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How To Make Friends With Failure

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Last week, as I dropped my little man off to school — tears streaming down his face — I felt like the worst step mamma in the world.

You see, the day before was the one-month mark since my bestie, Jess, had passed on. It was also the day I released this post. As I read comment after comment — yet again inspired by how many lives she touched — I felt a bubble of sadness begin to rise within me. I missed her so bloody much.

Then I posted this photo on Instagram and couldn’t even read the comments as the bubble of sadness began to rise higher.

That night I tossed and turned, barely getting any sleep at all.

The next morning, as I sat in my meditation, I could feel the bubble right up in my throat. And as soon as my meditation alarm sounded, I burst into tears. As I sobbed my heart out in my husband’s arms, I knew it had been coming. No words were spoken for a few minutes, he just held me tight until I started to catch my breath again.

The truth is, I felt lost. I wanted the nightmare to be over, I wanted the heaviness in my chest to lift. And most of all, I wanted to hear my best friend’s sweet voice again. But I knew that wasn’t possible — that this was what was real. And, well… at that moment, it really freakin’ sucked!

There is such a deep understanding with my darling husband, who always says the right things at the right time. He whispered,Remember, she is everywhere, baby’. I didn’t even have to explain what was going on, he just knew exactly how I was feeling.

With a sigh of relief, I got myself together. I mopped up my tears and now had to shift my focus to getting our little monkey out the door for school. I wasn’t finished letting all my sadness out, but I had to keep moving forward anyway. Maybe if I’d had 15, or even 5 more minutes to process and allow myself to fully and completely feel everything, this next part of the story would not have happened…

As it goes, our little man hadn’t finished his homework and didn’t want to leave the house until he was done. I, on the other hand, had to be in my office by 8:30am for a meeting. As I rushed him out the door, I could see he was getting upset, but so was I. I was upset too, I missed my best friend goddammit. I, I, I. Me, me, me. In that exact moment, I could have been love. Instead, I said, ‘Darling, I really have to get to work, so let’s do as much as we can in the car and you can do the rest at school.’

It’s important to fully, deeply and completely feel all your emotions in order to release them.

Although it might sound perfectly reasonable, I didn’t actually say it from a place of love. I was feeling rushed, emotional, and on the edge of bursting into tears, and those were the feelings that underscored my words… not love.

He huffed and puffed, and the only way I could get him in the car was by walking out the door myself.

As we pulled up to the school, tears streaming down his cute little face, he said, ‘I am going to get in trouble for not finishing my homework and it’s all your fault!’

Of course, it’s my fault he hasn’t finished his homework, right!?

I snapped, and with tears now streaming down both of our faces he closed the door and didn’t say goodbye.

My heart broke.

As I drove off I felt like I had failed. I felt like the worst step mamma in the entire world. Yes, I was having a human moment; yes, I was grieving; yes, it’s part of the process; but NO, I didn’t need to take it out on this divine little human. I knew it was not good enough.

I want to play big, I want to act as my best self in every single moment, and taking my stuff out on others is not acceptable.

Not for me, anyway.

I wonder if that would’ve happened if time had permitted me to have just a few more minutes to completely let out all my feelings beforehand? Who knows, and it’s irrelevant anyway. I am a massive believer in everything happening for a reason and everything always being perfect, so I choose not to dwell on the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s of life.

I take full responsibility for how I acted and for making sure in the future, I allow myself to feel my feelings wholly. Because once you mop ‘em up and move on, you have missed the moment. It’s gone forever! And if you didn’t fully and completely feel what you needed to feel, it will just pop back up again when you least expect it. Maybe later that day, maybe in a week, maybe not for a couple of years. But trust me — it’ll come back to bite you in the tush unless you fully honour the emotions and experience those waves in all their glory.

I know this can be easier said than done when you’ve got kids, but you can still carve out that space for yourself if you get a bit creative. If they’re banging on your bedroom door, ask your partner or one of the other kids to watch them, or give them a book or toy to keep them occupied whilst you make sure you have felt everything you need to feel. It doesn’t have to take 40 minutes. Sometimes all you need is 5 or even 2. Give yourself permission to fully feel your emotions, you are worthy of that! And remember when you are overflowing with love you show up to your children (and the world) as the best version of you.

If you don’t have little munchkins around your ankles, make sure you don’t simply distract yourself with something else, like social media or the next task on your to-do list.

Your feelings are not who you are, but they need to be expressed. Unexpressed feelings can manifest as an illness or disease in the body so you need to get them out sister!

A few hours after I got to the office, I began to release the title of The World’s Worst Step Mum from myself and instead place my hands over my heart and repeat, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.

There are going to be times when we fall over, ‘fail’, stuff up or make ‘mistakes’, all of which are a judgment by the way. But every single one is an opportunity to forgive and to melt into love. Even when you don’t feel like it.

Love is always there, ever present, and only a breath away.

