Today was rough. I literally began when I pulled out my driveway and there were vultures everywhere. I even took a picture. I knew then it was a bad sign, but I drove on. The day was difficult, one frustrating, disappointing phone call after another. Work was not fun today- it was really testing my patience and the hardest part was that none of it was a result of something I had done. On the contrary, I knew I had done a good job with a new project my team had been working on and to see so many things crumble before me was extremely deflating. I picked up the first kid in my afternoon carpool rounds and he was grumpy, disrespectful and impatient. I drove to pick up the second child who was tired, cranky and hungry. It was a long ride home. All three of us were crying.
I arrived home with a headache and two ill children. I had zero percent energy to prepare a meal or actually mother anyone, but there were still many miles before I slept. My throat hurt from trying not to cry and my contacts were dry from the tears I had let slip out of eyes. I started to feel really discouraged and had thoughts of giving up, quitting my job and letting my husband do all the parenting. Clearly I wasn’t doing a very good job.
About the time all the irrational thoughts began swirling in my head I remembered a quote I heard earlier that had really stuck with me. Upon hearing it originally, it stuck with me so significantly that I googled it online and took a screen shot of the words so I could read it when I needed. That day it came in handy. I pulled up the photo from days before and read it as tears ran down my face. The quote read:
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is the marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions, who spends himself in the worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end knows the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I had my 6 year old dictate the quote to me so I could type it out. Some of the words were difficult for him and others he sailed over. At the end of the quote he said, “what does it even mean?” I smirked and said, “Basically it means that is better to try to do hard things even if it doesn’t always end perfectly… because at least you tried. It takes a brave person to get out there and keep working at something that is difficult.”