If you struggle with beating yourself up when things don’t go perfectly, this story is for you.
Last weekend, Tim was in ATX having an awesome guys’ weekend. I was flying solo with the kids and honestly it was fun! I got to take Osh to activities that Tim usually goes to. I kept social plans at a minimum and cranked up the quality time with the kids. We ate dinner with my mom every evening. I slept around 11 hours a night, right in tandem with the babes. There were sweet moments that happened.
And then, there was Sunday morning.
We woke up, had breakfast, watched Sunday morning cartoons, and then it was time to go to church. I packed all the coloring books and snacks… just in case. Getting everyone dressed and out the door, while validating feelings about wanting to watch more cartoons rather than going to Sunday school, while also trying to get the train out of the station… well it was a whole thing. Then, we hit road closures at two different places trying to get there. Church is only 10 minutes away… who knew it was even possible to hit that much construction in that time?! The kids were bummed that they couldn’t make music requests (my car is VERY old and we have to listen to the old fashion radio in it).
There was a lot of WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY?! happening in the backseat.
We spilled into church more than 20 minutes late just in time for Sunday school to start. Our volume was at a 12/10 and I did a lot of dagger eyes and also whisper shh’shing. It’s never super effective but yet I continue to try.
The sermon was wonderful and spoke to my heart! When it ended, the kids came up and it was time for communion. As communion was being prepared, my oldest said loudly “I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM.”
So, the three of us headed there. Well, by the time we actually made it back from the restroom communion was over. And this did not go well.
My youngest started sobbing because she was so heartbroken we missed it. I held her and quietly tried to comfort her. “You’re sad we missed communion. We can come back next week.”
Well, the crying got louder and louder and I had to make a run for it. I was holding her in one arm, trying to pick up all the coloring books and snacks (none of which we needed, by the way), whispering to her “it’s ok to be sad and cry! We will go outside so you can cry as loudly as you need,” and also motioning to my oldest that it was time to move on out with whatever body language I had left.
I felt like Miranda in Mrs. Doubtfire when she yells, “I HAVE TO GO! WE HAVE TO GO RIGHT NOW!”
We got to the car andthere were tears the whole way home.
Whew. Church was a sh*t show (or should I say, we were the sh*t show at church).
This was not a perfect Sunday morning. Many of us have an inner critic that starts chiming in when things don’t go perfectly. My personal belief is that our inner critic is self protective and shows up to try to keep us safe from the things we fear most (i.e., rejection or judgment or failure).
When I was racing out of church, my inner critic starting telling me that “everyone was judging me” and “I was a bad mom.” I could have let that story run the rest of the day but instead, I did something that turned it around. This is a simple practice that I’d encourage you to try if your inner critic gets loud when things don’t go perfectly!
I said, “Thank you for trying to keep me safe. This was a hard morning. I did my best. Here’s what I’m most proud of… I got everyone out the door on my own. I stayed committed to something that is a priority in our family life right now — going to church. I validated my kids feelings often (not always… remember the dagger eyes ). I knew when we reached our limit and honored that.”
I could have beat myself up all day long for all the ways I could have done things better and all the ways people might have been judging me. I could have compared myself to other moms I saw at church that Sunday. I could have gone down that path.
But, what I’ve learned is that focusing on what I’m most proud of in these HARD moments makes me feel more willing to do the hard thing next time again. And the more I do the hard things, the easier they seem to get.
Borrow my script above and see how it turns things around for you next time things don’t go perfectly.
Life is a sh*t show sometimes. I’m proud of us for showing up!!!