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A million ways

Sometimes when life gets hectic and overwhelming, a certain emotion starts to nags at me.  
Guilt that because I’m dealing with one child I can’t be there for another.  Guilt that I can’t volunteer in my girls’ classrooms like I wish I could.  Guilt that we are going yet another night without a healthy home cooked meal.  Guilt that the house is a mess or that laundry isn’t done or that e-mails sit unanswered.  
Different seasons of life bring different trials and obstacles and there are certain times that being the kind of mother you want to be is harder than usual.  I have been feeling this a lot lately.
 Whenever I feel overwhelmed and the guilt starts to creep in, I remember a favorite quote:
I think of this quote and I remember that it’s ok.  It’s ok if right now I can’t volunteer.  It’s ok if right now chicken nuggets are one of our main food groups.  It’s ok if the house is a mess and laundry isn’t done and e-mails are sitting unanswered.  
It’s ok if I’m not a perfect mom.  I can still find ways to be a good one.  I can make sure that every day my kids know how much I love them.  I can take a minute to listen to the poem Ellie wrote.  I can tell Addison how proud I am of the way she straightened up her room.  I can chase Kole around the house  making him squeal with delight and then scoop him up and smother him with kisses.  I can wake my kids up in the morning and tuck them in at night with hugs and a smile.  I can make sure that they know how special they are to me.  Every single day.  
A million little ways to be a good mom.  I remember that quote and I do the best that I can.
And the guilt goes away.
Or at least subsides for a bit.  :)
xoxo, Erin
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41 thoughts on “A million ways

  1. I know that you have OCD like I do. But, in reality. When your babies are grown, with children of their own. They are not going to remember the clean house, or the organized closet, or weather the hamper was always empty. They are going to remember all the fun things you have done with them. And, that is what makes you a good mom!!
    Don’t get me wrong, I believe in instilling the values of a clean and organized home. With that being said, it is the time you spent with them and the love you showed that will teach them how to be a mommy just like you.
    Happy children do not just appear. It is built through the love and happiness you and Kenny give and show them. You a great mom Erin.
    I really loved this post.
    Happy Monday! :)

  2. Wonderful post Erin! The same feeling i always have in me…yet I put the guilt aside just to have a happy life! And it really works..:)

  3. Amen! I’ve been feeling that way lately, too, and – like you – I’m just trying to take a deep breath and focus on what I can do and move ahead. Mom guilt stinks!

  4. Erin. You. Are. Wonderful!! Don’t let any other mother make you feel differently, don’t let yourself feel differently……you’ll get to school to volunteer when you can, will cook something different when you can, do the laundry/clean the house when you can. I bet the kiddos love chicken nugs and could care less about about the house. ;-)

    Let it be.

    You are lovely and shouldn’t feel bad about the stage of life you are currently in, eventually it will all sort itself out.


  5. This is something huge I’ve been working with. Especially considering where you and I both come from since EVERYONE down in Southern Utah seems to be perfect. Beautiful families, spotless homes, always having fun, etc. I’m just not that mom. As much as I want to otherwise, my hair is in a ponytail most days and as soon as I’m done teaching my early morning class, I’m back in my pjs because it’s a heck of a lot easier to chase kids and clean the house in pjs than it is in jeans.

    But here’s what I’ve learned from it all. We need to redefine perfection. We are commanded to “be ye therefore perfect”, but that wasn’t referring to Pinterest Perfect (as I like to call it). It’s that constantly striving to make eternal choices that will turn us into Heavenly Beings. Choosing to listen to the poems, tickle and kiss the little ones — those are the eternal choices that will turn you into a Heavenly Being as you’re intended to become.

    Sorry! Apparently I’m waxing spiritual this morning, but blame Time Out For Women! It was too fabulous!

    Hugs and remember you’re making the right choices.

  6. That is a go-to quote for me too. You are right that there are seasons to motherhood and some let us do and be more of what we “envision” good mothers do and some don’t. Thanks for the reminder and the positive take on it.

  7. THANK YOU for sharing the quote and your feelings. It really is nice to know that there are other mothers out there who aren’t “perfect” and don’t pretend to be. I do my best everyday, but everyday something gets left undone. As long as my boys feel my love and grow remembering it I’m okay, I’m doing something right. And you are too!

  8. Love your honesty and how having those special times with your children mean more than having a clean house etc. These are the moments and times that your children will remember.You are an inspiration and a bright spot on my blog lists.Keep on keepin on Lil Miss Sunshine.

  9. Wow! This may be my favorite post EVER. I have been having a lot of “Guilt” myself lately. Love the quote. Thank you so much for sharing.

  10. Aww…what a good post and a good quote! I think we all feel this way at times. Chicken nuggets at or house at least once a week for dinner and maybe even chic-fil-a one night and the others are wholesome meals…all we can do is our best. Laundry is my big down fall! i just hate it, so generally we have moutains of dirty clothes and im okay with that. If we try to be perfect we will just get even more stressed out and no kid wants a stressed out momma. Thanks for the great quote!

  11. I feel old writing this but let it go and have fun! My kids are now 12, 13 and 15. I guarantee when your kids are teens they will remember going to the lot every night and playing and all the fun you had with them. They will NOT remember what they had for dinner or whether there were dirty clothes in the laundry basket. It surprises me sometimes what my kids remember from when they were much younger. They LOVE tradition, family and definitely the fun and those are the things they remember and talk about. Relax and enjoy this time that you are building your home for your family. They will remember that forever.

