Have you ever had one of those moments where you say the wrong thing?
Yesterday was a pretty typical day for me but I said something that I regret.
Here’s the story.
I took my kids out for a little snowshoeing on one of our favorite trail systems about 15 miles from my house.
The weather was cold, it was one of those windy Wyoming days that makes me want to move to Colorado.
But my kids didn’t seem to mind.
At the trailhead they eagerly sat in the trunk of my SUV as I strapped on their snowshoes, kissed their rosy cheeks and put on their mittens.
There was a biting wind blowing snow all over the place but they were okay with it.
There was only one other car in the parking lot at the trailhead. A woman was also putting on snowshoes and pulling gear out of her car. We said hello to each other and then went down separate paths.
My kids and I dashed through the open area from the trailhead into the forest and out of the wind and we had a magical time on the trail.
We made snow angels, looked at trees, made paths through pristine snow, pretended to be dinosaurs, and ended our snowshoe trek all holding onto a stick “choo-chooing” down the trail like a train.
But, an hour into our adventure my kids spotted our car through a clearing in the trees and they started whining.
Oh, were they whining. Suddenly they were tired and hungry and cold. A winning combination.
So, I slid my 2-year-old into the backpack carrier. Grabbed my 4-year-old in my arms and raced the final 1/4 of a mile to the parking lot at the trailhead as quickly as my snowshoes would take me.
As we left the forest for the open area the wind almost knocked me down, thankfully it was loud enough to drown out the sounds of my unhappy children.
When we reached the car I frantically reached into my pocket and grabbed my keys to unlock the door, set my children back down in the trunk, unstrapped their snowshoes, and got them safely buckled into their car seats.
The whole time they were crying and whining.
I ripped granola bar wrappers open with my chattering teeth and handed one to each kid, hoping the snack would boost their morale.
I glanced over and noticed that the woman who we had met earlier in the parking lot was finishing up her snowshoe as well. She was organizing her gear and had witnessed my sprint back to the car and my frantic child-loading session.
“I think they’re done for the day,” I called to her with a fake smile as I took a deep breath and slid into the seat of my SUV.
Her response caught me off guard.
“You’re a good Mom,” she said.
“I don’t know about that,” was my reply.
I spent the entire afternoon thinking about my response, and even being a bit embarrassed by it.
Why on earth couldn’t I have responded with something like, “thanks, have a good one…”
She was paying me a compliment why couldn’t I just accept it and move on with my day?
Was it because she didn’t know me so how could she know if I’m a good mother or not?
Was it because in a way I felt like there’s no way that a good mother would have taken her kids snowshoeing in a place with such an exposed trailhead?
Was it because deep down sometimes I really think that I’m not a good mom?
I don’t know what it was.
But I do know this.
As women, we are our harshest critics. We are never good enough. We are never smart enough. We are never pretty enough. We are never kind enough. Or patient enough. We never make enough money. We never get enough sleep. We never eat enough vegetables. We never get enough exercise. We are never skinny enough.
Enough is enough!
We (and by we, I’m really talking to myself here) need to stop all of that soul-crushing, defeating self-talk. It’s useless.
We are ENOUGH.
We are good enough.
Because you know what, as I looked into the bright eyes of my 4-year-old as he told his Dad about our snowshoe adventure over lunch I knew that that woman at the trailhead was right.
I am a good Mom.
And you are too.
And the next time someone tells you so all you have to do is reply with a simple thank you.
Or maybe, just maybe, we can all take a moment to tell a friend that she is good too.
What’s the kindest thing someone has ever said to you? Leave us a comment below or on our facebook page.