Hey baby,

Today was rough. You had some hard moments, and I had a hard time dealing with them. I watched the clock for hours willing it to move faster, and when it was finally bedtime and you were all tucked in, I was immediately flooded with guilt and sadness.

I yelled at you today.

I regained my composure quickly, but I still yelled, and for that, I am sorry. You were just being a kid. I am the grown-up and I should have handled it with more patience and grace.

I am still learning how to be a mommy. I never want to make excuses for myself—every day I need to try as hard as I can and learn from my mistakes. But I did want to take a moment and explain to you why I yelled.

When I lose my patience, when I am less than graceful, it almost always goes deeper than the thing I am upset about. And I want you to know.

I yelled because I was worried.

Before I became your mommy, I had no idea how profoundly I could love someone. You are my whole world. You are my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night. You are a piece of my heart that goes walking around outside of my body. And it’s my job to keep you safe.

Sometimes your actions stir up fears in me—this part is hard to explain. I think that maybe sometimes when you don’t listen to me, it makes me scared that you won’t heed my advice when you’re older, and that you’ll make bad choices. I know that today’s incident was over a Lego, and that a worry this intense doesn’t sound rational. But a mother’s love is everything but rational. And sometimes, that is why I yell.

I yelled because I am tired.

Taking care of you is my greatest honor. I want you to know that everyday. But it’s also very hard work—you are a very little human who has a lot of needs (as you should), and I am responsible for all of them. I haven’t had a proper sleep in years and despite my efforts for self-care, I haven’t really mastered it yet.

So there are days when I am just tired to my core. This is not your fault at all. And to be honest, I wouldn’t actually change a thing. I love being your person. But when I am this tired, my brain doesn’t work the way it should. I lose my patience faster, have a harder time finding the humor in things, and I react... sometimes loudly like I did today.

I yelled because I am stressed.

Being a parent is my most important job, but that doesn’t mean that everything else stops. In fact, sometimes it seems like life is swirling around me faster than I can manage. There are awful stories on the news, bills to pay, deadlines at work, other family members to tend to, a house to keep clean...

I try really hard to be present in the moment with you—those are my happiest moments of all time. But sometimes the business of life simply prevents me from really being here. And when I feel stressed like that, the little things you do trigger me in ways they wouldn’t normally.

I don’t want you to feel that stress though. It is my job to protect you from that, for now anyway. Please know that when the world is making me anxious, you are my calm. I will try to take more deep breaths, like we practice, and we can learn how to get centered together.

I yelled because I am a human.

Right now, I know you think I am a super hero. And while I certainly try, the truth is that I am just a regular person with emotions and flaws. I try hard every day, but I make mistakes every day. We all do. And you will too, for the rest of your life.

So while I am sorry I yelled, I am not sorry that you saw my less-than-perfect side. I want you to learn that mistakes are normal and even good. Mistakes help us learn about ourselves, and help us to grow. And sometimes mistakes are funny! Remember when I spent a whole afternoon trying to make that fancy dinner that I totally ruined, and we had to have Cheerios for dinner? And how hard we ended up laughing over it? That is one of my favorite memories.

I made a mistake today. Thank you for helping me learn and grow from it.

I yelled because you made me feel angry.

I love you with all my heart, but in that moment today, I felt angry with you. But here’s the thing—feeling angry with people you love is completely okay. We spend a lot of time together, it would be impossible not to get mad at each other once in a while! Daddy and I get upset with each other, but we still always love each other. It’s the same with you.

Sometimes we are going to make each other feel angry. Sometimes it’s the people we love most that make us feel the most angry. You are safe to feel all of your emotions with me, and I want you to see me feel all of mine. It’s my job to help you process those emotions, especially when they’re big and don’t feel good.

People can feel angry and love at the same time. In our family, the love part stays the same, no matter what other emotions are going on. I will love you forever and ever, more every single day. There is nothing you could do that would ever make me stop loving you. Part of love is loving the whole person, just as they are, in all of their moments. And that’s how I love you. Even when I yell.

Love, Mommy