If you follow me on social media, you probably think my life is pretty perfect. Yesterday, for example, I had a clean house, worked from home, snuggled with my teething toddler, made a Pinterest-worthy birthday cake, and cooked dinner for eight people. But while I may look like I "have it all," I'm barely hanging on. I feel less like a "supermom" and more like a mom who doesn't do enough. Ever.
As long as my kids are fed, happy, and wearing weather-appropriate clothing, I'm doing enough as a mom, right? Well, if that's the case I can tell you that it certainly doesn't feel that way. I know I don't spend enough "quality" time with my kids, my house is never perfect, I'm way behind on laundry, and so many of my DIY projects go unfinished or don't turn out the way I envisioned. I don't get enough exercise, weigh more than I did before I got pregnant with my youngest, and I know I will never fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans. And, honestly, there are days when my only accomplishment is snuggling with my youngest. I know there's so much more I could be doing. I know that maybe, if I tried just a little harder, I could do more.
I also know that, realistically, I can't sustain a faster pace for any extended period of time, and I already have a lot on my plate. But being realistic is hard when you're as tired as I am. What I guess I'm trying to say is that I'm in desperate need of a "you're enough" pep talk, before I completely burn out trying to do more than I really need to. Thankfully, I know there are more than a few things I would say to my BFF if she was having a similar crisis of confidence. So for me, and for all the other moms out there who feel like they aren't doing enough, here are some undeniable truths to remember when the going gets tough and we know it would be unhealthy for us to get tougher.
Every single day I am bombarded by a seemingly endless chorus of, "Mom, I need...," and, "Honey, could you...," and the toddler screaming like a velociraptor because I'm not holding him every second of every minute. So, yes, most days I simply feel inadequate. I'd honestly just like to hear "good job" once in a while.
"Your Kids Don’t Care"
I guarantee you that your kids don't care if you nailed your latest Pinterest project, or if your house is perfectly clean. They love when you make frozen pizza or get take-out for dinner. They will never know all of the things you sacrifice to make their lives run smoothly. They will rarely say "thank you" but, to them, you are enough just the way you are.
"You Don't Have To Be Perfect To Be A Good Mom"
You don't have to be a perfect mom. You just don't. In fact, that "perfect mom" doesn't exist, so you have to stop comparing yourself to other people who appear flaw-free. It's not healthy to measure yourself against the person you used to be, either. My former self had time and energy to work full-time, exercise, cook elaborate meals, and actually keep her house clean. She also wasn't as sleep-deprived, busy, depressed, exhausted, sick, or as sore as present-day me. I've changed, and my expectations need to change, too.
"Time For A Reality Check"
A recent study commissioned by Welch's found that moms work the equivalent of 2.5 full time jobs... for free. In other news, water is wet.
If that's not some cold hard proof that you are doing enough, I don't know what is. You likely do more than your child-free self ever did, more than your partner currently does, and way more than you or anyone else gives you credit for.
"Burn Out Is Real"
Motherhood is a 24-hour job, with no pay. We aren't allotted designated breaks, we don't get sick days, we can't really take vacations, and we work hard every day at our jobs, at our home, at the store, and in the car, all so we can keep everything running smoothly. It seems like the only thing we don't do enough of is take care of ourselves.
You're not only doing enough, you're probably too much. If you don't slow down, and find time for self-care, you are going to burn out.
"It's Time To Figure Out What Really Matters"
Something’s gotta give, and you can't be everything to everyone. At some point you have to decide if you would rather have a clean house, happy kids, or your health, because I'm pretty sure you can't have everything all the time and at such an overwhelming capacity. It's time to do some soul-searching, make a to-do list, and then tear off all but the top three items.
"You Are Your Kid’s Favorite Person"
If you ever doubt that you are enough, take a look at your kid's face when you walk in the room, or while you snuggle with them, or when you kiss them goodnight. You are their favorite person on the planet, and you know them better than anyone else.
"Wouldn’t You Rather Sleep?"
Girl, go to bed! Sleep if you can! Let your partner handle putting the kids to bed while you lock yourself in your bedroom and do whatever it takes to get some damn sleep. I don't want to see you cleaning at 1:00 a.m. again. I mean it. Sleep.
"You Are Enough"
Just the other day, I listed all of the things I accomplished before 9:00 a.m. It was a pretty long list, and I didn't even include the things that came afterwards, between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. (and again when I woke up with the toddler at 3:00 a.m.). That exercise made me realize how much I do on a daily basis. I had empirical evidence that I definitely do enough. And you do, too. You are enough, even if you don't think you are, and you deserve to hear it every single day.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.