In the last week alone I have ordered food from the McDonald’s drive through window, paid for the food, and then driven off without it. I have taken the highway I can drive in my sleep in the wrong direction and had to go all the way to the airport to turn around. I have forgotten my husband’s phone number and consistently called my sons by the wrong names.

Yea, there’s been a whole lot of tired and a week or two of feeling lost as to how to ace this whole motherhood gig.

And then you know what happened? A friend told me the most wonderful thing. She said I’m not actually being graded. And some days just surviving is the greatest success. It felt like I’d shed a baby hippo’s weight worth of frazzled worry.

I looked around my upside down house with fresh eyes, took a deep breath, and decided that it was OK it didn’t look like The Nester’s. Since the Nester herself has three boys and deliciously confessed on twitter a while back that drive throughs were her salvation too when her kids were young. Tell me this doesn’t make you want to hug her!

Yup, turns out everyone who’s been there remembers what that kind of been-up-since-2am-would-willingly-barter-a-lifetime’s-worth-of-sports-nights-if-the-husband-will-agree-to-take-the-six-am-baby-rocking-shift is like.

It is profoundly comforting to know you’re not alone. Or crazy.

And when I asked, the reassurances came in thick and fast and were off the charts wonderful and oh so worth sharing. Because maybe you’re reading this at 2am and think you’re not going to make it. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you got to shower or use the bathroom alone. Maybe you haven’t had the energy to cook a real meal in months and you’re worried the only thing between your kids and scurvy is a Flintstones vitamin. Maybe you’re walking a fine line between laughter and the hot, ugly cry.

Maybe you think you’re failing at motherhood too.

Can I just look into your tired, tired eyes and say, you’re not. And sister, I’ve got the love notes from mamas the world over to prove it.

Take a deep breath, these are for you:

I remember just being grateful that Jesus appreciated my efforts – especially when the only real prayer time I could muster up most days was “Dear Jesus” which I’d mumble just before I fell asleep each night. ~Deidra

After the great bake sale brownie disaster of 2009, I buy store bought baked goods. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, I like to bring my food from afar! ~Lysa

My husband and I agreed when he was in school getting his master’s degree and we had small children at home that he should shoot for being a “B” student, rather than an “A” student. Being an “A” student at school would mean being a “B” or “C” husband and father. ~Melissa

Oh, we too have had hard seasons of pizza — And the Farmer Husband says pizza includes all the food groups, so it’s got to be good :) You’re all together and you’re all loving each other and that’s all that matters, sister… you’ll find clothes to wear and there’s always cereal to eat and we can all live on love. I so hear you. I so get it. ~Ann

People ask me all the time how I do it all – full time job, mama, wife, blogging, book club, etc. – my answer is always, my house is never clean. I am behind on laundry, my end tables are dusty and cheerios are on the floor. But right now, that doesn’t matter. What matters is how much I love my family and the people in my life. Because love and attention are way more important than a few dust bunnies. ~Jessica

Did you get all that? Because that kind of encouragement is worth floating around in till your fingers turn pruny! Thank you to everyone who chimed in on Facebook. You were just the thick slice of chocolate cake that’s the perfect flavor of comfort.

Want to serve up another? Tell us in the comments what you would tell yourself about motherhood if you could go back in time – ten years, ten days, or just ten minutes.

I, for one, would reassure myself that motherhood is never ever graded!

And if you haven’t yet, pick up a copy of my book Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom it’s the inside scoop on my story of discovering just exactly why we don’t grade motherhood and why chocolate cake is basically a life essential for moms in the trenches!

PS You can read the first three chapters for FREE over here.