Drops of Awesome: How to stop feeling guilty about every failure in your past
Editor's note: The following post originally appeared on Kathryn Thompson's blog, Daring Young Mom. Kathryn is releasing a book based on Drops of Awesome with Utah-launched Familius for fall 2014. This post has been shared here with the author's permission.
This post has been in my heart and on my mind for over a year now. I’ve talked about it. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve taught about it. I was waiting for the right time to post about it and now feels like that time. It’s a post about a tiny little moment that completely changed the way I see myself and others. As I think about it and act on what I learned, I find that I am changed in significant ways every single day.
It was a sunny school morning and I was walking Magoo to the bus stop. I don’t often walk him to the school bus. He’s in second grade and pretty independent and I’m usually busy getting myself and his sisters ready. I’m semi-nocturnal and I sleep later than I should most mornings.
When it’s time for school, he says goodbye and heads up the hill to the bus.
As we got half way to the bus, Magoo reached out and grabbed my hand in an uninhibited way that I knew wouldn’t happen many more times. He’s 7 now but growing, and how many 12-year-old boys do you see still swinging hands happily with their mommies?
I squeezed his hand, felt the rare Seattle sun on my face, and told him I loved him. I was nearly perfectly happy.
Just at that moment, the thought came into my mind, That’s awesome that you’re walking him to the bus stop and putting on this “mother of the year” act today. What about yesterday and the day before that? You hardly ever walk him to the bus. He’s probably holding your hand because he’s so desperate for the love and attention you haven’t been showing him.
My bubble had burst. I am a crap mom, I thought, as I looked down into his smiling face.
Then another thought came. Kathryn. What is wrong with you? You are being an awesome mom in this moment. Your child is happy. You are loving him and caring for him. He’s well fed and dressed. You’re walking to the bus stop in the early morning and you’re already wearing a bra for heck’s sake. Do not rob yourself of this moment’s joy because of what you failed to do yesterday or what you fear you might not do tomorrow.
This started me thinking of all the times I do something good while beating myself up for all the times I haven’t been perfect.
You’re worshiping in the temple? Woopty freakin do! How long has it been since you came here last? When are you likely to come again? You’re not good at this. This is a fluke.
Wow. So you cleaned the kitchen today. Want a cookie? That dirty rag has been on the counter for a week, and those dishes you so righteously cleaned are from breakfast three days ago. You are embarrassing.
That was really nice of you to offer to watch your friend’s kids while she had surgery. Remember last week when you knew your neighbor was suffering from depression and you drove right by with a wave because you did not want to get sucked into the drama? You don’t really care about people. Not all the time.
How destructive are these kinds of thoughts?
As I said goodbye to Magoo and started to walk back home, my mind started to shift.
Drops of Awesome! I thought. Every time you do something good, something kind, something productive, it’s a drop in your Bucket of Awesome. You don’t lose drops for every misstep. You can only build. You can only fill.
I walked Magoo to the bus. Drop of Awesome!
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