I know you’ve been struggling lately, so I just wanted to send you a little note to remind you of some things.
Sweetheart, you’re doing OK. I know you feel sometimes like you fall so short of what you want to be, but that’s because you have your eyes afar off—and that’s a good thing. You are carrying around with you an ideal of patience, intuitive kindness—yes, that dratted angel mother you roll your eyes about when someone refers to her in church—but it’s not wrong that you do. She’s a good thing to aspire to, and you know that her particular qualities (serenity, mercy) are things you especially need and long for. But you’ve got to quit beating yourself up for the ways you fall short. You’ve got to take each situation one at a time and then, if you think you’ve handled it wrong, apologize and move forward. Contrary to popular interpretation in the church, it’s NOT true that each time you fall short, all your previous shortcomings return to your shoulders and you are suddenly unforgiven of them again. God doesn’t care about the past—only about where you are this very minute, and which way you’re facing.
I know you’ve been forgetting, so let me just remind you that you do a lot of things pretty darn well. Your kids have come to expect and even take for granted that they will read scriptures with you and pray with you every morning. They would think it a travesty if you missed family home evening two weeks in a row. They are read to from soul-building and heart-softening great books daily. They talk animatedly about their days when they get home, knowing they’ll be listened to with interest and love. In this home that you’ve created, they hear beautiful music often, and experience quiet often as well. The physical space is relatively orderly, and so is the schedule. Each child has had many opportunities to explore and improve his talents. Every single one knows how to repent and how you feel about the atonement.
Are these the works of a failure mother?
You’re doing OK. Why won’t you let yourself feel it? As soon as you get good at feeling at peace about your own pace of spiritual and personal progress, you will find that your children pick up on it too, and your home will be even better for the sense of acceptance and peace here. What would happen if, for just one week, you concentrated on accepting everyone and everything, but YOURSELF especially and first of all, as being already OK?
Give it a try.