Shop the fall collection ➔

Last week, I was clearing the kitchen table and scrubbing the floor below it; a standard action in a house with three young kids who rarely keep food on their plates or in their mouths.

My four-year-old son came bolting in from the other room, put his hands on his hips, and declared, “Mommy, I have something to tell you!”

I smiled . . . because I had heard this sentence from him dozens of times in the weeks prior. It’s the way he gets my attention before he’s about to tell me I’m his favorite person in the whole world, how his heart is full of love for me, and how I am his best friend.

I crouched down next to him while the doors of my heart opened to his adorable love, and said, “Mommy’s listening buddy. What do you have to tell me?”

With pride in his eyes, he raised his fist in the air like a superhero and exclaimed:

“YOU’RE A FAILURE!!!”

My jaw would have hit the floor had it not been blocked by his gigantic, cherry-on-top hug that showed that he thought he was giving me a huge compliment.

My oldest, who knew something wasn’t right about what he said, looked at me with eyes that wondered how I was going to respond.

She saw me silently laughing while still in his embrace, and I put my finger up to my mouth to encourage her not to say anything.

With my hands gently on his shoulders, I said, “Buddy, I know you thought that was a nice thing to say to Mommy. But I want to make sure you know that calling someone a failure is not kindness, so you shouldn’t say that to anyone else.”

He was devastated. 

He also couldn’t explain where he had heard the phrase, but he wanted to try again.

“Mommy, you are my whole heart. That’s kind, right?!”

“It is, bud,” I said, “and you’re mine too.”

He skipped back to his train set, and I went back to tile scrubbing with a bigger smile on my face.

The whole thing was a comical “the things kids say” moment . . . but for me, it was also a moment of gratitude that his statement didn’t trigger me.

Because that was not the first time I had heard, “You’re a failure.” Far from it, in fact. My inner voice had told me that plenty of times in the past. Over and over again . . . especially when it came to the way I viewed myself as a mother during the tough years of raising three under the age of four.

“You’re a failure because you haven’t figured out how to give all three of them equal time.”

“You’re a failure because you can’t figure out the balance.” 

“You’re a failure because you don’t have it all together.”

“You’re a failure because you’re not enjoying every moment.”

I used to believe every word. It kept me from seeing all of the things that make me the loving mother I know I am. It held me back from giving my authentic, caring self to my kids because I had given up believing it was enough. Until one day, I reminded myself the same thing that I reminded my son about calling someone a failure: “That’s not kindness.” 

So I started to give myself more loving affirmations instead.

“You’re doing a great job.”

“You are doing the best you can.”

“It’s OK to not have it all together all of the time.”

“You are enough.”

I AM NOT A FAILURE. 

I’m far from it. I’ve silenced that voice that tried to convince me of it for so long. My son knows I’m not a failure, too . . . because I’m his WHOLE heart. And mine is now full with enough self-love to be able to completely give him mine in return.

You might also like:

To the Tired Mom in the Middle of the Night

To the Mom Who is Weary and Worn

I’ll Hold You Instead

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here! 

I used to believe every word. It kept me from seeing all of the things that make me the loving mother I know I am.

Brea Schmidt

Brea Schmidt is a writer, speaker and photographer who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch. Through her work, she aims to empower people to overcome their fears and insecurities and live their truth. She and her husband raise their three children in Pittsburgh, PA.

Children Don’t Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger

In: Inspiration, Mental Health, Motherhood
Children Don't Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger www.herviewfromhome.com

“This too shall pass.” As mothers, we cling to these words as we desperately hope to make it past whichever parenting stage currently holds us in its clutches. In the thick of newborn motherhood, through night wakings, constant nursing and finding our place in an unfamiliar world, we long for a future filled with more sleep and less crying. We can’t imagine any child or time being more difficult than right now. Then, a toddler bursts forth, a tornado of energy destroying everything in his wake. We hold our breath as he tests every possible limit and every inch of...

Keep Reading

The One Thing Young Kids Need to Know About Sex

In: Health, Kids, Motherhood
The One Thing Young Kids Need to Know About Sex www.herviewfromhome.com

I currently have four kids in elementary school from kindergarten to fifth grade. My kids have not experienced any sexual abuse (to my knowledge); we have been very careful about any potential porn exposure; we closely monitor their involvement with pop culture through music, movies, books, and even commercials. While we might seem to err on the side of overly sheltering them, what we have also done is be very open with our kids about sex. We have told them the truth when they’ve asked questions. And have they asked some questions! Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been asked...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Have Anxiety—But My Husband Does

In: Health, Mental Health, Relationships
I Don't Have Anxiety—But My Husband Does www.herviewfromhome.com

I don’t have anxiety but my husband does.  We should have realized this years ago but we missed it. The realization came suddenly and as soon as it popped in my mind, it came out of my mouth. “You have anxiety.” I said. He looked at me trying to determine if I was joking or serious. “I am serious, you have anxiety.” His eyes left mine and found his phone. He picked it up and said, “Hey Siri, give me the definition of anxiety.” As the virtual assistant read off the definition she may as well have been reading my man’s personality...

