September 29, 2012

Soapbox Saturday - You're not the only one.

I've been thinking lately....yes, it's something I try to do on occasion :)  I've been thinking a lot about motherhood and all the emotions of it.  And sometimes I think we feel so much pressure to have it look perfect.  We want our children to wear gorgeous clothing, say all their cute phrases when other adults are around, and we want them to be little angels in public.

Well, mine definitely aren't like that.  And, it's okay.  I don't think they were given to me so that I could make them into little soldiers who perform on command.  I think they were given to me so I could help them discover who they want to be.


You may see pictures of my boys on my blog and think, "Wow, she's really got it together."  It's a picture.  Please don't assume that.  If you saw me in Target one of my boys might be having a meltdown.  If you saw me at home you might hear me raise my voice....and then feel really bad about it afterwards.  If you saw me at church you might just catch me giving one of my boys that look that says if-you-don't-knock-it-off-now-I'm-going-to-go-nutso-on-you!


I had a great conversation with one of my sisters the other day.  She is an awesome mother and her kids are amazing.  I asked her if she ever felt like she was failing as a mom and she said, "Absolutely."  It caught me off guard a bit.  I knew I had felt like that at times, but I didn't realize she did to.  And then I realized how much we ALL feel like at times.  We just don't always mention it.  It's pretty personal.



The other night I was tucking Rex in after a long day.  He told me he was upset and I asked why.  He said, "I'm mad because I was so mean to you today, Mom.  I'm sorry."

It melted me.  I told him I appreciated him apologizing and that he didn't have to feel bad anymore.  I told him we could wake up in the morning and try again.  I explained that I often feel that same way.  I might feel really bad for loosing my temper with him, but that I tell God I'm sorry and I try harder the next day.

It's a bit like Groundhog's Day, but I think the important part is that we aren't giving up.


There are a billion ways to be a great mother.  There is no perfect, proven technique.  If we are trying and loving them, then I think we're doing just fine.  And I think it helps to soak in those amazing moments - those little victories.  Baden talked to the cashier the other day without giving her a scowl.  Rex wanted to use his own money to buy Baden a toy.

And you know what?  I think they are going to be okay.


So if you feel a bit down or inadequate, please know that we're all in the same boat here.  Let's keep paddling and enjoying the sunrises.

Thanks for reading.

46 comments:

  1. What a great post! I feel this way all the time-- like the only one who doesn't have it together. I needed the pick me up this morning.

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  2. What a great share. I was having an especially hard time feeling like a failure of a mother a few months back and posted on Facebook to my friends - "What percentage of the time do you feel you're doing a terrible job as a mother?" Most of them said somewhere in the 50-80% range. It was nice to know I'm not the only one! This mothering stuff is hard work!

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  3. So very true! Thanks for your great post, some days I suck at being a mom but I console myself with the fact that I'm really good at loving them and apologizing to them when I've messed up. We are definitely all in the same boat.

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  4. I have never commented before, but I've followed your bloc for about 2 years. I really needed to read this today. Thanks!

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  5. I have never commented before, but I've followed your bloc for about 2 years. I really needed to read this today. Thanks!

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  6. I have never commented before, but I've followed your bloc for about 2 years. I really needed to read this today. Thanks!

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  7. Oh. So true. Thanks for the post. Sometimes it is easy to forget that everyone has bad days.

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  8. Paddling right along with you momma :) And your right sometimes it does feel like Groundhogs Day! Ha! I've also noticed that so many times were are quick to make snap judgments about other moms, good or bad. Instead of viewing these women as competition I'm trying hard to see them as my allies, people to link arms with and walk this road together. In the end its only another mom who can truly relate :) Happy weekending to you :) We are off to go look at a sand sculpting competition with the boys and I have visions of my two-year old jumping the ropes and destroying the creations! Eeeep!

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  9. Thank you for writing this today. this whole week i have felt like i am failing. my son keeps pushing all my buttons at once. I am 19 weeks pregnant and i keep thinking how much harder it is going to be in a few months. you are right, everyday is a new day. I need to keep that in the front of my mind and try not to carry the frustrations that were yesterday's into today. But man it is so hard when the fighting starts first thing in the morning. oh the 3's are so much worse than the 2's. hopefully this is just a phase :) have a great weekend!

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  10. Thank you for this post, I also needed to read this, I feel this way all too often.

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  11. I had 4 children, they are all grown now and have their own children.. I think the most important part of raising children is to do what you do.. bring God into your conversation and tell your kids how important God is in your life. We all yell and lose our tempers and our kids always like to test us to see what we will do.. I love your blog and think you are a great Mom...~!
    ta ta for now from Iowa:)

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  12. Amen. I can't tell you how much I love the internet for showing me a whole community of women who are honest enough to share their feelings about things like this. I forgive myself much more easily because of it.

