I keep falling into the same trap. I can hear my husband singing “Never Enough,” to me as I type this. If you haven’t seen The Greatest Showman go watch it and listen to the song “Never Enough.” It’s so good and it’s also become a silly anthem in my house that my husband Seth thinks is funny to sing at me when I annoy him asking for something.
I just got home from Girl Scouts. I planned some afternoon fun for Lillie and her Brownie troop. They decorated rocks (an activity our town is promoting), put the rocks out in the park, did a fun get to know you activity, and then ran to play on the playground. It was so good to see them. After Girl Scouts we even went with a couple of Lillie’s friends for frozen yogurt. Before Girl Scouts Lillie went to tumbling with her friends and Max had soccer. My family has a lot going on. It should feel like enough. Should is the key word here.
I sit down to post pictures on Social Media from Girl Scouts for all the parents of the troop so they can see what their girls were up to. As I scrolled through Facebook, I saw everyone out at farms. People were apple picking, riding ponies, and getting their Fall season started. My mind started to wander to think about if we had enough time to go run to a farm. Yes, I really did have that thought and I yelled at myself as soon as I thought it. I blow my own mind sometimes. “Slow down,” are the words going off in my head. I love the ideas that I get from Facebook to do with my family. That doesn’t mean that I have to go run and do it as soon as I see the good idea! I need to store the good idea for another day.
I look over and see my husband reclined on the chair watching the Buffalo Bills football game. “You need to give Seth time to relax,” I told myself! Lillie ran upstairs to her room to relax after tumbling and Girl Scouts. Ella ran to her room to talk to a friend on the phone. How could I possibly think that I could do more today? Do I know how to stop? I don’t want to forget to add that my friend invited me to a yoga class this morning that I really wanted to go to. How much do I really think I can fit in a day, and do I know how to slow down?
When everything was shut down, I really embraced slowing down. I loved that there was no where to go. I loved that everything was cancelled. I loved that I felt myself relaxing and learning how to slow down. I loved the slower paced life. My husband was craving to go back to work but not me. I wasn’t craving anything. My car was parked in the garage and I didn’t have to go anywhere. I really enjoyed that time period. I needed it and was embracing it completely. I did miss people. I missed our parents and our friends, and I missed hugs. However, I really learned how to slow down and enjoy it.
Here I sit back in overdrive. I am wondering how I got back to this point. Part of the problem is me. Part of the problem is Lillie. Part of the problem is Seth. Ella is the only one who doesn’t push for more. She is perfectly content with her few days at her theater, and if we make her go to Hebrew school she will, and she decided to continue Girl Scouts (I thought she was done and then I convinced her that she needed the social connection). Max doesn’t really ask for much either. Max and Ella are pretty easy.
Lillie loves to do everything. She is only seven and she is still finding herself. Right now, she is doing theater, dance, tumbling, Girl Scouts and Hebrew School (if there is Hebrew School this year). Her friends are also signing up for a cheer tumbling class that she is begging me to do. She really wants to do cheerleading. Can we get rid of everything else and just do cheerleading? I need to learn the word NO! It is very hard for me to say no to prosocial activities. I make myself crazy by not saying no. Is it ever enough for my little one? She is a lot like her mama. My friend helps me drive her thankfully. I hope my friend reads this so she can see how thankful I am for her. I can’t be in three places at once. I’m thankful for my friend and for Seth helping me drive these kids everywhere. It’s a good thing I like my new car. No more minivan and at least I’m cruising through town in my new SUV.
Let’s talk about Seth and soccer. He cracks me up. He sees Max’s fabulous potential as a soccer goalkeeper, and he loves to watch him play. Currently he has Max on an Olympic development team and a travel soccer team. We are also going to make Max play on his school soccer team because we think playing for your school is very important for many reasons. Does Seth ever think Max is playing enough soccer? When he gets a scholarship for soccer, we will have Seth to thank for that. He is committed and he causes our soccer schedule to explode. I can’t complain because I want Max off the computer and being physical. If any other team calls Max to fill in as their goalkeeper (and they do call), Seth always says yes. He certainly keeps Max busy.
You have an idea of my brain being in overdrive right now. I am trying to live in a world of thankfulness and gratitude. It is very hard to stay stressed when you are feeling thankful. I am not complaining. I am so thankful that my kids have activities to go to. They need to get out of the house and to be with other kids.
Seth is still in the recliner watching the Bills game as I type this. I started to daydream about having people over to watch the Bills game. Do I think the days need to be jam packed full from start to finish? Did I lose my ability to relax? “Just be happy with what you did do today,” I scold myself. Why are you even sitting here thinking that you should have invited people over for the football game? Seth later told me some important information. First, he told me he wanted to watch the football game alone to chill out by himself. He also told me that he can’t go, go, go the entire weekend. He told me that I have to give him time over the weekend to relax and regroup for the next work week. He loves what he does all week at work, but he can’t be in overdrive seven days a week. This was a good talk for us to have. I really took it all in and I will work on giving Seth (and myself) more down time.
