A California mom’s letter to her young kids is going viral for capturing what so many parents go through on a daily basis: feeling stressed out, sometimes taking it out on your children who mean the world to you, then feeling major regret afterward.
In the letter, which was posted to Facebook, Jess Johnston, a mom of four, writer and the blogger behind Wonderoak, told her children she was sorry for all the times she’s been a jerk to them, while also going into detail about what she wishes they knew about her, that she sometimes can’t find the words, or is too stressed out, to express.
Earlier that day, Jess, who also co-owns the surf apparel line Mako with her husband, wrote that her kids saw her at her best and her worst. “We cuddled on the couch this morning and your bed head was pressed into my chest. I smelled your hair and whispered I love you. I also lectured you about LISTENING and NOT INTERRUPTING, and was way grumpier than I needed to be,” she wrote. In the evening, she laid on their bed and apologized for how she treated them.
She goes on to acknowledge that her kids have seen her many sides often, and she feels like a mess. “I don’t really know what I’m doing. I wish I did, but I don’t. I do my best and I trust my gut, but sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes I say things that shouldn’t be said. Please keep telling me when I hurt you and I will make it right. We are learning and growing together,” she wrote.
But at the end of the day, she loves her kids and feels guilty for the times she’s let the overwhelming moments get the best of her, in front of her kids. In the evenings, while they’re sleeping, “I think about the things I could have said differently, and I wonder if you let my mistakes roll off of you or if they stuck,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, she’s hopeful that her children get something out of watching her—the permission to be imperfect too, even in front of her. “I hope you never hesitate to tell me when you’ve screwed up, because this imperfect mama will love you no matter what” she wrote. And it’s only fitting because, as she reminded them toward the end of her post, “We’re in this together for the long haul, my loves, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here.”
Jess’ sweet post has resonated with many since being shared to the social media site on September 23 and currently has 94,000 shares. In the comments section, fellow parents said the letter brought them to tears for reminding them they weren’t alone. Wrote one user, “This has just made me cry 😢…[This is] 100 percent how I have felt these last few days…The stresses of work making me snappy…and the heartbreaking feeling I might have upset my little one…who will never know how much I love him…It made me realize we are all human…and we make mistakes…Thank you 💕.”