not failing.
You Are Enough
To the mama who feels like she’s failing, know that you’re making it even on your most challenging days. You’re showing up for the never-ending daily marathon of motherhood. You’re continuing to be the very best mama to someone who thinks the whole wide world of you — come happy times or high water — and that is pretty incredible. It isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always feel like even our very best is enough, but mama . . . you are enough. And you are not failing.
As I sit here gazing down at my sleeping baby girl as she remains drifted off in the most restful nap we’ve gotten around here lately, her tiny lips forming a sweet little smile assuring me all is well in her corner of the world in this very moment, I can’t help but smile back. Even in the chaos, the uncertainty, and the hardship, we’re doing just fine. My daughter hasn’t given up on me to be there for, care for, and love her. Just as I’ll never, ever give up on her. I am not failing. Maybe I’m even thriving.
And mama, you just might be too.