I have a love/hate relationship with my job. The company I work for, in general, is excellent. My coworkers are some of my favorite people. The pay is wonderful, the work is easy (typically easy- there are anomalies), and the benefits are plenty. While I could do this job in my sleep, it can become tedious and frustrating.
I work at a contracted call center of a government agency responsible for reasearching and disseminating information about chronic and infectious disease in the United States and prevention of these diseases. I truly believe this is one of the few government agencies that have the well being of the public as a high priority. However, it is limited by the integrity of other government agencies and cooperation within federal government as a whole. It is also limited by the nature of democracy (this is a good thing- that is the purpose of democracy). The people who operate this division of government are, after all, only human, and error and negligence adds to these limitations.
This is frustrating for some people who call our information line. Sometimes, they are plagued by a false sense of entitlement; others are truly in a desperate situation and have a genuine need that isn't being met. Their frustration becomes my frustration, either because I am exasperated with their behavior or overwhelmed with empathy.
When I feel like the next time the phone rings I might immolate myself, I take a break, breathe, and think about the ratio of successful calls vs. unsuccessful calls. I am comforted that the former is the majority.
We don't always have the power to please everyone. We should not expect when our intentions are good our actions will be appreciated. It is sad but true, and it behooves us to accept it gracefully. The more I think about this philosophy, the more I apply it to my life. It is never truer than when applied to motherhood.
As mothers, we have limits. We are limited by our support systems (or lack thereof), our relationships with family members, our access to resources, and... ourselves. While we should always strive to be the best we can be, we should also embrace our limitations- our humanity- and forgive ourselves for past, present, and future mistakes. Only when we do this are we truly doing our best.