Friday, April 20, 2012

I don't care if you succeed, but please try!

I don't usually toot my own horn, but if there's one thing your mama is pretty good at in life it would have to be my ability to TRY things.  I may not always succeed in everything I try (if you find that hard to believe, just ask your dad about the time I made Indian food when we were dating!), but the fact that I put myself out there and allow myself the opportunity to either succeed or fail without remorse... I feel like it makes me a better person that I would be otherwise.  I have a lot of high hopes for you, like every mother has for her little one, but one of my highest hopes is that you will have enough confidence in yourself to run the risk of failure in pursuit of success.  

It doesn't matter how MANY times you fail, it only matters that you keep trying.  You've never actually failed until you succumb to your failure and quit trying to make it right.  I will never be disappointed in you for "falling short" of what you wanted to accomplish, but I will be terribly sad if you throw in the towel and quit doggedly fighting your way to your hopes and dreams.  It may take time, it may take inconvenience, it may cause heartache, it may even take sacrifice (note: it will usually take sacrifice), but nothing is out of your reach if you set your mind to it.  As the old saying goes: If at first you don't succeed... try, try again!

No one likes to fail.  It hurts to feel like we aren't good enough.  The way you react when you've failed at something is just as important in the grand scheme of things as the number of times you try something.  Failure and I go way back.  You could probably even say that most of the time I have set out to try something, I probably failed in some small way before I ever tasted the sweet nectar of success.  I can probably count on zero fingers the number of times I set out to do something new and nailed it on the first try.  In your first year of life you've already upstaged me by getting several things right on the first try! (Example: The first time you attempted the stairs in the house you made it all the way to the top without stopping and/or face-planting!) 

If we were tallying up my successes and plotting them on some sort of pie chart I'm guessing my life would look pretty grim!  I don't feel that way, though.  Instead, I see each time something didn't go as I had planned it to go or didn't turn out as I had intended it to turn out as an opportunity to tweak something the NEXT time I attempt it.  This process actually excites me now!  When you stop fearing failure it opens your mind up to the excitement of the learning process as a whole!  Now when a recipe I make doesn't pan out like I had hoped, I immediately begin brainstorming all of the reasons why it didn't work and begin planning a way to remedy those issues for the next attempt.  Instead of saying, "Well, this was a massive mistake!" I try to say, "Hmm... you know what, I can totally do better!"

This is what I want for you!

You might only be a year old right now, but I already see a fiery spirit in you that will not be contained!  You are active, brave, daring, curious, and unafraid of tackling new things.  All of these attributes will take you a long way in life!  However, I also see a sensitive soul in you.  I see a little girl who doesn't like to be told no, not necessarily because you REALLY wanted to do that thing I didn't want you to do, but because it looks like it hurts your feelings to have us reprimand you in any sort of way.  You don't just throw a fit when told no, you actually cry real tears and look and sound SO sad!  I know you're very young right now and learning about how the world works, but I do hope when you're older that you won't internalize your "wrongs" to the point where they make you sad and angry.  Instead, I want for you to step back, re-evaluate, learn from those things and try, try again!

To take a page from my own life's book, you know that I am currently trying to re-lose the weight I gained during my pregnancy with you that I had already lost once prior to becoming pregnant.  I lost over 100 lbs through diet and exercise and gained back over 80 of it.  Losing that 100 lbs was A LOT of work!  I don't think anyone would have faulted me fully if I decided to put off trying to lose that weight again, especially with a new baby, but it felt like giving up to put off trying again indefinitely.  Instead, I jumped back on the bandwagon as soon as I felt like I could balance it all and I am currently in the process of trying again.  

So, what happens if your dad and I decide to give you a brother or sister and I've already re-lost all of my weight again?  Well, I'll probably gain some of it back again and will have to try and re-lose it a THIRD time!  The point I'm trying to make?  Gaining my weight back at any point in my life isn't true failure.  It's a total setback, for sure!  But, it isn't actual failure until my mind says, "Yeah, I'm done.  I'm never going to be able to stay at my goal so I'm going to quit trying."  Setbacks and mistakes happen.  Deal with them by trying a different approach.  If that approach doesn't work, try another one... and another one... and another one!  Always keep an open mind to new solutions to your problem.  Inspiration can come from anywhere!  

Life is a series of decisions... a giant pool of trials and errors.  The attitude you choose to have when dealing with these decisions and the results of those decisions will go a long way toward your overall happiness in life.  I can guarantee that you will be a happier person if you take the bad stuff as a chance to "do better next time" than you will be if you get too down on yourself for "failing."  As I said before, I won't be disappointed in you for not succeeding, but I will be disappointed if you give up or have a bad attitude about it.  

But honestly, all of this has no real relevance to you right now anyway!  You're just starting to spread your wings and try new things!  We are going to keep encouraging you to do that very thing because the last thing we want to do is crush your spirits or make you think you shouldn't put yourself out there. To take a line from something that DOES hold relevance with you, right now... Yo Gabba Gabba:  Keep trying!  Keep trying!  Don't give up!  Never give up!  Don't stop now, don't stop now, you'll get it right!  You'll get it right!  Don't stop now, don't stop now, you'll figure it out! You'll figure it out!


  1. I have been enjoying your GGD for some time, but I must say that this is my favorite piece so far. You have written a manifesto that reflects all good parents' concerns and hopes for their little loved ones. This collection of essays will be a much-loved keepsake for your daughter. You're a good mommy.