Dear fellow moms who think they’ve failed their child.

I see you. I see you barely holding back the tears as you listen to your child express their disappointment in you, yet again.

I see you trying to smile when all your friends talk about how amazing their relationships are with their children while you’re barely on speaking terms with yours.

I see you as you walk on eggshells around the child dealing with depression or anxiety, unsure of how to parent them the way they need in order to heal.

I see you trying to hold it all together when you’re life is falling apart, when your child tells you they hate you, hate life, hate everything about being alive and you wonder if one day you’ll open their bedroom door only to find they’ve taken that very life they hated.

I see you because I’ve been there, in your shoes and it’s a hard place to be.

It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to admit defeat and need a moment or two to regroup. It’s okay to not pretend everything is perfect and that you have that family you’ve always dreamed about…the one that is happy and loving and healthy.

I’m here to listen, to lend a hand if needed, to offer a shoulder to cry on…because I understand.

The idea of failing our children is a weight too heavy for us to carry alone. The knowledge that we will inevitably fail our child when they need us the most…it’s a heavy burden to carry and there are no fake smiles to make that hurt disappear.

I realized today that my biggest fear as a mother is failing my child when they need me the most. We’ve been dealing with a mental health crisis in our home for the past four months and that pain is as real and as heavy today as it was the day I rushed to the hospital to make sure the child I love more than life would be okay. I’ve had to accept that I have failed my daughter and my heart shreds into tiny little pieces every time I think about it.

One thing I’m slowly realizing though is this: my idea of failure and her idea of failure are two very different things. Not just her…for each of my daughters.

They all need me differently and it’s hard for me to be that perfect mom they need. I never will be – it’s time to face that. It’s unrealistic for me to expect anything else…for one simple reason.

I am me. I am worn and weary. I am strong in some areas and weak in others. I have my own fears and worries and issues to deal with. My daughters…bless their hearts…are strong willed, independent thinkers and big dreamers. They are all completely different with personalities that are so opposite of mine…there is no realistic way for me to possibly be everything they need of me.

And let’s face it. There’s only one of me and three of them. I can’t be their everything. I can’t be the perfect mother they’ve created in their minds. But I can be me…and the best me I can be. It’ll have to do … even when it doesn’t.

Parenting is hard core. There is no right way but there sure are a lot of ‘wrong’ ways … just ask your neighbor or your mother or the person in the cubicle next to you who isn’t even a parent.

We have high expectations on us as mothers. Society has high expectations for us. It’s no wonder we’re constantly thinking we’re failing – how could we ever succeed if we try to live up those expectations?

I’m tired. I’m tired of trying to be someone I’m not. Of not accepting what I should have realized years ago.

I’m a good mom. I may not be perfect. I swear when I shouldn’t. I hate making dinner. I detest having to clean up after someone else. I don’t want to be a taxi driver or forced to participate in things I don’t like doing. I don’t like being forced out of my comfort zone and I don’t like it when people argue with me…and with three teenage daughters, they are always arguing with me. I say things I shouldn’t and I expect things from my children that aren’t fair to them. I’m not always the best mother I can be. Sometimes I’m not even the best person I should be.

But I’m trying. Every day I get a new chance to be a better mom than I was the day before.

So…other mom’s who aren’t perfect but are hard on themselves for not being perfect…maybe it’s time for us to change how we think about our parenting skills? Maybe it’s time to readjust our own expectations and just do the best we can – be the best we can. It’s hard, I know…but I’m going to try.

Who’s with me?