Today my oldest told me that I don’t encourage her enough. That I’m just correcting her and not giving her praise when she does things like completing a chore. This was after I realized I haven’t spoken more than business transaction-like words to my husband and that my first grader is behind in reading. I broke down in tears because I felt like a failure. I couldn’t help but ask how all of the other moms do it or what was wrong with me that I couldn’t get it together and handle things. This is where the problem lies.
No matter who you ask or how you compare, you will never be mom enough. There will always be someone who is cleaner than you, craftier than you and thinner than you. You will never be mom “enough”. Because “enough” is an impossible goal to achieve. Enough is a bottomless but that never ends even though it is used to describe being sufficient and good. However, It is an illusion that is exhausting well meaning and hard working moms at an alarming rate.
Sometimes even our own children make us feel this way. “It’s not fair, someone else has this. Why do I have to do that? You never listen. I’m always in trouble.” Even the strongest of mothers feel a little beaten down and like they aren’t mom enough when they are faced with these words. It feels like a constant battle. An ongoing war 24/7.
I haven’t lost the extra weight I have been promising myself I would for years. There are socks are still sitting on a pile in my living room, waiting to be matched; this is day 3 now. I realized that I haven’t had one on mine time with any of my children in months when my 5th grader asked me to “help her with her homework” even tho she is excelling, just to get some attention. My friends have been begging for a girls night for months and I just don’t have the capacity for it. Self care, what’s that? My hair has a pretty little rats nest under this mom bun I’m rocking and I won’t admit how long it’s been since I’ve shaved. I let my 3 year old watch way too much screen time today. My 6 year old is crying for no reason and my husband has been feeling neglected lately. If I’m being honest he probably has been because he is the smallest fire to put out right now. My fire extinguisher is needed in other places. But even as I’m writing this I can see my mother in laws head shake in disappointment because her precious son deserves better than that. I’m not wife or daughter-in law enough either.
I am not “enough”. And I never will be. I will never have the satisfaction of being able to make everyone happy and have all of their needs met. I will never feel like it’s enough and I will never feel like I’m enough. Not if this is what “enough” is.
I know I am not alone. No one is enough, at least not by the standards that we have in front of us. No one has it all together. No one is perfect and there is not one mom out there who has perfectly happy people in her life, all of the time; because of her.
Here’s the deal tho, it’s not our job to make everyone happy! I don’t know where we got this as part of our job description but it’s ludicrous. It’s unrealistic and it’s completely unhealthy! If we teach this lesson to the females in our life, we are just continuing this vicious cycle of expectations. And if we let the males in our life believe this, we are doing them a disservice by letting them think others are responsible for their happiness. Happiness doesn’t come from anyone else.
This is the biggest cultural lie! The belief that other people and outside things are what will bring us happiness. And it is destroying women. The women that are able to change this expectation will be the ones who make it out As some resemblance of a whole human. We need to find a way to be happy with our successes as a mom and wife, but not to let it define us or how we feel about ourselves. Enough is a never enough.