Those times when you think you’re not at your best, you may actually be doing better than you think

My three year old daughter and I take our typical stroller walk every chance the weather allows. Our neighborhood walking trail is three miles- not a small feat while pushing a 45-pound toddler.
 
On this particular occasion, about a mile out, my daughter announced that she would be walking home. I obliged, feeling proud of my big girl and how grown up she was becoming.

The man doesn’t know this because I was sporting my giant sunglasses, but my eyes welled up with tears.

We’d been walking for about 30 minutes and had stopped at least 100 times to point at mulch and smell pine trees. As we rounded a corner, I noticed an older man who entered the path a few yards behind us. Man, he’s gonna regret coming in our direction.
 
We drudged on, taking up both sides of the path, as I willed my daughter to please pick up the pace. We were in this poor man’s way!
 
He eventually approached us. “Excuse me,” he asked as I’d already convinced myself that we were a huge inconvenience to his walk. I prepared myself to be asked to stay to one side so that others could pass.
 
“I’ve been watching you,” he confessed. “You nurture her and you’re patient with her. I see a lot of kids out on this trail and that is a happy kid.” 
 
The man doesn’t know this because I was sporting my giant sunglasses, but my eyes welled up with tears. I was tired and frustrated with her but he saw only love between us.
 
We weren’t in his way. 
 
I always seem to jump to the worst conclusion, assuming my daughter is an inconvenience to people. I’m quick to offer up an apology when she’s loud or taking up more space than she should require.
 
I assumed we were slowing the man down but we weren’t disturbing him at all. “I have 2 speeds,” he explained, “slow and stopped.” I told him I was familiar with this because my daughter has the same speeds.
 
We chatted for a few minutes and I learned that the man had been in the military and visited 40 different countries. My daughter spelled her name for him and told him that she loved him.

When we feel like we’re failing, it helps so much to just hear that we’re doing an ok job.

I keep the man in my prayers. He didn’t have to say a word -could’ve walked right passed us and gone on with his day, but his kind words made all the difference to a tired, not so patient all of the time, mama.
 
We’re hard on ourselves, We beat ourselves up about why our kid peed on the floor, won’t eat anything other than cheese or poured out a jar of m&m’s into the couch (you know just some non-specific examples).
 
When we feel like we’re failing, it helps so much to just hear that we’re doing an ok job. I mean, you can always tell me I look thin (I like that one), but compliment my mothering and you touch a whole other part of my soul.
 
If someone hasn’t told you today, you’re doing great, mama. Being a mom is hard. And sometimes someone is watching even when you may not think so. 
 
To the man who stopped me today, I hope we run into each other again. We’ll always make room for you on the trail.

This article has been shared with us from its original source with permission from Squats and Margaritas

About the author

Erin Washington

Erin Washington

After 20 years of battling body issues, I'm finally in my best body at 37 and a mother of two. I know so many women who are hard-core fitness fanatics and never let themselves “cheat.” They will never miss a workout and always pass on a cocktail. Then there’s the women who are out every night at happy hour and think nothing of skipping their workout the next morning. Neither lifestyle is sustainable. I fall somewhere in the middle- Squats and Margaritas. I finally found a formula that worked for me and feel compelled to share it with women who are struggling like I always have.

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