It was a sunny Wednesday morning as I stood in the kitchen making my breakfast before work. With tired eyes, all I could think of was how grateful I felt it was the middle of the week. If I made it this far, then I could get through the rest of the week, right?
As this thought lingered in my head, I heard foot steps approach the room. I looked up to see my mom standing at the kitchen doorway. She stared at me with concerned eyes and asked, “So how are you feeling?”
I looked back at her and shrugged my shoulders. “I’m tired and stressed, but it’s okay.”
She stared at me for a moment and watched me go around the kitchen as I started to pack my breakfast.
“Well, babes,” (Babes is a pet name my mom calls me) “I know what you’re saying, but every job has it’s stresses.” My mom was right about this. Every job I’ve had in the past had its own form of stresses, whether if I was a restaurant hostess, a pre-k teacher, a babysitter or an administrative assistant. I got through all of those stresses before, but this time it was different.
This job was a big deal, so big it had the potential to mark my career, good or bad. I was new to the job and I still had a lot to learn. I was so overwhelmed and tired from my shifts that I was starting to slip up at work, making small mistakes that could easily make one of my bosses look at me and wonder if I was even good enough for this position, or at least that’s what I was thinking. I feared that day in and day out, I would live like this, making mistake after mistake and creating a reputation as someone unreliable and eventually as someone who wouldn’t be a great fit for the job. I was frustrated at myself that it was taking me so long to get the hang of things. Although I knew I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, I still felt disappointed. I knew I could do better.
It was as if my Mom knew what I was thinking. I had told her a few days before what was bothering me, so it didn’t really surprise me. ”
You know,” she started. “When I was in college studying to become a nurse, it was so hard and I was stressed too. There was so much to learn and do. And you know babes, one of the professors told us ‘You nurses are still young. You still have a lot of rice to eat’. Do you know what that means?”
I looked and her and almost laughed, but I knew where she was going with all of this. “Yeah.”
She continued to explain. “It means that you still have a lot to learn. So as you keep working, you’ll get the hang of it. You just have a lot of rice to eat.” she smiled at me.
I smiled back at her and laughed out loud as I grabbed my breakfast, kissed her on the cheek and headed for the door. “I really like that saying. Thanks, Mommy.”
This moment with my Mom is one of my all time favorites because as silly as the saying was, it still has so much meaning to me til’ this very day. Whatever you’re facing this week, whether it be your job, school, or a relationship struggle, it all takes work and time. As much as we would love to have everything together all the time, sometimes you’re not going to get everything right the first time. Sometimes, you won’t get it right the second time or the third time, or even the 10th time. But don’t let that hold you back. I’ve learned that your mistakes shape you. They mold you into a better version of yourself, but only if you don’t give up.
That day, I drove to work with a fresh perspective. Yes, my job was hard, it still is. Yes, I still struggle and make mistakes everyday. And yes, I still get up the next day and try to do better than the day before. As overwhelming as things may get, my mom makes a great point: I still have a lot of rice to eat. And boy, am I hungry!