To the Mom Who Feels Like a Failure
There are so many days that word describes how I feel. The weight of that word sits on my shoulders like an elephant with each passing moment. A tough presentation. We’re out of diapers. Someone isn’t happy and wants to quit. Sometimes that person is me. Why is everything going so poorly.
I am so guilty of this lie. This lie we tell ourselves that if we have a bad day, or something bad happens (more realistically, a series of bad things), that we have then failed.
Failed as a mother.
Failed as a wife.
Failed as a boss, or as an employee.
Failed in all of the above.
We are not failures.
You are not a failure.
I am not a failure.
WE are not failures.
Bad things do not define who we are. A tough conversation with the boss doesn’t mean you’re not of value. An argument about laundry does not mean you should never do it again. These moments. The small parts of our days that don’t go well, they are not everything. They are just moments.
We all have bad moments. Every. Single. One of us do.
We also have good ones.
I challenge you to focus on the good. The positive. The happy. By dwelling on the bad, we lose sight of the good moments in our days. Our days become weeks, weeks become months, and suddenly we find ourselves saying: “ugh I can’t wait for this year to be over”.
Guilty. Right here.
I started thinking back to some of the worst days I’ve had this month. You know the kind—the days that it just seems like EVERYTHING is going wrong. I tried to think through that day I cried on my way home from work recently. For the record, that is SO not me. I am not the person who cries about work. I mean EVER. But this was an exceptionally hard day. I had applied for a position in my company that I wanted. Like deep in my soul wanted. Knew I could do it and do it well. And I was so, so excited for the opportunity. The day started out pretty good—but I had this pit in my stomach as I was (franticly) getting ready. I knew I would find out some news that day—I just didn’t know how much, or what that news would be.
I was late for work (again). Got yelled at by a colleague (again). And then I got the news. The news that I knew was a real possibility, but I had hope. A lot of it. I spoke with the hiring manager and found out that I was no longer being considered for the role. They were advancing two other candidates, but not me.
I felt like crawling under my desk. I felt as if I had failed.
I dragged myself out the door and started walking to my car. I had to pick up my son after all—and I was of course late for that too.
And I started crying.
Not like the cute one tear down the cheek and everything is now fine kind.
I mean like the scrunch your face up and sob like a baby kind. The real ‘I’m devastated’ tears. The ugly cry.
I felt like I had failed. Failed at the thing I felt like I was best at: work.
This sent me into a landslide of emotions: second guessing everything in life (naturally—why not). What was I doing with life? Is this even what I should be doing? Should I be working? Should we downsize? Should I stay home with the kids? After all, that’s what I claim is most important to me: my family.
And in the middle of that self-pity, I realized what I was doing. I was focusing on the bad and letting it define my day. My week. My month. My year.
No. I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to let this one thing ruin my day. I got turned down from a job. I still have a job. I have that job because it allows me to do things and provide for my family. I decided to focus on the good. Sure, I was incredibly disappointed. But you know what else happened that day?
My daughter ACED her spelling test. Her very first spelling test ever. She was SO proud her hard work. Work we had done together. So I decided. I decided to focus on the good. The thing that was positive. And I let that define my day. Not rejection; not failure. I let the positive win.
Don’t focus on failure, friend. You are not failing. There is good in each day, you just have to look for it.
So on the days that feel the absolute worst. Just remember you’re not alone. We all feel like failures some times.
But you are not defined by the bad moments in your day.
You are not a failure.