Mama, You Are Enough
Letting go of our unnecessary high mama standards.
Posted August 20, 2019
I recently took a trip to Ireland for a week and it has given me immense perspective on motherhood and parenting. I am in the process of releasing years of baggage, so for me, this is mind-blowing. I didn’t see moms who had all sorts of contraptions for their children, for their safety or enrichment. What I did see is parents talking to their children, walking with them, hand in hand, younger and older. I didn’t see an emphasis on a ton of extra-curricular activities but rather the time to unwind at the end of the day and time for holiday (i.e., vacation).
As parents, we have created a lifestyle and mindset where children are the center of our universe. Amy Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, states that there has to be a balance in our families where parents are at the top of the hierarchy and children are on the lower end of that hierarchy. When children gain that authority in a family, the balance is off and children become empowered and ultimately, anxious.
We establish our (daily, weekly, yearly) schedule around our children's preferences, and then consider our own at the very end. Most of the time, our preferences don’t make it to the table because our children will protest… loudly! With that said, we are sometimes surprised at how vocal and opinionated our children can be. Well, we gave them a voice and so they are using it.
We all struggle with the internal battle of “Am I doing enough for my children?” I struggle with that question too. Am I providing enough educational, cultural, social, family experiences to make my children well rounded enough? Then I started thinking, “Well rounded for what? College? Life?”
Live in the Now
Rather than constantly thinking about the future, I am choosing to live in the present with my children. I am going to enjoy the present moment and the joy it brings here, now, today.. but not tomorrow, when they’re in college or when they are adults. I know we all plan ahead, but sometimes, it’s okay to just be in the moment.
They Can Hear Our Thoughts
As an anxious parent, my anxious thoughts are forever flowing. I don’t verbalize them but I do hear my own thoughts being verbalized by my children. The “what if’s” and the “just to be sure” and “so we can be safe” thoughts are right there. I didn’t think it was possible, but our children hear our thoughts. With that said, I need to change my thoughts and create more positive ones, because if they are listening, they should hear the good thoughts ("I can do this. I can figure this out").
Give Up the Guilt
The guilt. Oodles and oodles of guilt. All.the.time. I know this is so very difficult, but let it go. I know you can’t do this all at once, but let it go slowly. You are not depriving your child. It’s okay if their peers are enrolling in a class or activity and your child isn’t. It’s okay that your children were on their screens while you used the time to work on professional or household tasks. It’s okay if you didn’t prepare an organic, vitamin-infused meal today. It’s okay if you have piles of laundry creating a path from the washing machine to the front door and back up to your bedroom. It’s just okay.
Spend Time, Not Money
As parents, we also don’t need to make up for our time spent away from our children (i.e., working, or a girl’s weekend) with big trips, ice cream, gifts or whatever other thing or place that results in an outpour of money. It’s okay if we don’t spend tons of time with our children daily. It’s okay if you work long hours, mama. Whether you are the primary breadwinner, or you want to have a professional life, that is your preference and it doesn’t make you less of a mom.
Set aside time to take a walk, make a craft, watch a movie, prepare dinner or whatever else you enjoying doing together. It can be small periods of time (15 or 30 minutes) and it doesn’t have to be life-changing. I’m finally realizing that my children remember the small trips to the mall or the conversations in the car more than the big events that I’ve planned for us. It’s our daily interactions, our conversations, our jokes, and our hugs that they remember.
Mamas everywhere, please say it with me, “I am enough.” Now say it every day, multiple times a day.
Morin, A (2017). 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do. William Morrow Publishing.