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Getting a B in Motherhood

No one gets an A in motherhood. But you also don't deserve an F.

No one gets an A in motherhood. But you also don't deserve an F. In college, I had a class with a notoriously difficult professor. He wasn’t mean or vindictive or cruel. He was actually a pretty great guy. His classes were just tough and that’s the way it was.

Because I enjoy challenges, I decided to bust my butt for one of his tests. I had studied for the previous one and pulled a C which was okay coming from him, but I wanted to see just how high of a score i could get if I really sunk my teeth into the material and didn’t sleep much for a few days. The night before the test I attempted an all-nighter which turned into a 4am-er because I hit a wall and passed out for three hours before heading to work.

I took the test and felt like I did reasonably well. I knew I didn’t get 100% because, well, I’m human, but I was fairly confident in my performance. The days passed slowly until we finally got the results back.


I. Was. Ecsraric.

According to his grading scale I had earned a B which for any other class I was in was equivalent to an A++ as far as I was concerned.

I had done it. I had put my nose to the grindstone, worked my tail off, and reaped the fruits of my labor. I was so proud of myself that, 8 years later, I’m still talking about that monumental achievement in my college career.

And yet…

I don’t give myself the same credit for the things I do on a day-to-day basis as a mother.

Every day it seems I go to bed feeling like a failure. I didn’t do enough engaging activities with my kids. I yelled at them. I lost my temper. I didn’t listen when my daughter was telling me a story or chose not to build a block tower with my son because I was tired. All I see in my mind’s eye when I’m lying in bed at night is little check marks, each one pointing to something I did poorly that day, and when the check marks are added up it comes down to an F.

That’s not an accurate assessment, though. It’s just plain not true. There are a million things that I do with my kids almost every day. I talk to them a lot. And not in baby talk or even words that are necessarily on their level. I talk to them in mostly adult language so their vocabulary expands.

I put their music on (thank you, Pandora, for your Disney station) and dance with them in the afternoon when we’re all in a slump.

I have them help me cook and have even started allowing my daughter to make her own peanut butter sandwiches as a way to encourage her independence.


I’m not a failure.

Motherhood is hard just like my college professor. It’s so hard that no one gets an A. It’s impossible. An A means perfect and no one is a perfect mother. Not me, not you, not anyone. But I think we can all earn B’s in motherhood.

Getting a B means you worked your ass off to be the best mom you could be to your kids that day. It means sacrifice of time and sleep and temper. It means you endured hours of tears and tantrums and screams. It means you put your head down, pushed aside selfish desires, and gave yourself to your kids. You were present. You were available. You were their mom.

You get a B for motherhood. You’re not perfect, but you’re not a failure. You’re doing everything you can and that’s all anyone, including your kid or your spouse or your mother-in-law can ask of you. Be proud of your B. Be excited. Go celebrate with a drink. You earned it.

2 thoughts on “Getting a B in Motherhood

  1. merrimj1122

    Great post. Although I’d say I got too many C’s and D’s, but by the grace of God he probably gave me a GPA of B for a couple of those extra credit A’s from the gracious, lenient Master! 😉

  2. Pearl Allard

    Toni, I am so grateful for stumbling onto your blog! (through a guest post I read on ) I grew up in the Pacific NW and knew EXACTLY what you meant about wanting to hug the sun…if and when it decides to ever come out!! It also really resonated reading Getting a B in Motherhood. I like challenges too but not infinite ones (making motherhood seem daunting during all waking hours)! You encouraged me to remember all the things I AM doing, not just all the stuff I’m not. Tonight I am adding your blog to my gratitude journal. Thanks again!!

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