Keep Reading

This is What Life is Like For a Mom Who Wears Hearing Aids

In: Health, Journal, Motherhood
This is What Life is Like For a Mom Who Wears Hearing Aids www.herviewfromhome.com

I’ll never forget the time I was standing on a dock in the middle of a lake, casually draining my long hair of water, soaking in the summer heat surrounding me. Little did I know, my right breast had escaped the clutches of my bikini top; it must have popped out when I dove into the cool lake. But because I wasn’t wearing my hearing aids—I can’t wear those babies in the water—I couldn’t hear those back on land who were calling at me to shove it back in. So, there I stood, clueless of the fact that I was...

Keep Reading

Welcome to Periods in Your 30s and 40s

In: Health, Humor
Welcome to Periods in Your 30s and 40s www.herviewfromhome.com

Do you remember that day in the fifth grade when the boys and girls were separated for the “Sexuality and Development” talk? Some nice old lady health teacher came into your room and gave you some straight talk about how the next few years were going to go for you. It was awkward and shocking and you knew your childhood would never be the same. When you hit your mid-thirties, there should be some kind of Part Two to that conversation. All the ladies need to be rounded up, lead into a dimly lit classroom that smells vaguely of pencil...

Keep Reading

How Can You Love an Abusive Man? I Did—Until I Decided to Choose Myself.

In: Health, Journal, Relationships
How Can You Love an Abusive Man? I Did—Until I Decided to Choose Myself.

He walked over to the table I was sitting at with some friends and casually, yet confidently, pulled up a chair. His voice was deep and he had a luring accent that immediately caught my attention. His distinctly cut jawline along his perfectly trimmed beard made him seem older, I thought, than the age I’d soon learn he was. Our paths had crossed before like two ships in the night, forbidding us from ever quite meeting as we did that day . . . eye to eye, energy to energy He chatted with me and our mutual friends for a...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Sure How Long I’ll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal…and That’s OK

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Grief, Mental Health
I'm Not Sure How Long I'll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal...and That's OK www.herviewfromhome.com

I tried to wean off of Zoloft and couldn’t. And that’s OK. I had never really been aware of the world of antidepressants. My life has been relatively uneventful—with the normal ups and downs that most of us go through. I knew people on medication for depression but never understood. How can you be THAT sad that you can’t just be positive and make the best of your circumstances? How can someone be THAT unhappy ALL the time to need medication? I didn’t get it. I felt bad for people going through it. Then my 2-year-old was diagnosed with Stage...

Keep Reading

To the Mom With the Anxious Soul

In: Journal, Mental Health, Motherhood
To the Mom With the Anxious Soul www.herviewfromhome.com

I see you, mama. You’re the one sitting alone at the family party. You’re the one hovering a little too close to your sweet babies at the park. You’re the one standing in the bathroom at work for just a moment of quiet. Your thoughts are swirling constantly, faster and more fearful that a “regular” mama. You find yourself spaced out at times, and hyper aware at others. You’ve heard the words “just relax” and “everything is fine” more times than you care to count. Sometimes you wish you could make everyone understand why you are the way you are...

Keep Reading

I Am My Child’s Advocate—and Other Valuable Lessons a Stay in the PICU Taught Me

In: Baby, Child, Health
I Am My Child's Advocate—and Other Valuable Lessons a Stay in the PICU Taught Me www.herviewfromhome.com

What started out to be a normal Thursday ended with a race to the children’s ER with my six-month-old. I was terrified. My adrenaline was pumping. My baby was struggling to breathe. The day before, he had been diagnosed with RSV. A simple cold to most healthy toddlers and adults turned out to be life threatening to my infant.   Once we were admitted, I knew this was serious. I knew he was in danger. I could sense the concern and urgency in the doctor’s voice. I knew the gravity of that wing of the hospital he was being wheeled...

Keep Reading

To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes

In: Cancer, Child, Child Loss, Health
To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes www.herviewfromhome.com

Most people never get to meet their heroes. I have, in fact—I have met many heroes. These heroes didn’t set out for greatness; they fell victim to a terrible disease and faced it with courage, might and bravery like I have never seen before. And when we talk about this type of battle, there is no such thing as losing. whether the battle ended in death, life, or debility, each of these heroes defeated. My heroes are the innocent children who battle cancer. I high-fived, hugged, wept over, laughed and played with my heroes for 10 years as a nurse. And you better believe I...

Keep Reading