Are you enough?

Are you mama enough? {Clean.}

Sometimes you wonder.

After the hard days.

When you were not at your best.

You wonder, in secret, where no one will hear.


Am I mother enough?


Because you see them around you. Those other mothers. In your town and on your screen.






They parent with grace and with joy.


In the flow. Harmonious.

Children smiling and holding hands,

while your kids whine and fight.

And your baby cries.



And you question if you even know what you're doing.

Because if you did, the children wouldn't argue.

And the baby wouldn't cry.



So you must be doing it wrong.

Of course you're doing it wrong.

Are you mama enough? {Clean.}

And so you wonder.

And you doubt.


Am I wearing her enough?

Am I breastfeeding enough?

Should we co-sleep more?

But sometimes you're all touched out.


Am I patient enough?

Present enough?

Nurturing enough?

But sometimes you just need a damn break from it all.


Am I good enough?

Am I strong enough?

Am I enough?

And then, probably, you decide that you are not.


Because sometimes you yell.

You say words you regret.

Because you didn't babywear or breastfeed or co-sleep at all.

Because sometimes dinner comes from the drive-thru.

And they watch too much TV.

Because sometimes the thoughts in your head are dark and shameful.

Because every day ends with regret.


And all around you are those mamas who make you feel inadequate without even trying.

Those mothers with stardust in their eyes.

And when you look at them you measure yourself and you know what you suspected all along.

You are not enough.


Sometimes you curse this life you made and all the smallness that surrounds you.

But mostly you curse yourself for your shortcomings.

And then the baby cries.


Or your children set to arguing.



And you know you're right.

Of course you're right.

You're not enough.

Are you mama enough? {Clean.}

Oh, but sister. Hear me when I say:

You are.

You are good enough.

You are loving enough.

You are mother enough.

You are brilliantly, beautifully – yes! – the mama your children came here to find.

No, you aren't perfect.

But none of us are.


No one has it all dialed in.

We have all made mistakes.

Even the "Dali Mamas" around you.

Oh, yes. This I know is true.


And every day you are learning and growing and evolving.

You are becoming.

And you are their mama.

The one they came here for.


And for all of your flaws, they are sheltered by you.

They know love because your love is fierce.

And they learn to get up when they fall and try again by watching you.


And best of all, they know they don't have to be perfect to be enough.

What a gift that is.


And also know this:

As that mama who seems to have it together, I have never been more
humbled in my mothering than when I see you keep your head just above water as the rapids around you churn.

Yes, mama. I see you.

And I'm humbled.


Now it's time to see yourself.


So are you enough?

Hell yeah you are.


: : :

More inpsiration…

There is no label for what you do.

Stop comparing.

What I need.

Ten ways to rock your parenting, where ever you are.

What I did not know: reflections on motherhood.

And you can find more of my reflections on motherhood and imperfection here.

: : :

45 thoughts on “Are you enough?

  1. marissa says:

    Your finger rests on my pulse. I was saying to a friend just yesterday that I sometimes feel my youngest son was simply meant to be birthed to another Mother. That, because I am completely at my wits end, someone else would simply be much better Mom for him. And for his brother. Those feelings are dark, but then you wake up and start all over with sunshine and kisses and think, “hey! Maybe I’m the right one after all”. Thanks for the perspective and validation…always.

  2. Shari says:

    Talk about timing! I needed this so much this morning. It was a rough start to this morning and I was just not feeling “good enough”. I hate starting the day with angry words. Thank you for reminding me that we are good enough. That we are exactly what they need and we are not all perfect.

  3. Kelly says:

    When reading my favorite blogs by other moms I appreciate and love what they have to say, often finding sage advice and thoughtful words. However, I leave the computer feeling inadequate (we have a television, we don’t eat paleo, my kids play with legos and other plastic toys) and I would be far too intimidated to meet them. Fear of being judged? Feeling not good enough? Not wanting them to see my four kids squabble or say something inappropriate.
    But you? You, I wouldn’t mind meeting. Your post resonated with me because instead of feeling deflated I feel empowered: “Are you enough? Hell yeah you are.” Thank you.

  4. KC says:

    Oh Rachel, tears, you’ve brought me to tears. Your blog is changing from when I first started reading so many years ago and I like where it’s headed. Like a sister I never had, giving me advice and a hug. I hope a million mama’s read this post!

  5. Tracy says:

    This post has been read and reread, bookmarked, and forwarded several times. Thank you for being the voice inside my head that I needed.

  6. Jenn says:

    I can’t express how deeply these words spoke to me. I’ll be honest, I’m crying right now in echos of resonance. We mamas all know how true this is, and how powerful your gift to put it into words. How kind and generous that you share your gift with all of us.

