We celebrated the last day of summer with some friends in the park. The anticipation was building for Grace’s first day of school ever. The phone rang and a serious-yet-concerned tone greeted my ear, “Hello, Mrs. Hasselbeck? This is So-and-So School, and we are calling just to make sure that Grace will be joining us this year.” I responded, “Of course. She is so excited! She has her lunch box all set out!” Then came the pause that I’ve heard comes before an avalanche.
“Mrs. Hasselbeck, the first day of school was today.”
I don’t even remember saying goodbye to the caller or hanging up. The big bow, the monogrammed lunch box, the ruffle socks, the seersucker dress—nothing I prepared ahead of time mattered. We—meaning me—had failed. Then shame set in.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, of Survivor, The View, and Fox News, shared that story in her book Point of View and it hit every mom nerve in me. And the story ends beautifully. As Elisabeth kissed Grace goodbye when she dropped her off at school, she said, “Have a great first day.” A little boy said, “It’s actually the second day of school.” Elisabeth’s response to the boy is the perfect remedy for moms who feel the weight of imperfection.
Elisabeth responded with, “Well, it’s the first day for Grace.”
As a mom, I’ve dropped the ball so many times that I think it might be coated in butter. We carry so much and beat ourselves up when we make mistakes. We try to overcompensate and win back our “good mom” status.
So those words, “Well, it’s the first day for Grace,” are pivotal for moms who carry shame or regret for all the ways we’ve messed up. Every day is the first day for grace. There is no time like the present to kick out shame and replace it with the truth of how you were created.
You can take a big step in giving yourself grace when you stop asking yourself these 3 questions that Elisabeth Hasselbeck says put an extra burden on us.
Question 1: How does she get all that done?
Comparison is the thief of joy. When we look at another mom and ask how she gets all that done, we are robbing ourselves of our own joy. We put her on a pedestal, which automatically puts us in a position of trying to climb instead of loving the place we are in. It’s impossible to see another mom doing and being it all and not beat ourselves up for being less than.
So eliminate that comparison question and give yourself grace instead by thinking, “Moms are incredible! We (myself included) really know how to get stuff done.”
Question 2: Why am I so behind?
As soon as it feels like I’ve caught up, life steps on the gas, and suddenly I’m scurrying to keep things together. I am perpetually three minutes late to everything, I’m constantly missing an ingredient that is essential to dinner, and eLearning has led to me sitting in the corner in the fetal position. Do you ever feel like everyone else is full speed ahead and you just aren’t getting there?
Eliminate that question and give yourself grace by recognizing where you’ve made progress. You might feel like you’re behind, but I promise, you’re still moving forward.
Question 3: Will I ever be enough?
A woman’s inner critic is given a megaphone when she becomes a mom. Now all of our successes and failures are on display in the form of these little people. And every time we fall short of perfection, the criticism digs in deeper until it’s not about what we do—it’s about who we are. Maybe I’m just not cut out for this.
Give yourself grace when you feel that question coming on by telling yourself, “My worth is not determined by what I do. I am enough and I am loved.”
Which of these 3 questions weighs on you most? How can you give yourself grace instead?
Get Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book Point of View and get the kids reading too, with Elisabeth’s first children’s picture book, Flashlight Night. It’s narrated by a boy whose parents have used chalkboard paint to create a wall where he and his siblings can write out all their fears, cares, and concerns: Will I learn to blow a bubble? Tie my shoes? Stay out of trouble? Be the friend they choose? It reminds us that little hearts can be anxious too—and that God is always listening to their prayers.