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  13. Its so nice to see other people acknowledge these feelings. My 3 kiddos are a little older now; it does get better, but they still don't "perform" on command, do still fight at church, do make comments to get a certain reaction ... you know I could go on and on. When my oldest (now 15) was younger, her mantra at the end of the day was, "Tomorrow is a new day." She learned to put the mistakes to bed, too, and try hard not to make them again. And you're right, things WILL be OK.

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  14. Thank you so much, i needed to hear this today.

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  15. I read a while ago i read this http://www.jaynsarah.com/2012/02/we-are-good-mothers.html?m=1 i thought thanks god im not the only one, its not as easy as people think, some people ask me so you "just" take care of your kids? Ha ha what do you mean just? I know i feel that there is someone who undestands... Feels Good just to know it

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  16. Thank you! I wish more moms were willing to say I'm not perfect. But not everyone can.

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  17. I really enjoyed this heartfelt post. My little darlings are little monsters during sacrament meeting EVERY Sunday and I often look around and wonder why I'm the only one...but it helps me to remember if I could look below the surface everyone has something they are struggling with or is troubling with. The trick is for moms to stick together so no one feels alone.

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  18. Great post! I was venting to a friend the other day and told her that I feel like a complete failure. She was shocked and told me that she thought I was a fantastic mother. I was floored. This is someone I look up to very much. It's things like that that help you make it through the rough days!

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  19. I love this post, Cheri! Such a great perspective you have on everything.

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  20. Thanks so much for this post! It's so needed. I wish that instead of judging each other, Mothers could stick together. I think all Mothers need friendship and help from someone who knows what they are going through.

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  21. You read my mind. All week, I've been feeling like an unfit mother. I've been exhausted and impatient. I have 2 girls, 27 months and 3 months. Neither of them have been sleeping, so I wake up 3-5 times every night. My husband is doing an internship (he's going to be a teacher), and he's gone all day, every day. I only get to see him when we go to bed at night, and even then it's just a simple goodnight before we both fall asleep. I have been reading my friends' blogs, and every post is about how happy they are and how wonderful their kids are and how much they adore their husbands... don't get me wrong, I feel all those things too. But I also feel completely overwhelmed and alone and burnt out.

    Thank you for this post. It's easy to forget that I'm not the only one. We're all just doing the best we can, and we're all human. Even the bloggers who seem perfect ;)

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  22. Thank you. I'm pregnant, 5 weeks at least, but I'm already in depression. I'm thinking if I can be good enough with my little baby? I not always can make myself do my best for my cat, though she is so dear to me((( I want to belive, that I have strong enough character, to be goood mother.

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    1. I can't even pronounce your name, but I hope you come back to read this. You CAN do this. I recognize your name because you always leave the kindest most thoughtful comments here. There is so much joy in you and you will be an awesome mother.

      Cheri

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    2. Thank you for your words. It's so kind of you.
      Aljonushka from faraway Belarus

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  23. Thank you! I am a mom of two and have Borderline Personalty Disorder, ADD and a depression disorder. I can lead a normal life (and people I tell about it always say they can't tell I have all this) but it takes more energy and effort than it would other people. I know I am a good mom, my husband finds me a great mom, my mother said I am doing a great job, but still I worry sometimes. I just want to give them the best I can. But then I say to myself: I tell them they don't have to be perfect to be loved. Making an sincere effort is enough. Making mistakes isn't bad, just learn from them. Life doesn't always go as you want, just make the best of and with what you have. So? Why doesn't it apply to me? It does! I think al moms want to be perfect, we just have to realize we can't, and that that's just the way it is...

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    1. That's a great point, Eveline. Sometimes we are so much harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else.

      Cheri

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  24. Thank you so very much. You have such a giving kind heart, and you can't imagine how spot on your thoughts and words are at times. It's true, we all have our ups and downs as a mother. We all have nights we feel inadequate and we cry, and we all have days we feel we can take on the world. I appreciate your willingness to bring it to light. So many times women try to put on a false front and pretend that we are living the perfect life. I personally believe that can be a bad thing for ourselves (that's a lot of pressure!) and others (others think you have it all, and they just can't get it together). Thank you for showing your "human" side", and encouraging us to stand strong.

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  25. Thank you. I needed this, I have 4 children and we are on school holiday's (only one week left)at the moment and MOTHERHOOD is being difficult. Thank you I needed this today.

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  26. I've had times where I've broken down and wept because I felt like I was failing as a mother, as well as a human being. When I found out I was pregnant, I wasn't yet married to her father. Strike one. As time went on, I wasn't sure I really wanted to be married to him at all. But I really wanted to not create another "broken home" for my daughter. I thought that if I didn't marry him, it would negatively affect her. So, despite my gut (and some family advice) I went through with the marriage.Strike 2. 1 year later I was filing divorce papers. Major religious and social strike 3. Thankfully, 1 year after THAT I have full custody of the smartest little girl I know, who seems to not be "damaged" from any of the past (though I know had I stayed married she would have had a less than desirable upbringing to say the least). I'm still trying to get over my "Scarlet Letter" but my biggest regret is not being as prepared for my little girl as I should have been. I feel like I owe her a lot, because as much as I feel like I can never be the mother she deserves, I know that she has given my life so much meaning. I can't imagine life without her. She gives me the strength to keep going and improving my life for her sake. I'm now back in school full time, and cant wait to graduate so I can provide for her like she deserves.

