Learning from Failure

Allison Bonar honestly

Every day I’m convinced I am failing either in my parenting or in my profession, sometimes both. Either I yelled too much that day or I didn’t get all my work done, something always goes wrong in my mind. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.

You see, when I bake cookies I don’t worry about how they’ll turn out. I read the list of ingredients and make sure I have everything to make them. I follow the directions exactly and hope for the best. Sometimes they don’t turn out great, but I don’t really care. They’re just cookies. No big deal.

My kids didn’t come with directions. And how they turn out is a big deal. The most important job I have is raising my kids. That’s why I worry when I make a mistake. The stakes are high.

My professional life is fun and difficult at the same time. It’s difficult finding work as a freelancer. Not to mention, time consuming and defeating when you hear “no” too many times in a row. Thankfully I love it and my skin is getting thicker every week.

Being a mother is hard. It’s the most intense on-the-job training you’ll ever go through. People talk about the mommy wars, and they are real and ridiculous in my opinion.

But the most tragic mommy war is the one we have internally. When we spend too much time focusing on the fact we are failing, we are at war with ourselves.

I yell too much, I’m failing at having patience.

I’m failing at getting my oldest to eat a variety of foods, what if she never eats meat that isn’t processed?

This weekend I took my kids to a book fair. It was an epic failure, they went in three directions, and we ended up leaving shortly after arriving.

I was turned down by a magazine for a freelance piece … again.

I didn’t get that blogging opportunity I wanted.

My laundry is so backed up Molly was out of clean jeans today, and Mark is wearing his sister’s socks.

On and on goes the list of my failures. Do those failures diminish my value as a person or mother? Or are they just signs of my imperfection?

It’s OK to feel badly when we mess up. Feeling bad shows how much we care and that we want to do better. I try many things with my kids and some aregigantic failures. I’m constantly chasing something professionally that doesn’t go through. Hearing someone say “no” to hiring me is a regular occurrence in my life.

Failing doesn’t make us bad mothers or women. Failing shows our courage, the courage to try something new and dare that our lives could be better.

Failure leads us to look at the problem from another angle and try again. Failure is how we find success.

Success will never come if we aren’t brave enough to put ourselves in the position to fail.

Be brave. Make mistakes. Fail. Learn. And then try again. End the mommy war with yourself.

We know it’s worth it.


Allison is a freelance writer and mother. She lives in Cary, North Carolina, with her husband and three kids (ages 6 and 5-year-old twins).

What is your internal war?