The picture of what a mother is “supposed” to be: Totally in control of her 2.5 kids, feeding them only locally-sourced, organic foods, always on time, always a size two, always perfectly coifed and always prepared with healthy snacks, a seasonally appropriate change of clothes and an educational activity that doesn’t involve any electronics whatsoever…
Juxtaposed against the reality that is me: Sometimes prepared, usually bathed and fully clothed, not always in total control of my four angels (who may or may not have had donuts and ice cream for dinner tonight because it’s Sunday) and always doing my best to be the best mother I can be…
Sometimes makes me feel like I’m not enough.
But I am.
And so are you.
First-time mommy, if your experience is at all like mine, the realization that the nurses really are going to let you take home a brand new baby without some sort of parenting license or at least a little professional supervision can be, well, earth-shattering. There really is nothing like those first few weeks, especially if your angel spends time in the NICU, or you’re a mom of multiples, or your new baby has health issues, or even if she’s an “easy” baby and being a mother feels like the simplest thing you’ve ever done, your first few nights with a newborn can open your eyes to more than just sleep deprivation. Figuring out how to change a diaper, warm a bottle, operate a breast pump, sterilize pacifiers and and get all four of your baby’s limbs successfully ensconced in a onesie without snapping his skin together with the fabric all while feeling like a beached whale who can’t sit down or stand up without something hurting can leave a mother wondering how there will ever be enough of her to go around. Don’t stress. Ask for help, and give yourself a break! You’re enough!
Single parent, your best really is good enough. I can’t imagine how you do it. You work, a lot. You are mom, and you are dad, and you are enough. You cook, you clean, you say bedtime prayers, you help with homework, you get the oil changed in the car, you take care of the discipline, you balance the budget, you mow the grass, you take out the trash, you attend every possible school function, you fix lunches and then you do the grocery shopping in your spare time. In my humble opinion, you’re not just enough, you’re a real life super hero!
Working mama of one or ten or four or none, you’ve got this, and you’re enough. I know the guilt that can sometimes creep in when you drop your baby off at daycare, or you miss a party at your angel’s school because you have an important meeting to attend, but you’re doing what’s best for your kiddos, and you’re enough. You somehow balance it all. You take care of the kids, your husband, the laundry, the errands and your job. You volunteer at your church, and you make your son a Captain America costume the night before the big party because, even though you’ve had his Ninja Turtle costume for three months, he changed his mind yesterday, and you can’t bear to break his heart even though it means you’ll be running on two hours of sleep by the time you get to your desk in the morning. You give of yourself until you don’t know if there’s anything left to give, and it’s enough!
Stay at home mom, if you’re like me, you’re home all day with toddlers, and it can sometimes feel like the never-ending day filled with a never-empty pile of laundry and screaming voices singing the song that never ends. Little children require constant care and supervision, and none of them is an exceptional conversationalist if you want to talk about something other than the ABCs and 123s, so days can get long. When I get into bed at night, I sometimes think back on all the things I did that day, knowing I literally never sat down (even to visit the ladies’ room), and I realize I accomplished absolutely nothing that won’t have to be done again in about 6 hours when it’s time to begin all over again, and I feel guilty that I didn’t check more off of my mile-long To Do list, but I have to remind myself… I. Am. Enough.
Mama-to-be, you’ll be enough, too. It’s impossible to anticipate all that you’ll experience as a mom, but you’ll be fine. You really will. It probably won’t go exactly as you picture it going, but in the end, you’ll find that however it turns out is just fine.
They’re three, and they’re not reading on a second grade level? Yeah. That’s ok. Read that ABC book for the 95th time and get excited about what they do know.
They aren’t potty trained yet? They’ll get there. (Seriously. At one point, I was firmly convinced that I would change my twin boys’ diapers right before they walked into the doors of their Kindergarten classes, but after lots of tears (mine and theirs) and more than a few bottles of Clorox, they finally figured it out! PRAISE THE LORD and pass the Paw Patrol briefs!
He only wants to eat chicken nuggets and French fries? For every single meal? Keep offering him other foods and move on with life.
She absolutely refuses to come when you call her because she’s “too busy” playing with her princesses? Be consistent with consequences and call it a day.
Celebrate the little wins and don’t let the opportunities for growth discourage you from trying again to help them write their names, or follow directions the first time or realize that no amount of whining is going to change the answer to their question of the moment.
Believe me. There are a million things I want my kids to do better. But, there are a million things about them I think they’re doing right, too. I’m still a very new mama, but I do know that His mercies are new every morning, so that means if I lost my cool and yelled at my kids today because they spilled a whole can of Sprite on my floor and then ran back and forth through the sticky mess into every room of my house, I can get up tomorrow and try again to be the calm, cool and collected mommy I strive to be in the face of the four hurricane-force winds also known as toddlers living under my roof.
Somehow I doubt I’m the only one who may at times forget to remember my accomplishments instead of remembering (yet again) that I forgot to get the clothes out of the washer and move them to the dryer.
I’m reminding myself today not to get so caught up in my desire for everythingtobeperfect that I let myself think imperfection is tantamount to failure. Sometimes, enough really is enough.
Happy Sunday. And, really. Stay tuned. I’ll have the conclusion to my previous post ready for you soon!