  12. I laugh because you remind me of me at that stage in my girls lives. From someone who’s been there…you are actually doing right by them NOT being perfect. It will take the pressure off them when they grow up to be parents. No one can do everything and be all things to all people. Just give what you can at this very moment. It won’t go unnoticed!

  13. I hear you, I think every mom has days like that.
    But no mom is perfect, I guess life would be kinda boring if we were all perfect right?
    If you need to lift your spirits read back all the wonderful posts you’ve written on your kids & all the happiness that you guys have. You are blessed!
    My mom ( she had 8 kids), when I would ask her how she’d cope if she had a bad day, she always said ” Just remember this too will pass”
    And its true :) !

  14. I love this quote, it’s so true. And many thanks for sharing your “guilt” with us, I for sure let that emotion come in once in a while too.

    You are such a great mom though & our Heavenly Father is always there to helps up thru it & knows our intentions & our hearts.

    Vicky T.

  15. I feel this way sometimes too! I think all moms do. But that’s great that you remind yourself of all the things you do that make you such a great mom!

  16. I’ve been home for four years with my babies and I start a new job tomorrow. I’m overwhelmed with anxiety and that quote helped a bit. :-) I don’t want to ever lose sight of my children and what their little lives mean to me.

    Thank you!

  17. I think you are an amazing mum Erin! You are my inspiration.
    Your post is very timely for me. I have been agonizing over mother-guilt for awhile now too. Trying to work out if I’m raising my daughter in the best possible way given we are a new step-family this year. She’s gone from feeling that she has no dad in her life to a very involved step-dad & a lot more contact on a regular basis with her bio-dad. All of which should be viewed as positive changes, add in the wedding, a house move, a new bub on the way, reno’s, lots of trips away & starting kindergarten in January & it’s a lot of change for my little 4yr old. Insert ‘mother-guilt’ x 100! I think she is struggling with it all lately & as mums we are super great at worrying if we are handling it correctly, should I be pushing things she is resistant too because it’s what best in the long run & we want teach resilience & sticking things out. Are parents meant to be enforces? Or are you meant to listen when they don’t want to do something so they feel heard & valid & that their feelings DO matter? Really hard when it’s over big things & not just activities or sports that can be stopped & started again later. Hard to know if your doing the right thing or the opposite. :( lots of guilt going on over here!
    Chin up Erin, you are a fantastic mum & wife!!

  18. AMEN! I know that feeling of guilt, I’m guilty of feeling it myself!

    You are a wonderful mother Erin, I don’t know you but I can see it in every sweet post about your children. :-)

  19. ahhhh the mommy guilt. I know it only too well. I struggle all the time about not being able to do this or that with each of my kids — this year I am volunteering in my Kindergartener’s classroom every Tuesday for an hour. The way his eyes light up when I walk into his classroom, and how he always asks me if it’s Tuesday yet, his “favorite day” because I’m in his classroom. His excitement is priceless and it fills me with joy. But then…oh, that mommy guilt just grabs me and throws me down to the ground as I think back to how some of my older children did not get me in their classroom once a week, but maybe only once or twice per school year, due to my having little ones at home at that time. I think to myself, or rather the mommy guilt puts the thought into my head: it wasn’t fair that I couldn’t do the same for them as I do for my younger children, who do not have baby siblings at home. Then I talk myself out of this guilt and remind myself that while I might not have been able to volunteer as much in the older ones’ classrooms, I was STILL a good mother to them in a million other ways! It’s so true that we can’t be the perfect mother all the time to each child — different years, different stages of life, brings certain time restraints and limitations — but that doesn’t mean we “failed” in any way. I constantly, and I do mean constantly! have to keep reminding myself of this!

  20. Erin, you have NOTHING to feel guilty about, ever!
    You are an amazing mom.
    There are so many kids in this world who do not even have basic necessities. Your kids have all that and so much love and attention. And….they have parents who are living and teaching them how to get back to their Father in Heaven.

    Oops…had to throw the religion thing in there!

  21. 46I very rarely comment on my daughters blog. But today I have to. Hopefully Erin will read this because she is so busy right now we hardly have time to talk on the phone.
    I feel guilty I can’t help you more as a your mom….so you have to get used to the “Feeling Guilty” part of motherhood….it never goes away.
    While you were growing up, I taught Kindergarten all day long, with sometimes over 30 students in my class. I could never help you with your classroom parties because I had to be the teacher in my classroom….and to this day I feel guilty and sad about it. But I don’t know if you even remember that? It didn’t seem to ruin you one bit! And I think, in spite of all my imperfections as your mom, you turned out pretty great. Bet your blog readers would agree with me. I love you sweetheart!

  22. Loved this post and quote. Thanks for sharing…I thought about this all day with each interaction with my kiddos. You’re definitely not the only mama that has the guilt feelings, but I think you’re doing a pretty good job :) And I loved your mom’s comment. So sweet! ~gina

  23. You have just given me the greatest gift: permission to just be me and not to worry about the rest–love the quote and this post. Thank you.

  24. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten is that “guilt should be reserved for sin”. Certainly not for having. “Pinterest perfect home” (love that phrase), or not feedin your kids a homemade meal or sewing Halloween costumes! It is hard to do but so freeing when you let the guilt go!

  25. Erin, I don’t know if you ever read new comments on old posts but I thought I would leave this one just in case. I have been reading through your blog for over a year now and this has absolutely been my favorite post you ever wrote. As soon as I read it, I knew this quote would stay with me, but today I just had to go back and find the original post and write down the quote. Over the last month I have chanted “there are a million ways I can be a good mom today!” because it has helped me stay positive on those “hard mommy” days that we all experience. I am putting this in a frame today as a reminder to me. Just wanted to thank you! Jana

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