As moms we tend to strive to be “great” at parenting and try everything to be the best mom we can possibly be. But there are days when great is a stretch, and we are hanging on by threds just trying to get by.
Or at least, I am often hanging by threads, in full survival mode, just wishing it were bedtime. And then feeling guilty that I wished the day away and like I didn’t live up to my potential as a mom.
Sometimes those days turn into weeks and in the midst of the mom struggle I find myself mulling over a question in my head.
Am I good enough?
Forget being a great mom—sometimes I feel wonder if my efforts, my actions, and my reactions to situations are enough, just enough.
Am I good enough of a mom?
Like when I realize it’s the third day in a row my toddler hasn’t had a vegetable with her meals. Not that she didn’t eat them, but that I didn’t give her one. Because in my disorganized state of “mom being” I can’t figure out way to actively be in the moment and also plan 15 minutes ahead of time to have dinner prepared before she is ready to eat.
Or because my dinner choices are primarily frozen foods.
Am I good enough for her if I feed her waffles for dinner, or if her lunch is the same mediocre spread every day?
That feeling often came when I browsed Pinterest looking for baby meal ideas. Everything that popped up was how to grow your own food and then chop and dice and stew and steam and tada!- you’ve made enough baby food for a month.
And I got exhausted just looking at the pictures. Am I good enough if this is what other moms do?
The Blessing & Curse of Social Media
Modern motherhood is a beautiful and wonderful thing. There are communities of mamas online who I can relate to, that share their stories and tips and make the journey a little easier. Technology can be great as a mom.
But it can also leave us wondering if we are enough.
The image of the modern mom I see on Instagram and Pinterest is a stunningly beautiful, meticulously dressed, and perfectly posed picture in a clutter free home. I love to see those pictures because they are inspiring and motivating and what I want for myself as a modern mom.
But then other times I find myself engaging in comparison and self-critique- am I good enough compared to them?
And honestly, sometimes I feel like maybe I am not enough. Maybe you feel the same.
It’s usually around that time, when I’m feeling that way, that someone steps in to redirect my attention. It might be a little hand on my shoulder as I crouch to clean up the toys. As I turn, little chubby arms engulf me pulling my face in close for a kiss. As my 16-month-old lays her head on my shoulder, and then realizes she is close to my back and demands a piggy-back ride, I too realize something.
Whatever the internet’s definition of a modern mom is, that doesn’t matter to my daughter. In that moment, she is showing me she loves me in the best way she knows how.
Being there with her is enough.
She doesn’t need fancy meals as long as her nutritional needs are being met. She doesn’t need to be offered a Pinterest-worthy seasonal craft if she is perfectly content drawing in the tub with a bath crayon. She just wants me to be there with her, and to shower her with love.
That I can do.
That I do—and I have a feeling, so do you.
It’s time that we stop wondering if we are good enough, and realize that no, we aren’t good enough.
Rather, we are MORE than enough.
We moms pour ourselves into the lives and needs of our children. We give our time, our energy, our compassion, and way more of our patience than we ever thought we could, into making sure our kids are happy, healthy, and loved.
We often cast our needs aside and forget about the importance of self-care, because we are so focused on the needs of others.
On those days of doubt, we count the number of things we did wrong, or failed at, or forgot to do. We reflect on how we reacted too harshly to a behavior and question whether or not we are providing enough of a learning environment for our babies. And so the scales tip, and tip, and tip some more, weighed down with the frustrations and the failures of each new day.
But we never seem to count the other side of the scale.
We forget to count the times our toddlers copy our expressions because they want to be just like Mom. We ignore the fact that when they fall down, they reach their arms out to us because we are the only thing that they need to feel better.
In our counting, we leave out the number of times they said “Mama” even though they said it just to earn our praise and attention.
At the end of the day, it isn’t the things we struggled with that defines who we are as mothers.
It’s who our children think we are. And to them, we are more than enough.
It’s time we stop comparing ourselves to others, wondering how we rank compared to them.
Motherhood isn’t a competition. And in truth, we don’t actually know how that other mom we are comparing ourselves to feels. Maybe we are all just trying our best to figure out motherhood as it comes.
I know I am.