Saturday, July 22, 2017

Am I Mom Enough?

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Remember that TIME magazine cover from a few years back – the one with the model-quality mama breastfeeding her tall-for-his-age toddler that got everyone in a tizzy? “Are you mom enough?” shouted the cover.

I’d like to say that TIME was solely responsible for scores of otherwise confident mothers second-guessing themselves, but I can’t. Because otherwise confident mothers were already second-guessing themselves and probably will be until the end of time.

Here’s something to think about… most mothers don’t need any reminder that they might not be ‘mom enough’ because most are already questioning nearly every decision they make from sun up to sun down.

We are constantly beating ourselves up over minutia, and too often feel like we’re getting judged by outsiders, too, thanks to social media. Whether or not a mama has asked herself those four charged words, she has probably wondered if she measures up as a mom. A wife. A mom friend. A professional. In every area of her life.

If you’re like most mothers, you have obsessed over feeding and sleeping and discipline – both the right way and the wrong way and then wondering if the methods you’ve cobbled together because they work for your kids are as good as what the experts recommend. And through it all you probably have this just-won't-go-away feeling that you ought to be doing more.

More babywearing. More peaceful parenting. More sleep training or more cosleeping. More nurturing. More enrichment.

Or as kids get older, more volunteering in your kids’ classrooms. More home cooking. More enrichment activities (yes, still) and family outings and sit-down dinners.

The message is that to measure up you need to do more and be more and sacrifice more. Always more, making it impossible to ever feel like you’re mom enough. I know that feeling, having felt it near continuously since I was pregnant with P.

And I still feel it eight years later, even though I know that realistically I am enough. I have to be and so I am. And chances are, so are you. It’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re keeping up. In the end, who are you keeping up with?

Me? Your best mom friend? The mom bloggers who are doing all those picture-perfect activities and getting paid on top of it? If you love your kids and keep them safe and warm and fed, if you teach them to be good people and to make the world a better place, I guarantee you that you are enough.

I may not be the best mom – and who is, right – but I can try my best to be the mama my children need. The only way I can do that is by tossing out the entire idea that there’s one perfect way to be a mother. After all, if I’m trying to prove to myself how good of a mother I am, I won’t have the time or energy left to actually be that good mom. But if I focus on my kids and being there for them the question of whether I am mom enough will have already answered itself.

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