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.
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?
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.
Oh, but sister. Hear me when I say:
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?
Heck yes you are.
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And you can find more of my reflections on motherhood and imperfection here.
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Originally published in 2013