I had a terrible day today. Parents out there, you know the kind I mean. The two year old on the floor of the supermarket. The four year old pees in her pants. That is a three-second slice of time. The three-seconds in which you stand in line for bread. The three-seconds in which childless people glare at you. I’m not beyond judgement. We are in Project Human together. But I am in the habit of practicing self-kindness. And here’s the thread that tied my human life to my writing life today. As my day fell apart around my knees and my patterns of self-criticism came tumbling into the cracks I saw clearly how the same forces topple my best writing efforts. Let me explain. The kids need me to pick them up off the floor. To change the wet pants for clean ones. The people who stare. They’re irrelevant. I’m not hostile to them. They’re just irrelevant to what’s going on for the two small bodies and me. My writing life is messy too. It needs me to pick up the pieces when things fall apart. And the people who don’t get it? Irrelevant. Not problematic — just unimportant to the work me and my writing are doing that day. Self-kindness has a wishy-washy sound to it. But it’s fierce stuff. Mothering too can have a soft glow brushed onto it. But it’s heroic. Self-kindness is like that. It’s small, everyday actions. It’s the humility to get the job done. And the wisdom to overlook the glare of the uninitiated.