The tears marched angrily down her cheeks as she sat on the kitchen stool, wailing.

“Nooooooo! I want [unintelligible toddler garble]!!!”

“You want…raisins?” I guessed hopefully.

“NOOOOOO!!!! I WANT [unintelligible vehement toddler garble]!!!”

The dog poked his head around the corner from the hall, throwing me what I swear was a raised eyebrow and a sympathetic shrug.

“You want . . . I’m sorry, I just don’t understand.”

I don’t think I have to describe the wailing and gnashing of teeth that followed—from the both of us.

It was just one of those days.

We struggled from the time she got up until the moment she went to bed.

No matter what I did, she protested.
No matter what I said, she argued.

We couldn’t get on the same page.
Couldn’t seem to crack the language barrier.
Couldn’t pass “Go” and collect that $200.

But as I rocked her to sleep after a full day of butting heads, both of us exhausted, I whispered in the ear tucked under my chin: I tried my best.

I may have fallen short today, but I tried my best.

When I banged my fist on the counter after she overturned her untouched lunch (that was wrong anyway, obviously), I tried my best.

When I cursed under my breath after she threw a tantrum over the Minnie Mouse Pull-Up I chose when she clearly wanted the Jessie one, I tried my best.

When I stalked into the garage to let out a scream while she howled in the living room for an iPad whose batteries were drained, I tried my best.

My best was decidedly unpretty today.
Heck, hers was, too.

But where does it say raising kids—the reality, not the social media highlight reel—has to be pretty in order to be adequate?

As a mom, it’s true that some days I’m laughter and fun and projects on the kitchen table and blanket forts on the couch.

It’s also true that some days, I’m under the covers while my ornery toddler wears headphones and watches Peppa Pig, counting down the minutes until Daddy gets home from work or bedtime finally arrives.

But every day, I’m trying my best.

And I hope when our heads hit the pillow each night—even at the end of one of these days—we both know the truth: that will always be enough

Originally published on the author’s page

Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom