‘I’m impatient. And they’re insane. They’ve behaved their little hearts out for teachers and friends. They wanna cut loose, and so they do. There are tears every day.’

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“At the end of the day, I lose my patience a bit. I feel like I’m herding cats toward a finish line, and that finish line is bed time. It’s hard, and sometimes I snap. I’m not proud, but…

At the end of the day, they act out. They’re tired and emotionally spent and they’ve behaved their little hearts out for teachers and friends. They wanna cut loose, and so they do.

I’m impatient. And they’re insane.

That’s how the last four hours of just about every day goes.

When bed time finally comes, at least one person in our house has cried. My son, or my daughter, or sometimes me. Maybe a privilege was taken away. A toy was thrown at a sibling. Or dinner time was over, but somebody wanted a snack.

There are tears at the end of every day.

And after the circus is quiet, however long that may take, all I can do is collapse on the pillow, close my eyes, and breathe.

Because at the end of the day, in the still quiet of the night, I don’t watch Netflix or do dishes or take luxurious baths.

Nah., I stare at the ceiling and replay all of my parenting mistakes, over and over again in my head.

Guilt comes flooding in.

Regret. Doubt.

Playing on a loop inside my brain:

‘I should be a better mom.’
‘I shouldn’t have said that mean thing to my child.’
‘I wonder how bad I’m screwing this up.’
‘I don’t deserve to be a mom.’
‘I don’t know what in the hell I’m even doing.’

We’ve all been there, right?

Maybe that’s where you are right now.

At the end of the day, when those little Tasmanian devils all of the sudden look like cherubs in their beds, you start to believe that maybe YOU are a jerk of a parent and they are complete and total angels.

Listen to me.

*puts hands on each side of your face*

Seriously. Listen, parents:

None of us are perfect.

We all lose our patience. We all have crumbs under our car seats. We all say things we wish we hadn’t said, in a tone that makes us want to hide our heads in shame.

We’ve made our children cry. ALL of us. We’ve made mistakes. ALL of us. We’ve stepped in it, big time.

💩 All of us. 💩

But at the end of the day, our kids won’t carry with them the memories of crumby car seats.

They’ll remember the after-school snacks.

They won’t remember the frazzled mom yelling at them ‘HURRY UP JUST GET IN YOUR FRIGGIN CAR FOR THE LOOOOOOVE.’

They’ll remember that special trip to Waffle House Daddy made on a school day.

At the end of the day, your family loves you BIGGER than your shortcomings. BIGGER than your mistakes.

Love is bigger than your doubt, bigger than your screw ups, and bigger than your hurt.

Do me a favor.

Pull a picture out of your phone and look at the eyes of your children.

You see all of that love?


Isn’t it beautiful?

At the end of the day, you may have screwed up and fussed and lost your ever-loving mind. Your car might be filthy and your house a hot mess and your temper hot as a poke—

But your kids? THEY ARE LOVED.

They KNOW that.

And at the end of the day, THAT is all that matters.”

Father sits in booth of restaurant with his two young kids
Courtesy Mary Katherine Backstrom

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mary Katherine Backstrom. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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