I Fail My Family Every Day

“You are such a good mom.”

“Please tell me how you stay so patient with your son.”

“I have no idea how you do it.”

I hear and receive these types of sweet remarks all the time. I am encouraged and grateful for the compliments, the encouragement, and support. Thank you.


I am conscious of the fact that most of you only see a tiny slice of my life.

I am conscious of the fact that I write, not to vent my frustrations (well, most of the time), but in an attempt to encourage all of us.

I am conscious of the fact that because of this, you don’t always see the full picture.

I Fail My Family Every Day #motherhood #momhelp

In the interest of being as honest and real as possible, and because I NEVER want another momma to feel bad about herself and the job she is doing because of something I put online, please allow me to tell you a little more about this week.

This week I failed every single day – some days it seemed like I failed all day long.

My youngest screaming at me, “You never listen to me!” (which incidentally, I am pretty sure I spend way more time than I ever thought possible listening to him), then storming off to his room, prompting me to escape to my room (under the guise of folding laundry of course) for more than an hour – door closed, wine poured.

Dinner was leftovers or eggs more than once.

The bathroom? There are not words to describe the smell and dark reality of what was happening in there at one point mid-week.

I actually argued with a nine-year old about why we won’t spend $700.00 to purchase him a full- size Astroids video arcade machine for his room (precious moments I will never get back).

I hid from my oldest, more than once, knowing that he wanted me to come into his room and watch aquarium set-up videos on YouTube with him…again.

I was condescending and rude to my husband, feeling the need to sarcastically instruct him on how laundry hampers work (seriously, I have issues).

There was more YouTube, more snacks, more video games and more sugar than any family of four should ever report for a single week.

There was less sleep, less hygiene, and less togetherness than any family of four should ever report for a single week.

I fail my family everyday
Not enough sleep. Not enough coffee.

Overall, this week was not my favorite. I feel like we barely made it through…clawing our way across the daily bedtime finish line.

All of this is completely true.

So is all of this…

Posted Thursday on the Not The Former Things Facebook Page: I was trying to distract my son a bit (from telling me all about dart frogs). I starting calling out random words and asked him to tell me the first thing he thought of when he heard the words. It was an incredible glimpse into his mind. I said, “Disneyland”. He said, “Loud.” I said, “Homeschool”. He said, “My Momma.” I said, “Anger”. He said, “Pain.” And so on.
Too often, autism keeps him from being able to really communicate how he is feeling. One word at a time changed that today. It blew me away.

Posted Friday on the Not The Former Things Facebook Page: My son is recreating Amazon river basin soil and substrate today. He is over the moon happy, y’all. Like smiling and skipping and whistling happy. #‎makesmyhearthappy‬ ‪#‎ihavenoideawhatheistalkingabout‬

Posted Saturday on the Not The Former Things Facebook Page: Grateful today for my son’s medicines (that are actually working!), for a lunch date with my youngest (and the ability to focus only on him), for a husband who is at the fish store (instead of me) and weekend days that help us all feel a little bit calmer.

The good and the bad. The ugly and the beautiful. The exhausting and the exhilarating. The crazy and the calm. The anger and the love.  The smelly and the sweet. The sacred and the mundane.

This is my life. Not a single one happens without the other.

I fail these people I love, every single day.

I serve these people I love, every single day.

I resent these people I love, every single day.

I enjoy these people I love, every single day.

And by the grace of God, I get to do it all again this week.




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  1. Thank you for always keeping it real.
    We barely made it through this week and I cried so much while alone in my car driving.
    But I am grateful to be here to do it all again this week (well, hoping the week is not quite as brutal.)

  2. Thank you so much, Julie! Crying in the car…sigh. Totally get that. Something about being away from having to be the one in charge of it all makes me finally start to feel my own emotions.
    Praying for a great week for you, Momma!

  3. Simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I really love your honesty. I’ve had the same emotions this week. I have a 13 year old aspy. Life can be incrediblely hard some days. Keep your chin up and thanks for staying real.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words. We are a few months away from 13 here – the puberty/aspie combo is making life very interesting around here. 😉

  5. Incredibly real. Thank you!
    And…my life, me too…every week.

    1. 🙂 Thank you so much, Kamma. It is so good to know we are not alone!

  6. Wow… I love your honesty!!! Only moms on the journey of Autism can give us grace and understanding!! Kinda respect that parenting is hard for everyone but one child with autism is like 2-3 neurotypical kiddos. It’s the hardest when we judge ourselves as if we should really be a superhero and never have our own meltdown!!

    Keep it up!! Your words of truth will be the forgiveness we need some days when our days mirror yours! Blessings and wishing you more good days than rough days!!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words!

  7. Shawna, I love you so much. I hope that doesn’t sound weird (since you don’t know me). But I think you reveal so much of your true self even if you’re being all positive — it’s all still real. The fact that you’re a tad hard on yourself and it’s obvious that you shouldn’t be — you’re just dealing with challenging reality in the form of the people you gave birth to — Just as I am — truly helps me to lighten up. When you take a test and miss a few questions, that doesn’t mean you fail. For perfectionists like me (and you?) that is so hard to take in. (Just this evening my husband gave me a mantra — “Say to yourself, ‘What is happening now is good enough.’ Say it all the time. About everything.” I hope that soon I can say it w/o feeling like I’m lying.

    1. I love you so much right back!!! Thank you a million times for your kind words and wisdom.

  8. I’ve just found your website from The Big Life Journal and read this post. I knew I needed it. I’ve been struggling so much this past few weeks and it seems that everyone I know or who reads my posts online thinks I am some sort of super mum and that we’re all doing so well (my son was in a horrific accident 9 weeks ago but I focus on his the positive aspects of his recovery online not all the hell we’ve gone through). Yet here I am, berating myself for the mess, the unwashed pots, the mountain of laundry, the screaming kid who wants to hit me and bite me, the teenager threatened with exclusion from school – despite the school knowing she has suffered multiple traumas in the past year. Youtube and wine have been my saviour, work my only relief and I felt like a HUGE failure. It didn’t feel right that people I hardly know keep telling me I’m so strong and such a good parent. I felt duplicitous. It’s so good to read that there are other mothers out there, pro-active on being positive, of finding the best solutions they can to help their families and that are still REAL. You know, I haven’t worn make up in a fortnight kind of real, the fish and chips for dinner because mum can’t be bothered washing up kind of real, the ‘yes you can have the entire bag of sweets for desert’ kind of real. We’re doing the best we can. Maybe that’s what people mean when they see me in the street and say those things? I think Shawna (above) is right about perfectionists. We see dropping one of our many spinning plates as failure, and it’s bizarre because I spend so much time helping my kids develop the mindset that failure is a lesson, and that doing your best at any given time is NOT failure. Time to practise what I preach.
    Thanks for sharing this (even if it was a couple of years ago, it’s sooooo relevant).

    1. Thank you so much, Amy. I am so glad you are here. Welcome.

      With love,

  9. You are beautiful! Your grace, humility and kind heart are such a breath of fresh air. Thank you!

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