Why Do We Focus On The Fails?

14/08/2014 16:55 | Updated 22 May 2015

Why do we focus on the fails?

It's been one of those days. A day of rain outside and tantrums inside. Grumpiness and lost patience. I have spent much of the day berating myself for not being enough - enough of a mother, wife or worker.

Half term means the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine is at home. With my job working (mainly) from home and his job teaching, it means that school holidays are an opportunity for us all to spend time together, as a family. Except for the days like today, when we are all on top of each other, I am feeling panicked about not getting any work done and the house feels like a pressure cooker of frayed tempers and bad moods.

Today was not a good day.

By about 2pm I felt like crying. I hadn't got all my work finished, my three-year-old was bored and demanding attention, my husband was tired and out of ideas for ways to entertain her. I had given up on work about an hour before, instead trying to coax my child into having a nap.

I felt cross with her and cross with him and cross with myself. Mostly, I felt cross with myself.

When bedtime eventually rolled around I was defeated. Silently cursing myself for not doing better today and pleasing everyone, being there for those who are the most important, I felt like a failure. And then Frog turned to me and said, 'Mummy, I've had a great day today. Thank you.'

And then it hit me.

Why as a mum do we focus so much on the things we do badly rather than the minor achievements of our day? I'd been beating myself up for not spending enough time with my daughter, while she was still excited by the 45 minutes we had at the park. So I decided to look back on the day and record all my wins, rather than my fails.

Here's what I came up with:

I told my daughter I loved her, at least 15 times.

I gave her a cuddle whenever she asked for one.

Instead of letting her watch TV for a full three hours in a row, I made up a game in an empty bathtub that involved sticking and letters - winning educational points right there.

I took her to the park, even though it was pouring with rain.

I laughed at her (frankly questionable) jokes.

I joined in with her singing at bath time (even though I really just wanted to sit on the sofa and open a bottle of wine).

I did the aeroplane game up the stairs, involving carrying her as fast as I could, as high as I could, until my back felt like it was going to give way.

I read her a story at bedtime.

I tucked her up and told her tomorrow would be a good day.

Molly Forbes is a journalist, writer, editor and broadcaster who can be found blogging about her experiences as an exhausted mum to a diva toddler. Molly lives with her daughter and (equally exhausted) teacher husband, regularly subjecting them to her love of Take That and rubbish TV.

Twitter: @mollyjforbes


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