I Failed Today

Matthew Woodall
2 min readNov 3, 2020

But tomorrow is a new day

Photo by Kaylee Eden on Unsplash

Today was a dark day for me.

My depression is flaring up again. My partner’s anxiety is through the roof as we try and navigate the Byzantine red tape of her long-term disability benefits.

Our daughter is struggling with home schooling — pushing back against our instruction.

All of this is making for days where I am utterly exhausted from the moment I wake up. All of that caught up to me today, and I failed as a parent.

We started with giggles and laughter, but by the end of the day there was screaming and tears. The combination of parents who are stressed-out and living with mental health concerns, and a kid who is trying desperately to understand the world around her meant that we stopped talking and started shouting.

I can’t blame my daughter, she’s seven. She’s trying to navigate a world with two parents who love her dearly but don’t always love ourselves. We’ve never shied away from showing her how much we love her. We don’t always demonstrate the kind of self-care that we need.

The pandemic doesn’t help. Many of our usual self-care tactics are off-limits to us because of restrictions. Others we have chosen not to use because the risk is too high.

We live far away from family, so a day off — or even an evening off — is a rare occurrence. I’m working from home, my wife and daughter are doing the homeschool dance (and doing it pretty well, overall). We are together all day, every day.

It can be exhausting.

Today, that all caught up to us — and it was over something trivial. Something we won’t remember next week, never mind next year or next decade.

My daughter went to bed in tears.

I hid in my room and cried.

I failed today. I will fail again in the future. When I do, I hope I’m smart enough to listen to the wisdom of my daughter.

“Daddy? I love you. Tomorrow is a new day for all of us and we can try again.”

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