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August 30, 2019
My husband and I have been going to marriage counseling for awhile now. Every other Thursday, on my day off, when I would rather be sleeping in, I pull myself out from under my perfectly-toasty comforter and drag myself out the door. For an hour, I sit with my husband and try to change unproductive statements like, “When you neglect to take out the trash, you make me mad,” to “When I feel like I’m doing more work or taking more on around the house, I feel lonely. I long for a true partnership where we work together to make our relationship and house run.” It takes a trained professional to help us get there, believe me. The therapy is hard work but it’s always worth it –kind of like a brutal mountain run that kicks your tush but makes you glad you showed up and struggled through to the other side.
It required getting up at 5:30 am to make it happen. I was out the door at 5:45 with a frozen smoothie in-hand for my post-workout refuel, my day-off ripped jeans and bomber jacket uniform neatly folded in a bag. By 7:00, I had showered, blow-dried my hair, and jumped into my car for a quick ride on the highway to our therapy session. By 7:03, I realized I chose the completely wrong route. Traffic was at a standstill. In twenty minutes, I moved 10 feet. There was no way I was going to make it to our 8 a.m. appointment.
I was so frustrated. Each session costs us a pretty penny because we pay out of pocket given limited insurance options for this type of specialist in town. Plus, I knew my husband would also be high-tailing it there. We’d both decided a long time ago that, if we wanted to make our relationship really work, we would have to commit to building into it together, not just with date nights and getaways (though you know I love those), but also by talking about the hard stuff, the stuff that keeps a fifteen-year marriage going.
At 8:14, I reached my destination, ran up the stairs, pushed open the door to the room where my disappointed partner would likely be waiting and…
You read that right.
Our appointment, it turns out, was at 9 am. The man and woman sitting there just kind of looked at me, wide-eyed and my therapist had to come out and explain to me (lovingly, that’s why I like her, aside from the whole speaking truth into my most important relationship thing) that, err, sorry hon but you showed up very much at the wrong time. Nevermind the fact that the poor couple I intruded on probably thought some criminal had just
Why am I sharing this with you? Because life — especially life as a mom — is full of mistakes. And, as I look back on this morning and the part that actually did irk me in the end, it wasn’t that I embarrassed myself in front of total strangers who I’ll never see again, it was that I wasted a bunch of time stressing out over the original mistake I thought I was making — being late for something I really cared about. Even though there was absolutely nothing I could do about my original decision to get on the freeway versus take my usual back-road route, I wasted a full hour wishing my way back to that first turn signal.
The same is true for so many parenting blunders. Whether you are a parent to a 2-week-old infant who misses the first sign of diaper rash or mom to a cranky toddler who’s eventually diagnosed with an ear infection, you WILL make mistakes as you try to navigate developmental stages, regressions, and just plain hard days that come with being a mommy. We all do. The mistakes are not the issue.
The next time you feel like you’ve really messed up –especially in your parenting–take a second to
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