Our Biggest Sale of the Year is Here!🎄 ➔

I know a woman who can be very difficult to be around. The truth is, sometimes I just can’t stand her. She has been short-tempered with my kids and dismissive and rude to my husband. She loses her patience, tends to overreact, and can be really defensive. Yet, I still love her. Over the years, I have learned how important it is to forgive this woman on a regular basis.

You see, that woman is me.

Growing up, I had many aspirations. I imagined becoming a teacher and then went through a phase when I just knew I was going to be a veterinarian. I dreamed of becoming a best-selling author and also of playing basketball in the WNBA. While my professional dreams changed several times throughout my youth, there was one dream that stayed consistent from the time I was a little girl.

I always knew I wanted to become a mom.

After a frustrating and painful year of wondering when or if this dream would ever come true, two pink lines finally appeared on a pregnancy test. I was over the moon. While I was pregnant with my first son, I fantasized about what motherhood would be like. I imagined spending hours together in the rocking chair, he and I blissfully taking in the wonder of each other. I imagined sweet toddler giggles and the memories we would make together playing in the backyard and at the park. I pictured the milestones and the birthdays and adding a brother or sister to our growing family. I just knew motherhood would fit me like a comfy pair of slippers.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine crying my eyes out when my husband left for work because I had to spend another day on my own with a colicky baby who seemingly couldn’t be comforted.

Never did I imagine the intense guilt I would feel mixing up a bottle of formula in a room full of breastfeeding mamas when my own plan to exclusively breastfeed didn’t work out.

Never did I picture becoming so frustrated with my kids I felt like a volcano about to erupt.

Never did I think I could feel so much love and yet so much resentment and pure exhaustion at the same time.

Here is the thing about motherhood. It can bring out the absolute best in us, and I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything in the world. But at times, it can also bring out the absolute worst parts of ourselves.

I wish I could say as my kids have grown, I’ve learned how to be a perfect parent. But just when I feel like I have it mostly figured out, a new age or stage arrives with unexpected challenges. I’m still learning, and I still make plenty of mistakes. I still get frustrated and lose my cool. I lie in bed at night and think about those moments during the day when I could have made wiser or kinder choices as a parent.

But in this process of loving, and failing, and growing, and failing some more, I have learned how important it is to forgive myself so I can move forward. In early motherhood, I let those moments of perceived failure overwhelm me with shame and guilt. I let those negative feelings mire me down in the muck, and it was hard to move past them.

Now, when I screw up, I apologize and ask for forgiveness from my children. Asking for and receiving forgiveness from them is like a balm to my soul and is so important. But then I take it a step further.

I look in the mirror, into the tear-filled eyes of a woman who is trying her best to love her family well, and I offer her forgiveness.

I give her the grace that as parents, we all need and long for.

I have learned to forgive myself, and it has made all the difference in the world.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Mary Ann Blair

Mary Ann Blair is a stay-at-home mom living in the Pacific Northwest with her two little gentlemen and hubs. She loves connecting with other parents who like to keep it real! Her work has been published on Her View From Home, Motherly, A Fine Parent, Perfection Pending, That’s Inappropriate, Pregnant Chicken, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Red Tricycle and in Chicken Soup For the Soul. She can be found at maryannblair.com or on Facebook at Mary Ann Blair, Writer.

When You Feel Like You’re Failing, Know You’re Not Alone

In: Motherhood
Tired woman sitting in messy child's bedroom

Dear parent, you are going to fail. You are going to fail over and over again while parenting. I don’t care if you have nine children or one. I don’t care if you are a step-parent, an adoptive parent, or anything in between—you are going to fail. Over and over again. But the great thing about kids is God made them so resilient and forgiving, so He could show us grace on earth.  I have forgotten to send the paperwork to the school. I have forgotten about events and practices for the kids.  RELATED: I May Fail, But I’ll Go...

Keep Reading

Our Nanny Is a Special Part of Our Family

In: Motherhood
Family with nanny, color photo

The saying is “it takes a village,” and I didn’t know how true this would ring until I had children of my own. Within ours, I anticipated family, friends, the church, and various members of the community. What I never anticipated was the special role our nanny would fill within our family. As working moms, leaving our kids in someone else’s care is hard, no matter the circumstances. We wonder if they’ll miss us and whether their day will still feel full in spite of our absence.  Ever since we brought our nanny into the family, I’ve never had to...

Keep Reading

Maybe Motherhood Is a Chance to Begin Again

In: Motherhood

It’s a funny thing when you have your own children, only then do you start to see yourself in such a way that you’ve never seen before. Terrifying yet beautiful. Before you become a parent, you have this vision of how you swear you will parent. It may be an exact replica of how you were parented or may be completely different. The only guarantee is that you don’t actually know until you become a parent. Some days you hear yourself and you sound just like your mother, your father, your grandmother, your aunt, or anyone who was around long...

Keep Reading

Healing and a Horse Named Chadwick

In: Motherhood
Woman with horse, black-and-white photo

I am by no means a horsewoman. I am a regular person lucky enough to have had an extraordinary experience with a horse. My daughter asked to ride horses from the time she could talk. Having no horse experience myself, in the fall of 2019, I found a barn willing to give pony lessons to a small child. There was something waiting for me at the barn too . . . I just didn’t know it yet. I can’t remember when Chadwick started watching us from the fence. One day he was just there . . . and every day...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Will My Child Be Like I Was As a Teen?

In: Motherhood, Teen
Woman holding baby, color photo

The day my son turned 15, I was overcome by fear and anxiety. An impending doom like a little, black, raincloud hung over my head as I wondered . . . will he be like me as a teenager? The year that led up to his 15th birthday, I rewatched Dawson’s Creek. Perhaps that’s where I went wrong. I binge-watched the ’90s teen drama of these TV characters who grew up alongside me, but this time through the eyes of an adult—a mom—and not the eyes of a teenager. Episode after episode features teens talking about sex, having sex, drinking,...

Keep Reading

I’m Giving My Daughter Space To Define Her Adoption

In: Motherhood
Young girl and her mom at pumpkin patch, color photo

I cracked a joke, and as I walked from the table, I heard her mutter to her friends, “Good thing I’m adopted!” I forced myself to continue moving and tried to hide my rapidly blushing cheeks. I volunteer at my daughter’s school when I can. Today I had library duty, and it’s an assignment I love. I am an avid reader, and I like being surrounded by so many words. I also get to see the kids interact with each other and the librarian. Lastly, it’s an hour commitment so I can be a mom but also still be me....

Keep Reading

Where Have All the Puppet Shows Gone?

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Two children behind blanket with puppets, color photo

I remember the puppet shows so vividly.  The stage curtain was always the same old, red-checked, woolen blanket strung roughly between two chairs and tied off with rope.  As their mama, I was of course their captive audience of one. Cheering and clapping enthusiastically after each performance. The plays always felt like they were a little too long, perhaps deliberately dragged out toward the final act, just to keep my attention.  At the time, I mistakenly thought those cute, slightly annoying puppet shows would last forever.  Fast forward 25 years and those puppet shows have well and truly gone. There are...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading