Candace Ganger

What Every Mom Really Means When She Says “I Got This”

On a typical day, I probably say the words "I got this" 70 million times. As a strong, independent woman who takes care of the kids, works, and could conquer the world in a 24-hour span, I do think "I got this." Or at least, I repeat the phrase to myself so not to completely breakdown, because maybe I don't "got this." Now that I think of it, what every mom really means when she says "I got this" isn't necessarily an accurate representation of her ability to handle anything and everything. If anything, it's a silent plea for help on some level. Why would we flat-out ask for help if we can try (even if we fail) to do it ourselves? No. Not my style, anyway.

In no way am I trying to be a martyr, though I can see how it seems that way. The truth is, most of the time I really do believe I can handle whatever's thrown at me, and generally I do handle things rather well. Some days are tough, though, and I'm sure most moms can relate. If my kids in need of something when I'm in the middle of a work-related deadline and the phone is ringing and and my partner's texting with pressing questions that need immediate answers, I have to be my own cheering section. If I don't "got this," who does? A lot of what needs done in and around my home can only happen through me, so calling for backup isn't always an option.

Motherhood, to me, feels like the final miles of a marathon. I've accomplished a lot, but it's still not the finish line where I can relax. So if I'm exhausted, doubting I can do it, I tell myself "I got this" to keep me going. With eyes forward and one foot in front of the other (so-to-speak), I somehow always cross that damn finish line, even when I wasn't sure I would or could. So, with that in mind, here's some of the times I say "I got this" to myself. We all need a little push every now and then, even if it's from ourselves.

"I Could Really Use Some Help But Don't Want To Ask"

Usually if I'm overheard saying "I got this," it's because I really, really need help but can't bring myself to ask for help. I don't know why, but I can't help but feel like asking for assistance is a sign of weakness. As if I'm supposed to do everything by myself, no matter how difficult or stressful. I know it's not supposed to be this way, which is why I'm working on asking for help when I know I can't possible do all the things at once. In the end reaching out for support sounds better than trying to do it all, failing at doing it all, then complaining about not being able to do it all.

"I'm Not Confident In My Ability"

I so want to be amazing at everything I try, but I haven't mastered the confidence part. Even if I know I can accomplish something — like running a marathon — I never feel confident I will. All the self-doubt creeps in and I feel as insecure as someone who's never been on a long-distance run before.

Motherhood feels so similar, because on the hard days I feel like I've failed on so many levels that it's simply impossible for me to "get" anything. How can I raise children if, for example, I can't even make an omelet right?

"What If I Fail?"

Fear of failure is the number one thing that both drives me and holds me back. Even when I think "I got this," I might hesitate because I don't want to fail. Who does, really? The trick is learning how to believe I can handle it, and while pushing the fear aside.

Yes, this is something I still need to practice.

"Other Moms Got This"

If other moms "got this," then why don't I? I ask myself this question a lot, essentially comparing my journey to those who aren't in remotely similar circumstances. I know that's unfair and unrealistic and unnecessary, but it's so hard not to look at someone and start judging how I stack up. I want to be the best mom, the best writer, the best runner, and the best everything and anything else I pursue. I see so many others who get through a day with such grace, I can't help but wonder why I'm struggling. When I say "I've got this," sometimes it's because it feels like I'm supposed to. After all, it's what other successful moms seem to be able to accomplish.

"I Don't Want To Look Incompetent"

Yes, while I usually say "I got this" to myself when no one is around, I also say "I got this" when people are watching. I don't want to fail or look like I don't know what I'm doing (even if I do). The pressure is too much. If I repeat the mantra, hopefully it'll sink in and give me enough time to actually do whatever it is I've set out to accomplish.

Actually, I can probably be overheard telling myself this aloud when I'm at mile 19 of a marathon. I can't just tap out; it's out of the question unless medically necessary. Instead, I focus on everyone's eyes on me until I believe I do "got this."

"I Can't Do This"

On the other side, sometimes when I'm mumbling "I got this" beneath my breath when I'm, say, carrying a 300 pound piece of furniture down the curved staircase (I did this a few weeks ago), because I want to be able to do it. But seriously — please help me. I don't got this. At all.

"I'll Figure It Out, I Guess"

What every mom means when she says "I got this," is really the shorter version of "I'll figure it out." I'd say mothers are pretty determined to figure it out their damn selves. If not for the sake of feeling accomplished, it's a pride thing.

Basically, unless I'm in obvious need, just let me be. I, like most badass moms, really do "got this" (however disheveled we appear). Whether it's potty training, writing a novel, or running a damn marathon. Trust.