We have a beautiful house. It is four bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and is a good size for our family. We also love our beautiful backyard. When I found this house, the backyard was part of the draw for me. As I stood in the backyard with the former owner and his dog, I could picture my family back there. I knew it had good energy and I could envision the play set that we promised the kids we would get them when we moved. As I look out into my backyard, I see the beautiful play set, trampoline, trees and hammock. We also have a table and a patio swing back there. I still love my backyard. I can stay in a place of total gratitude for our current house.
When we were stuck home for many months, I started to daydream about getting a pool and a hot tub. My parents have a pool and it has always been enough for me. This year it hasn’t felt like enough. I brought friends to their pool a couple of times. I decided I wanted one in my own backyard and I started doing research. I wanted to be able to invite friends over every day. I know, I am crazy! We have established this. If you have learned anything about my husband in this blog, you probably realize that he won’t want people over in his pool every single day. I am exaggerating. I won’t have people over every day if I get a pool, but it would definitely be easier to invite their friends to my backyard vs. my parent’s backyard. My parents are so kind and giving and always welcome us to their home and their pool. They always welcome our friends too. I feel badly imposing on them, but I know that they don’t mind.
I started hearing from people how low the interest rates are for homes right now and I started to look for houses. I am going to guess that Seth is perfectly content. He doesn’t have an office in our house. Lillie doesn’t love how small her bedroom is. I want to remodel my bathroom and make it my dream bathroom. However, I know how blessed we are, and we could live here forever. I really do love our house.
Seth, my smart financial planner started to crunch the numbers to moving. He started to see that a much more expensive house was not a very big mortgage payment. He started to think less about putting a pool in and more to moving to a house with a pool. We found a house, but it was already sold. I recently found another house but totally chickened out. Can I move my kids? I love my street. I love my location. Am I going to fix up my current house? Can I move my kids to different schools? My anxiety got the best of me and I didn’t call my realtor to show us this house. I forgot to mention that a sale on the home is pending anyway. Seth tells me I have to get serious. If I want to move, I have to jump on a house if I see it. Is my house enough? Do I want to move to a house with a pool? Is it ever enough for me? Why am I always striving for more? Seth would tell you that we aren’t in our dream home. Seth would tell you that he envisions a third home. We have had an apartment and two houses together. We are guessing a third house may be in our future. Don’t worry friends. We aren’t going anywhere so fast and if we do it won’t be very far. We are just discussing our options. I have had a couple friends tell me that when their parents made them move as children it left emotional scars. That definitely didn’t excite me to move! I have put out to the universe that if we are supposed to move that the right house will come to us.
Seth and I were walking Tanner and we saw a family painting their pink brick white. It looked amazing. We don’t love the pinkish bricks on our house. They were painting the same color brick that is on our house. Seth always wanted a gray house so guess what color we are going to paint our house? We are going to paint the outside of our house gray. We even went and got a sample today and tested it on the house. We loved it. I started to get excited and started to think about what color I wanted to paint the front door and the garage door. I told Seth that next was the red brick in the family room followed by the ugly dark paneling. “Slow down,” Seth exclaimed at Home Depot. “I want to paint it all,” I told him. Is it ever enough for me? I just get excited with new ideas and new possibilities. Whether I was staying in my house or not, I was going to make it look better. I could turn this house into more of what I want, or I could go find it. That is my current dilemma.
Let’s start back when I met Seth. If my child comes home and tells me that they just met, “The one for them” I can’t really say anything. I will tell them to be cautious. I will tell them to date a while before they get married. However, I would have married Seth after our first date. I couldn’t wait to start my life with Seth. I knew that he was the one for me after the first date. Seth wanted to be married for a few years before we had children. Who was he kidding? My maternal instincts have been in full gear since my brother was born when I was three-and-a-half years old. I love babies and I loved helping with my brother and babysitting other kids in the neighborhood. I was about to turn 30 and he wasn’t going to convince me to wait to have children. I wanted my birthday present to be being pregnant and I got my wish. Seth couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just relax and be married. I told him he needed to do the math with a 30 year old wife who wanted three or four children. Thankfully he has always been amused with me. I definitely pushed him into having Max before he was “ready”.
I didn’t have to push him to have Ella. He loved having a son and he also really wanted a daddy’s girl. I got pregnant sooner than expected with Ella and he got his daddy’s girl. I didn’t have to push him into that one.
Seth was so content with two children. He had a son and a daughter, and he was done. He couldn’t understand why that wasn’t enough for me. I knew in my heart I wanted more children. Two children felt like such a small number to me. I was very thankful for Max and Ella. They are wonderful children and I am so blessed that they are my kids. As a child I envisioned two boys and two girls, and I was still thinking about this dream. Seth knew that I wanted another child and he spent a great deal of time convincing me why I was wrong. I did accidentally get pregnant with Lillie. I was planning to have a May baby and was accidentally seven months early and ended up having Lillie in October. I would like to warn all of you that once your body knows how to get pregnant it is very easy to get pregnant again. In retrospect I wish I would have had my tubes tied when I had my c section with Lillie, but I wasn’t sure that I was done. It had felt so permanent at the time.