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  1. Pippa says:

    Ahhh Mel – sending you lots of love and hugs.

    As you say there are no mistakes just opportunities to learn and you and your little munchkin learned that morning and were both doing the best job you could at that moment. Emotions are so powerful and I will learn from your post and try and capture them as I live in the moment, express them and fully feel them.
    You are so wonderful for sharing what happened especially with everything you are feeling.

    Sending you love and hugs xoxo

    • Melissa says:

      Thank you so much beautiful Pippa. And yes I am saying there are no mistakes only opportunities to learn and grow my darling.

      xx

  2. Justine says:

    Oh Melissa, you didn’t fail honey, you are human. I have a gorgeous 16yr old and there have been moments along our path where I allowed stress, exhaustion and worry to overtake my reactions instead of love. I’m sure this will have brought you closer because together you had your hearts cracked open and shared raw, deep emotions.

  3. Emma Quinlan says:

    Amazing post Mel.. Thank you for this and all of your other beautiful posts, they always seem to appear in my inbox at just the right moment! 🙂

    Much Love Emma xx

  4. Wow Mel, what a beautiful post. Sometimes it’s funny we make positivity and love our default setting and all is well. However when we feel what we need to feel #guilt comes in?

    Really needed for hear this post and I thank you for being so beautifully honest and loving.
    xxx take care xxxx

  5. Elle says:

    Thank you lovely lady xxxx your posts always come just when I need them!

  6. Mandi says:

    Oh Mel, this is exactly what I needed to hear today. I lost my dad (going on a year this month) and I struggled (still do sometimes) to find the words to explain how I feel or find a way to make the hurt stop or even to feel human. This hits me right in the heart and I thank you, so much, for the darling words that made me teary, and at the same time, made me understand so much more. We learn so much from our mistakes and even when we don’t think that we make them anymore, they catch us.

    You are, by the sounds of it, a beautiful step mother and I know that your little guy is lucky to have you.

    Thank you for your words x

  7. Emma says:

    Grief is such a powerful emotion, I was right there with you when you were describing that bubble, that right on the surface feeling of being able to lose your sh*t at any moment. So often we don’t let ourselves.
    What a lucky little man to have such a beautifully caring step Mamma, love the humanness in this post sweetheart, it is so important! Thank you for sharing x

  8. Lara says:

    Oh Mel you have me in tears sitting in my car in the car park… Reading your post.(must look a little strange)
    I have two lil ones and we all have these moments. I used to beat myself up over moments like these, until someone said something really thought provoking to me… They asked me… “Do you let your kids see your vulnerability? Do you let them see you as you are, that you are at times “breakable”. It really made me think, that she was right sharing your “break ability” with your kids, helps them understand that we all have bad days, sad moments and sometimes we take it out on people we love. Which is not cool…but it is human (as you said). I am sending you a huge huge hug and know that there are people all over the place who you have never even met you sending you buckets of love. You are strong and amazing and beautiful.
    Love and Light, Lara

    • Melissa says:

      Thank you so much beautiful Lara, I can feel your love.

      You’re 100% right, so many women hide that side of themselves with their children, but it’s so important you are real and authentic with them. That’s all that matters.

      xx

  9. Nicole Joy says:

    Love this Mel, you own being a human and all the sh*t that comes along with it like no one I know. Big, giant bear hugs are being sent your way. xxx

  10. Amy says:

    Mel, your words are just beautiful. And for you to be so open and raw also shows that you are a beautiful person and step mum! While reading, I actually ended up putting my teacher hat on (I’m currently a pre-service teacher). It made me realise that as a teacher, when my future students do come to school upset and in your case, haven’t finished their homework, I have to step back and understand that there may be personal reasons for this. I hope his teacher was also able to step back and see how upset he was before getting up him! Xx

    • Melissa says:

      Hey Amy,

      You’re right! We never know what is going on for someone else, this is why we can not judge, just simply understand.

      His teacher was wonderful and that day he found out he got moved up to honours in English and 95% in his maths exam, so he was chuffed 😉

      xx

  11. I’m so sorry it has been so difficult losing Jess. I can’t imagine what that’s like and I’m sending you lots of love and the hope that you’ll be able to have some peace soon and realize that it’s just the start of a new chapter in your relationship with her. I hope that doesn’t sound insensitive as I don’t mean it to be, but I know she’s watching over you and you will never be alone. I think it’s beautiful and courageous of you to share with us these more vulnerable moments, because it’s a reminder that even gorgeous and successful women like yourself experience the same emotions. Lots of love to you <3

    • Melissa says:

      Hey Alex,

      Thanks for your words. Of course I know she is watching over, she is everywhere and ever present.

