Last night, while making dinner and doing a dozen other things, my tweenage daughter was moaning and whining for more than hour about how stressed she was about her homework.
She sat on the floor of my office as I tried to type out some emails. Moaning and whining.
She followed me into the kitchen and sat at the counter, her world civilization book sprawled out in front of her. Moaning and whining.
I peeled sweet potato after sweet potato while she sat there in her overwhelmed state. Leaning into my Abundant Mama super powers, I tried snuggling with her. Inspiring her. Motivating her.
All my attempts to help her failed. Take a shower. No. Go for a run. No. Take a nap. No. Maybe you need a snack. Not hungry.
I put the cut up potatoes on the stove in some butter and brown sugar and took a deep breath.
It was a frustrating moment that we’ve endured many times before and after more than hour I was starting to get frustrated.
So I sent myself into a time out — in front of a loud fan in my bedroom where I laid down and decompressed and regrouped.
When I re-emerged about 10 minutes later, I walked into the kitchen. She was doing her homework. And I instantly smelled burned sugar and knew my big fail of the day had happened.
Dinner was definitely ruined. I peeked into the pot, the bottoms of the cut up potatoes were blackened and crispy.
Just like that.
My inner blamer wanted to come out and start screaming.
My inner blamer wanted to say look at what you made me do.
But that’s not what happened. Because I had put myself in time-out and because I had regrouped, I was able to move into this flawed moment and see the light.
After a few minutes of brainstorming, my daughter said, how about pumpkin french toast, which is her favorite dish of all time.
I tossed the burned sweet potatoes and whipped up a sausage frittata and pumpkin french toast topped with honey and confectioner’s sugar, of course.
And all was well in the world.
My tired, whiny tweenager ate and ate her heart out. Turns out she was hungry. And tired. and overwhelmed. But nothing I said or did was going to help her. She had to help herself.
At dinner, on her way back from the kitchen getting seconds, my other tweenage daughter muttered — best dinner ever, mom.
Sometimes our mistakes — our flaws– lead us to better options.
I know for a fact that my original dinner plans wouldn’t have been as well received. Especially if I had served it burnt.
My mistakes led to more love and more delight for all.
This message holds power for me in another way this week. I’m leading a four-day and three-night women’s retreat for members of our Abundant Mama tribe. And I could sense some nervousness for some of our first-time retreat goers about how they may not LOOK exactly like what they’ve portrayed in our online forum.
They were worried they won’t fit in or belong as their “real life self.” After all, isn’t that what most of us experience in our real lives?
And so a lot of their self-doubts start rising up.
I know because I’ve had those same feelings. Those same doubts.
But when we bring our WHOLE selves to a supportive, loving community — family or friends — we can show up to be loved fully for who we are right now. Not as who we hope to be someday or who we thought we’d be by now.
We can only be who we are now so why not bring our best selves forward and shine a light on our positives?
So I got on a video call and sent them all a message.
Come as you are. We are all human beings. Flawed. Perfectly imperfect. Beautiful and messy.
And it will be perfect. YOU will be perfect as you are right now.
Just like last night’s dinner, in all of its messiness, was perfect.
Our flaws and mistakes are what make us beautiful and strong.
Let’s teach our children to grow up to love themselves for their flaws. Their messiness. Their raw feelings.
And, better yet, to accept others for their messiness and imperfections as well.