Why It’s OK to Fail

Snowflake resting on ice crystals

I have failed.

But it’s OK.

Failing at one thing has allowed me to find a better path for myself and my family. I really don’t like the word journey, but it’s a good description for what’s happened over the last eighteen months.

I quit my job as an accountant in a local company, having worked there for over thirteen years. In my mind, I had grand plans of setting myself up as a successful freelancer whilst simultaneously being an awesome stay at home mum to my two children. My son was just about to start Reception year and I had visions of joyful school runs and after school activities, cuddled up on the sofa reading a book.

The reality has been quite different and has been quite enlightening. I’ve ticked all of the cliche boxes, from learning life lessons to being myself. Frankly, I didn’t enjoy being a freelancer and craved the security, and anonymity, of working for a company. It took me a while to actually admit this to myself, and my family, but once I did I felt a massive sense of relief. For me, my overarching goal in life is for my family to be happy and feel loved, and a huge part of that comes from me being happy in myself.

At the start, I felt embarrassed to admit that I had failed at being a freelancer. It seems that there is a growing trend for mums to be self-employed or have a side hustle, and that not having one makes you less of a super mum somehow. I completely admire anyone who can juggle everything, but for me I just can’t do it.

Being honest has been one of the big challenges for me, as well as trying to stop comparing myself to others and my perceived expectations of how I should be as a mum. There’s so much out there, online and on social media about mum life, in every shape and form. Trying to choose which route is right is completely overwhelming and clouds the fact that we can just find our own path.

Every family is different, and as long as you’re all breathing and happy, you’re doing it right.

I read an article a really long time ago, and the message from it has stayed with me ever since. You have to try out a lot of recipes to find the foods you like to eat. It’s such a good metaphor for life, and resonates with me so much right now. Yes, I’ve spent over a year trying to do something which ultimately I failed at, but that experience has allowed me to see what I don’t want to do (and therefore, what I do want!)

Failing, and making mistakes, is part of life. Many of us have turned into helicopter or lawnmower parents, trying to prevent our beloved children from failing or being upset. By doing this though, how will they learn to deal with disappointment or find a positive outcome? It’s the same for us as adults too, if we go through life avoiding mistakes or failures, inevitably we will end up being dissatisfied or frustrated. Taking the easy path is fine, at times, and sometimes it’s the sensible option but it can’t be a long term strategy.

10 Replies to “Why It’s OK to Fail

  1. Such an important subject. And a great message to pass onto our kids that ‘it’s ok to fail’. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said experiencing what you don’t want, helps you to see what you do want. Brilliant. Great read, thank you. #itsok

  2. Great post – freelancing is so hard!! Quite a timely read for me, as I’m failing at a few things at the moment but I’m only just getting to the point where I’m admitting it to myself! Thanks for adding this to #itsok xx

  3. OH my goodness yes! I encourage my oldest (newly 3) to try new things because I not only want her to have no fear of something new, but I almost want her to fail. But….. this girl is already a perfectionist. My SO is too but it is not something he pushes on her we always encourage her to try, but if she doesn’t think she can say a new word, or do something new she won’t even try. I can not relate with it at all, but my SO says he gets it.
    The other night she said she was writing a grocery list so I said why don’t you draw the foods you want and she wouldn’t. Then she decided to draw a pumpkin (there are 5 on our table) okay cool she doesn’t ever try to draw things.. well 3 seconds in she says ” I know, it’s a rock” I said look just draw the stem it is so a pumpkin and she insists it is a rock. Of course it looks more like rock, but I just wanted her to be happy with what she was trying to draw. I have no clue what to do.

  4. Oh Gemma, I’m sorry things haven’t worked out! It’s so hard to work for yourself especially when everyone else seems to make it look so easy. I am still nowhere near ready to give up the main job. I hope you won’t stop writing though xxx

  5. This is a brilliant post Gemma! Such an important message not just for our children but also for us adults. Failure is often the stepping stone to success, however bleak it seems at that time. Of course it’s absolutely ok to fail – the fact that you tried is far more important! Thanks for sharing this fab post with the #itsok linky…

  6. This is a fab post and such an important message. “Comparison is the thief of joy” and it doesn’t do us any good! I love your food metaphor – really brings it home that this is all part of the “recipe of life” and it’s totally OK to “fail.” Although, I don’t think you’ve failed at all, just taken a different path… Good luck in whatever you decide to do next! #ItsOK

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