  7. Angie says:

    I may be printing this one and hanging it on the wall. Why we do this to ourselves is beyond me. I think for myself it is because I love mothering so much and just want to be the best I can be. Sometimes I don’t meet up with my own expectations and I am the one beating myself up. No one else does that but me. So thanks Rachel – I AM ENOUGH…and I’m even willing to bet that sometimes (stressing the sometimes) I am MORE than enough.

    I’ll try that on for a mantra for a while 🙂

  8. Qalballah says:

    Love means never giving up on it, even when you’ve given up on your own self. So you dust yourself down and start again. And instead of instilling the need for perfection from our kids, we show them how to say ‘sorry’, how to pick yourself up, how to start again. We show them what love is all about by making mistakes and still trying to do it better. We give nothing better to our children than ourselves, and when push comes to shove, they know without a question of doubt that we would take on lions to save them. Forgiveness and love is bigger than all of us.

    Beautiful words here today xx

  9. Nahuatl Vargas says:

    I don’t compare myselfo to others that much, but to my own self, and from that I know I’m not being, doing enough. Maybe my comment contrast in a bad way with all th light you are trying to share, but that’s were I’m standing. Sad, angry, exahusted, and listeting to my son saying I hate you. Even when he is super loving, caring and mature 98% of the time. I know it not good to focus on the bad, but I think I need to attend that and fix it.

  10. Shannon says:

    Thanks for this on today of all days. Peed on, yelled at, broken birkenstock, spilled coffee……the list goes on. But hell yeah, this is the real deal and I am totally Mama enough.

    May the rest of my day go more smoothly, and if it doesn’t may I accept it with Grace, Wonder and Patience.

    Peace to you and your Family;)

  11. Shelsy Joseph says:

    This was my exact day yesterday. I had the exact same thought process and came to the same exact conclusion: “I am not good enough. I’m not enough. I was never cut out to be a mother in the first place.” No one told me that mothering would be so difficult ON ME. I am the biggest obstacle to my ability to mother. I would like to be calmly sitting on the bank and watching the river rush by, but until I figure out how to swim I appreciate the lifeline you are gripping and helping keep me up for another day. I really feel like you are cheering for me, even though we’ll never meet. Thank you.

  12. knitting mole says:

    Rachel, I love you. You’re wonderful and always seem to know what I need. But you make me cry at work a lot. 🙂

  13. Courtney says:

    This post makes me think of a favorite quote: “Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me.” ~Alice Walker

  14. Carolyn says:

    Thank you thank you thank you. I’m in tears right now to see my thoughts and fears mirrored so starkly on your page. Thank you for exactly the encouragement I needed today & honestly every day of late.

  15. jai says:

    This rocks! I am thankful that you are taking more time to talk about the not so ‘organic, happy filled bubble place.’ while I love seeing that fun stuff, it is balancing to see your real side too! thanks.

  16. Danielle says:

    How do you always know exactly when we need to hear this? Thank you for this. I am going to print this off and hang it in my house, so I can always remember that I am exactly who and what they need. Thank you for the beautiful, poetic reminder 🙂

  17. Rachel Wolf says:

    Attend to it yes, but see who you are most of the time as well. I have made a habit of apologizing when I screw up with my kids. And that’s a simple, healing step that will go so far to connect you after a hard day. Hugs.

  18. Karen says:

    I find myself always asking if i am enough, and my eldest is 23!
    Why do we question ourselves instead of just being in the here and now and accepting that we cannot be everything to everyone?

  19. Kimber says:

    This is one of the most profound and moving things I have ever read. I am in tears and wish every mother could post this on her mirror. Thank you for articulating so perfectly what mamas need to hear. <3

  20. Carolyn Fiset says:

    How many times I wondered the same thoughts but then look how wonderful you turned out. Often I wonder if I even came close to how great a mother you are to your kids yet you still seem to think that I am a good mom. So ease up on yourself. If you were always wonderful and kind and loving and patient, how would the kids ever learn to cope with the real world. So even your supposed imperfections are teaching them life skills that they need to survive. It is not about perfect for that is an unachievable goal. Besides perfect for one is not perfect for another. Love Mom

  21. Drea says:

    This is so very true, it is true about mothers and true about our culture in general. We all want to be someone else. We are our own worst critics, always eager to find fault in who we are. It is very liberating to accept yourself and to give empathy to yourself. We are all doing to best we can.

  22. Adrienne Lawlor says:

    It amazes me that what we are reticent (or downright terrified) to share as a mother is exactly what connects us, deep down, in our most vulnerable and real moments. There is a commonality among the parenting blog posts that resonate with me. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but it has to do with honesty, authenticity, “we belong to each other” and “we are all in this together” sense of common humanity. Many thanks for putting my experience into words, for all to see, ultimately resulting in feeling less alone.. What a gift. Xo

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