I had my three children and I didn’t have the heart to push Seth for more. I knew three was enough. I knew three was a good compromise. I knew that a fourth c section was very scary to me. I didn’t want to risk my health. I wanted to be here for the husband and three babies that I have. Three was enough.
Let’s move on to our pets. Our elderly cats died, and I instantly wanted new kittens. My way of grieving is to fill the void. Seth’s way of grieving is to sit with his grief and just allow himself to feel the emotions. I couldn’t handle Max’s grief and I went out and fostered two kittens for him.
We adopted these two little fur balls Faith and Joy, and then I pushed for our puppy. I had always wanted a puppy. Seth had never wanted a puppy. I convinced him that it was the perfect time cause the kittens were so young and not set in their ways. I don’t think he was very keen on the idea but thankfully Tanner has become his best friend and he is in love with his puppy.
Sometimes I feel bad for Tanner. I wish the cats played with him more. My head drifts off to wondering if I should adopt a doggy friend for him. What is wrong with me? I hear “It’s never enough” going off in my head. I hear, “Just be happy with what you have.” I have a wonderful husband, three fabulous kids, three loveable pets, a beautiful house and a new car. My life is enough for me. I feel so blessed and thankful every day.
However, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that I always have new goals. I have new personal, professional, parenting and marital goals all the time. I am always striving to do better. I am a first born hardworking, perfectionist and overachiever. Is that really a bad thing? I don’t think it is. I think Seth thinks it’s never enough for me. I think it is enough. I think I am enough. I think that my life is fabulous. I also think it’s okay to have goals. I don’t want to be stagnant either. If painting the house excites me, lets do it. If putting a pool in sounds fabulous to me and we can afford it, lets do it. If we want to take the kids to Universal Studios again and its safe to do so, let’s do it (not yet).
How can I be in daily gratitude and also be achieving more? I think that is possible. I talk to moms all the time and hear their dreams. It is wonderful to have dreams. This mom that I am thinking of lives in a townhouse and is so happy there. She told me she wants to live in a simplistic way. She isn’t dreaming of moving her family to a house. She is, however, dreaming about opening a store. We all have dreams. You may be super content with your beautiful backyard without a pool. You may think having a pool is the last thing you want to do. We all have different dreams.
Seth, I know that you are going to read this. I want to tell you that you are enough. You are all that I dreamed of in a husband. Our children are blessings. Our pets are blessings. Our house and cars are blessings. It is all more than enough for me. I am completely and totally happy. It is enough. You are enough. I’m sorry if the way that I communicate has ever had you question that. I am so thankful that you have provided so well for our family and continue to do so. I am ecstatic that I am able to contribute once again and help us with the finances. We have a great life. It’s more than enough. I also can’t promise that I will never have dreams. I dream of flying to Italy one day with you. I dream of taking our family to see the Eiffel Tower (a Lillie dream). The dreams will continue. This will never mean that I am not happy.
What are my takeaways to share with you:
- I can be careful with how I communicate to my husband. I know he takes it personally if he thinks he is not providing enough. He totally is! We have a wonderful life. I need to say “I’m perfectly content in our current house. I could live here forever. Moving is not a necessity. A pool is not a necessity. These are luxuries that we could choose or not choose to do.” I know he wants to give me everything that I want. I also want to make sure that I worry about what he wants!
- Keep myself in check. I tend to have high expectations. I have been working on lowering my expectations of myself, my husband, my kids, my friends…..
- It is okay to dream. If it’s something that you really want to go after, make a plan to be able to achieve it.
- Live in a state of gratitude. Look around and remember daily everything that you are thankful for. It’s a great way to start and end your day. Journaling everything you are thankful for is a great way to do this. I tend to end my day with a prayer giving thanks for my loved ones and our health, safety and happiness. I end every night in a state of gratitude.
- Keep the lines of communication open with your family. I’m learning to communicate very clearly and calmly. We may not all have the same desires and it’s important to learn to compromise. It’s also good to check in on what everyone’s goals and dreams are. My daughter Ella dreams of being on Broadway one day.
- Remember that you are always modeling for your children. If they see you want, want, wanting all the time, they are going to model that behavior. It’s good to teach them to have personal and professional goals. It’s also good to teach them to be in a state of gratitude.
- Make sure your spouse and your children are getting down time. I tend to overschedule my husband and my kids. Everyone needs down time to unwind. Seth made this clear last night that I really need to make sure that he gets down time every weekend. I’m happy that he is communicating his needs.
So, I will end with saying that it is enough. Everything is enough. My life is wonderful and is more than enough for me. I will continue to have dreams and I will also continue to be in a state of gratitude. I am a both kind of girl.
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R