Doing the Best We Can


I know my life is better when I work from the assumption that everyone is doing the best they can.

– Brené Brown

We’ve had an unusual string of colds this year, cycling through our house and group of friends like a small cyclone every few weeks, leaving chapped noses, sleepless nights and evidence of homemade remedies in every room (ie garlic infused oils and elderberry gummies!). And we’ve hosted visitors; some of my favorite friends and family passed through or came to experience a Colorado winter. And, Phil’s travel schedule included several last minute overnight trips. So, it has felt full. Looking back I can see it all clearly, but it was a foggy season to navigate for me.

Amidst this haze, I joined a monthly meet-up with a group of educator/crunchy mamas and their pre-school kids. We share a snack, play with the little people and connect for a few minutes on life. I hosted this month’s play group, and as I ushered the last family out the door yesterday I was struck by how much grace was extended between the mothers and each other’s kids.

Oakley is “learning” about sharing (ie he is almost always hoarding all his toys when kids come to play at our house). I found myself feeling so exposed, vulnerable, aware that my little guy whom I love so deeply was leaving a trail of crying kids in his wake wherever he went.

Here are a few things I noticed in these vulnerable moments:

  • I wanted to stop him from hurting anyone’s feelings.
  • I didn’t want to be judged for being a bad mom.
  • I wanted to nurture his learning – I’m totally with you kid, building a tower with all ten cups is way more fun than just using one cup. How can we do that and make sure our friends feel respected?
  • I didn’t want to be embarrassed by my kid. Ugh. For his experience of that, or my own.

Again, back to the last guest leaving… amidst my vulnerability, grace abounded. These women didn’t judge me or Oakley. They didn’t swoop in every time he snagged a toy. I felt warmth as they showed that they assumed he was doing the best he could. And, that I was doing the best I could. It felt like a safe place to learn how to parent better, among these women. I felt like Oakley was safe learning with these kids. What a gift for me, a salve in a vulnerable, tired space. It expanded my capacity, rather than depleting it.

Brene Brown writes, “I know my life is better when I work from the assumption that everyone is doing the best they can.”

What would shift if we believed we were doing the best we could?
What if we believed that those we encountered were doing the best they could?
What would we have to let go of?
What opportunities could we embrace if we believed this?

I challenge you to take 2 minutes and write down your response on a post-it note before moving on… I dare you.


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