      I do feel peace, right now in this moment, however that doesn’t mean I still won’t feel different emotions. It’s all part of being alive.

      xx

  12. What a beautiful example of humanity, thank you for sharing your experience Melissa. I’ve been through much the same with my own son when he was younger and it has eased now that I put everything into whatever moment I’m experiencing, in that moment and am able to put all other things aside…meetings can be changed, occasionally getting to school on time doesn’t really matter in the long term (neither does not finishing homework from time to time). As Eckhart Tolle espouses in his book The Power of Now ‘wherever you are, be there totally’ and as I teach – forgive yourself if you can’t be who you want to be in every moment, it’s a journey.

  13. Lauren says:

    Oh Mel – hugs.
    I too often find myself racing against the clock to get me and my 4 year old out the door and I’ve had the moment you’ve described above.
    We can make mistakes in front of our children but it’s the way we handle our mistakes that will impact and teach them.
    Great post xx.

    • Melissa says:

      You’re right honey and like I mentioned above I don’t see them as mistakes but instead opportunities for growth.

      xx

  14. Summer says:

    So perfectly said, thanks for being brave. I’ve had these moments myself over the past few years and you are so right. Sending love and hugs Xxx

  15. Becky says:

    I just got tears in my eyes reading your post. We put so much pressure on ourselves as Mumma’s!! You lovely lady are an amazing step Mumma!! Xx

  16. Kristen says:

    Mel, I loved the raw and authentic truth seeping from this post. Thank you for sharing. Xx

  17. Reena Tory says:

    Beautiful post honey. You’re in my thoughts x

  18. Rachael says:

    Hi Mel. *hugs* Very courageous of you to be so transparent to us about a less-than-pretty-but-oh-so-human moment. Yep, you’re a human, so stuff like this is going to happen. It just is. What is tops is that you’re on top of it when you realise you wish you had reacted differently. That is really fab. I trust you have mended things with the little man 🙂 & that you go on to have a good rest of the week, continuing to heal.

    Rachael
    xo

  19. Tan says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I didn’t know who to turn to at this time and i needed someone
    who could advice me and understand without judging me. I thought of you and MA tribe.

    Why is it that when you think and feel with all your heart that this person is the man of my life,
    the love of my life everything seems pink at start and then after some time you make a small mistake
    you become the worst person in the world?

    You don’t even want to stay alive, you feel like a piece of *** and feel so useless and start doubting
    your love. Is it really worth getting married to such a person?

    I plan my saturday with him and we got to go to a family dinner organised by his family.
    But as we will be meeting in the evening, my family thought we could plan a lunch together
    as all of my saturdays are spent with him.

    Is it bad of me to want to please my parents, my in- laws and my love? Is it bad to postpone our lunch
    for Sunday to have lunch with my parents? Should he have got upset and talk badly to me?
    Did I really deserve to be treated like a bad person, accused of taking him for granted?

    Did i made a mistake in recognizing true love? or does all this form part of love? Do fights,misunderstandings, talking harshly and hurting with words part of a future relation?

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Tan,

      It sounds like you have been hanging out with your Mean Girl, it’s time to gently close the door on her and return back to love.

      If I was you I would stop trying to please others and focus on myself. I would focus on filling myself up and flexing my self-love muscle so that I was happy and content within myself. This is the first place to start. Then you could let go of your expectations on your partner. And also let go of the social conditioning that you have around relationships being a certain way. You are the one making the choices. You can choose how you want your relationship to be, no one else.

      Darling have you done my program Get Your Glow On? I feel like it would be very beneficial for you.

      It’s time to really dial up your self-love and worthy-o-meter so that you are bursting with love within yourself. Get Your Glow On will help with that. It’s time beautiful and I am here to support you.

      Let me know what you think.

      xx

      • Tan says:

        Hi Melissa,

        Hope you doing fine. Do excuse me for the late reply. I have read your reply very carefully and I have focused on what you said 🙂 Thank you for having taken the time and patience for such a kind,sincere,positive reply.

        During the past week I have started doing what you said.
        Thinking positive! Taking care of me 🙂 Not have expectations and let go of the burden I had. Yes it’s true I have been listening to my Mean Girl since quite a long time. I think that because of this I don’t know the real me. It is high time that I discover the true me that lies within me. I feel much better since this last post and I wanted to reply only when I follow the advice you gave me and here I am.

        I have recently bought your ebook Path to wellness and it’s just want I needed to keep reminding me of what I want to be. How to work on myself from my inner self to have an outer self that will both be glowing when I look at me.
        I read that you had thyroid problems. I have been diagnosed having it too. Did you have precise tests to confirm it? Were there any food that you could not eat?
        I’m kind of worried a bit about my thyroid problem.

        I’m grateful to know after nearly 2 years that I have this. I fell ill so often and took so many medication. Do you have any specific advice for me concerning this hypo thyroid?

        Thank you for suggesting me your Get your Glow on Program 🙂 I will check it out straightaway 🙂

      • Melissa says:

        Hi Tan,

        I am not qualified to give you any medical advice but if I was you I would find the best naturopath in your area and go see them right away. Get some blood test’s done and go from there.

        Let me know how you go honey.

        xx

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