I’ve found parenthood much like sports, in that you try your best in the moment, but after the final whistle, you can look back on so many moments and beat yourself up for not doing more.
In the A to Z Challenge, F is for Failure. My friend Meredith at Perfection Pending blog wrote of her stalker. She (the stalker, not Meredith) is an awful woman, “full of negativity, ‘shoulds’ and ‘you’re not good enoughs.’ The stalker? It was her. Meredith. Always harping on her about how she’d failed.
Failed as a mom, failed as a woman.
Parents know this feeling, right? It’s what nags us for not doing enough. Or doing too much. Or doing the wrong thing. Little regrets, and big regrets, that leave us questioning ourselves. We compare ourselves to others, to our expectations. It’s a toxic internal dialog. How could we not fail?
My impression of Meredith as a mom and woman was upbeat, engaging.
How could she have this voice inside her? I understood. I’m impressed and grateful she battles that voice and wins, a little every day. My stalker showed up at night after a day of fatherhood. He popped in at the end of a work shift to criticize my writing.
Oh, he hated my blog, too.
He’s unreasonable. He’s condescending. He’s never satisfied. You might have one of him tailing, too. I wouldn’t want to share a pizza with a bloke like this. Why in the hell would I care what a guy like that thinks? I cannot ignore failure, real or perceived.
I can hit the pillow at night vowing to try again tomorrow.
I won’t fear failure. I’ll accept failure as part of my nutrition, the pile of vegetables that goes with the bacon double cheeseburger of success. (Yes, I went there). Thomas Edison found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Bill Gates reminded us to heed the lessons of failure, not just to celebrate success.
Michael Jordan, Colin Powell and Steve Jobs each spoke of failure – but also the value of trying, persistence, of not fearing external pride.
I want to swing hard at failure for my kids’ sake. I want to swing hard at failure for my players’ sake.
They should audition for the play and try out for the team.
They should apply to their dream colleges.
They should take shots at the goal – even if they miss. A thousand times they can miss, and what should they do? Shoot again.
And know I’ll stand on the sideline and clap.
A thousand times, I’ll clap.
The only way I can fail?
If I just stop trying.