The other day one of my friends said, “Some days I feel as if I walk around with a big F for failure on my forehead. It seems I always fail in some area of mothering.” She paused for a second then amended her statement. “Maybe I don’t mean failure. What I really feel like is that I’m behind all the time. I can never keep up.”

I shook my head. “Maybe you’re behind because you’re always cleaning someone’s behind—you do have six children.”

We had a good laugh and I’d like to think I encouraged her to give herself some grace. So, why, two days later, did I find myself crying in the hallway because I couldn’t find the therapy device I needed for my daughter? I ran around my mess of a house for several minutes and gave up, breaking into tears. I leaned against the wall and cried out to God. I’m a failure! I can’t keep up with anything! What is wrong with me?

The earlier conversation with my friend came back to my mind. I thought over what I’d said to her. Why couldn’t I extend the same grace to myself? I meant it when I told her not to be so hard on herself. How come it’s so easy for me to urge others to go easy on themselves, yet I fail to do so with myself?

I took a deep breath and realized the world was not going to end because I couldn’t find something. I imagined what I would say to someone else in my shoes, then I said it to myself. “Give yourself a break, girl.”