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    1. Wow. I love your persistence and your heart. Hang in there! It is amazing how our children make us strive to be better. Sounds like you are doing great.

      Cheri

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  27. I once went to a parent ed session, which was about teaching your child to handle emotions, particularly negative ones, without loosing control. Of course, a big part of it is modeling good behavior yourself. I remember thinking that I manage to not raise my voice or respond calmly when I'm angry so rarely, and I was feeling like a complete failure, when someone asked the teacher how it was possible to do this 100% of the time. And her answer was, basically, "If you do it 30% of the time, you're doing really well." It's never all or nothing--you're not either perfect or a failure. It's so hard to remember that.

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  28. Wow! I've been struggling with this for the last 2 weeks. At our women's Bible study this past Wednesday, one of the ice breaker questions was what do you fear right now. Ashamed to admit it because it's SO personal, that was my answer, that I'm failing my son. That I feel like I am always yelling at him to stop, don't touch that, blah blah blah! Then I find myself shortly after that asking God to forgive me for snapping at him. He's 2 and not really talking vocally (mostly sign language) and it's frustrating for both of us. He's my first and only kiddo right now, why is this so difficult I wondered?! I don't want him to look back and be like, man you were mean! SO, I'm trying to enjoy the little things. Take a deep breath and just continue to do what I'm doing-trying to protect, teach and LOVE my son. It's definitely hard to warp my head around that other moms go through this too. But I'm glad in knowing that I'm not the only one! I guess that's what makes us good moms, because we think and care about things like that! So here's a far away hug and pat on the back! :) God Bless!

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  29. Well thanks for getting on my soapbox too :) I needed that today! I know what it's like having 2 little boys at roughly the same ages...WONDERFUL :)

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  30. Super encouraging! Thank you for the much-needed reminder :)

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  31. hear, hear! I read somewhere that we aren't trying to raise good children, we're trying to raise good adults. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the 'good children' and we don't stop and think 'will this really impact how he/she will grow up as a person, or am I just worried what others will think of me?' (liiiiiiike... fighting with your five year old about her foot-long hair getting brushed before going out on a saturday... and then threatening to cut it off if she doesn't want to keep it tidy and immediately recanting when she finds that agreeable...)
    Some days lately I feel so miserable when I lie in bed at night and think about the day and whether or not I was being a good mom or just focused on having 'good kids.' My husband always makes me feel better if I talk it out with him, though!

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  32. Thank you for your generosity of spirit. Sometimes it helps a ton to hear that trying counts.

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  33. Thank you so much!! This post was what I needed to hear. I pray everyday that GOD gives me the wisdom and strength to be the mother he wants me to be. I know some days I fail but I am so thankful and blessed. I strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman!!!

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  34. yes, this was something so many if not all mothers need to read over and over again.
    Has Baden had an eye exam as someone who did a fair amt of scowling until having a nifty pair of glasses and walking outside and seeing texture of bark on a tree and being able to see smiling faces that i felt like smiling back at, I have to ask this question on behalf of "fellow scowlers"....
    Your timing on these articles is phenomenal. Keep up the good work. The pix and tales of your lovely sons are bits of sunshine..

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  35. I was feeling so inadequate in the mom department today ... I know this was an inspired post just for me. Thank you so much for writing such an amazing blog.

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  36. Thanks for this post, Cheri. I so appreciate when bloggers talk about real life and not just the picture perfect parts.

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  37. I think all mothers struggle with wondering if we are a good mom at times or for whole seasons. We see what others are doing and quickly compare. Just like you wrote, it is a picture, a small snapshot of someone's life. And when we look at our own lives, we see all the failings. We want our lives to be Pinterest perfect, and life isn't that way.
    Letting ourselves love and lead the best we can is being a good mom. I am thankful my kids accept my apologies and are quick to forgive.

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  38. I already knew that we sometimes want to paste our kids behind the wallpaper (it's a Belgian saying, no idea if you get it). I'm a mum of three and I also hit the ceiling sometimes, especially when life is busy, when we're stuck in that rat-race. I read something on a Dutch blog, which was more or less the same as your post here. The writer has a fun print to read for the times you have your carkeys in your hand to drive off to the DIY store to get that wallpaper :-))
    This is where you can read it : http://www.the-f-girl.com/index.php/2012/09/26/how-to-really-love-a-child/

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  39. Thank you for sharing this i have been feeling a bit down on myself about just that and i am glad to know i am not alone! Love your blog :)

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  40. It feels so good to know that other women and mothers feel the same way. I'm a full time working mother of two boys. I work 7 gravyard shifts in a row with no babysitter to watch my boys so I can sleep during the day. You better bet I loose my temper and I feel like it happens to often on my work week and it takes a dig to the motherhood ego. Thanks for the boost!

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