I want to let you in on a little secret. I never feel like I’m enough and I know that I am not alone in feeling this way. Before you jump and wonder how I could be saying this, I want to explain.
Let’s start with my family. Yesterday I went to two soccer games for Max and went to Girl Scouts with Lillie. I was so excited to try snowshoeing with her and her troop. I planned the event and thought it would be a fun outdoor activity for the girls. I do try so hard to please the girls but as you probably can guess, 11 girls have very different interests of what they all want to do.
We had the perfect winter day, and I was so excited. It was sunny and snowy and beautiful out. For me to say that you know that it was a really nice day because I don’t like the winter. It was 44 degrees out and some of the girls, the other moms and I, all enjoyed it and had a great time. My daughter was at the end of the line complaining that she was tired and wanted to know when she would be done. In the car she told me she thought we were doing something like sledding and that it was really just a hike. I tried. I’m always trying. It wasn’t a good enough activity for her, and she wanted to know why we can’t take the troop ice skating or roller skating instead of something like snowshoeing. Sigh! Hopefully some of the girls liked it.
My daughter Ella stayed home the whole day and I was feeling really badly about that. I was busy with soccer and girl scouts, and she didn’t want to come to any of it. I felt like I was totally neglecting her as she chilled at home all day. I knew she wanted to get out of the house. I reassured myself that she was excited to get her hair done the next day and that I would definitely do something fun with her tomorrow. I fall into the I’m not enough trap and then I have to reassure myself that I would do enough the next day.
I have three children and I find it very hard to give them all enough attention and to make sure they are all happy. I have enough trouble trying to give myself a social life of any kind. Getting the three of them enough socialization is a very hard task. I would like for them to take over that job. As much as I want Max and Ella to make their own plans, I see that they aren’t doing it, and I need to regularly make it happen for them.
We run Max, Ella and Lillie to multiple activities all week long. We help them with their homework. Am I giving them enough attention? Am I having quality time with all three of them? Am I feeding them healthy food? How is their mental health? I take being a mom very seriously and am really trying to succeed every single day. There are so many factors to parenting and am I doing enough? Yesterday I would say I did well for Max and Lillie. That means today I better focus more on Ella.
Moving on to my marriage. My love. I’m always going to be authentic and real with you and I just left the house being really cranky with my husband. I’m sorry honey. I will go text him an apology as I sit here with Ella. I realize I was taking something out on him. I love him so much. I chose a wonderful man and every day I feel blessed to be married to him. Am I doing enough for my marriage? When was our last date? I didn’t kiss him before I left the house. Am I giving him enough affection and attention? Does he feel important to me? Does he feel last on my list? Am I doing enough for my marriage? I ask myself this question regularly.
What about our parents? We have all six parents in town. Covid has made it much more challenging to see them. Our parents are much more cautious than we are, and we completely understand that. The nice weather makes it much easier to get together with them. Are we spending enough time with them? No. Are they getting our love and attention? Do they know that they are important to us?
I think about my friends too. Am I giving them enough attention? Am I getting together with my friends? Do they know that they are important to me? Am I doing enough? When is the last time I made friend plans for myself? I really try to make plans when the kids are in school. I have a very flexible schedule. It is much more challenging with my friends who work all day and need to get together at night. My nights tend to be mommy taxi services and I am okay with that. I want to do that for my kids. One day I will miss it. My nighttime plans are not hopping these days. They are spent driving in the car.
What about my diet? Am I eating well? Am I planning out my meals? Do I have enough food, or do I have to go back to the store? I could have spent $350 at our grocery store and my son will still tell me we don’t have any food. Is there ever enough food in the house? Am I ever eating good enough? I’ve started looking at food labels better. I was slacking a little. I will drive myself crazy, but I want to feed my kids better ingredients.
Do I even want to mention my house? As I just told my husband, my goal is to do at least one load of laundry a day. You know that with five people in the house that probably isn’t enough. The sink is always full of dishes. Yes, I said always. I cleared out the sink yesterday and giggled as my husband and son put more dishes in the sink. I walked down the stairs this morning and my eyes started catching stuff all over the kitchen that I need to clean up.
When my son was young, I never went to bed without feeling the house was clean to my standards. When I had my daughter, that went out the window. I was too tired with two kids and then with three kids my standards continued to lower. My house is lived in. I have three kids, three pets. and a husband. We live here. It will never be clean enough. I don’t think I have ever said that the house was clean enough for me lately. That has to do with my declutter mission that I don’t have time for. Slowly but surely, I am getting rid of things. I just got rid of ten bags of clothes. I still have to tackle tons of toys. I remind myself that one day my kids won’t live with me, and my house will be clean, and I will miss them like crazy.
Did I mention the pet hair? If you have pets, you understand what I am about to say. The amount of pet hair in my house is crazy. I vacuumed Saturday and couldn’t believe all the hair I picked up. Every day I clean up pet hair. Am I brushing my pets? No. Am I taking good enough care of them? Am I giving them enough attention?
As Ella gets her hair done, I am sitting here working. I squeeze in my work around my family. That is my goal. I am thankful to have a job that I can do part time and be flexible with. That is the kind of job I desire in my life right now. Do I have enough podcasts recorded? Is my blog good enough? Am I posting enough? I have so much swirling in my head that I could be doing. On my Saturday night date with Seth, I was talking to him about the group ideas I have. Talking to him about work is so fun. He has a marketing business, and he is full of amazing ideas for me. Am I working enough? Am I making enough money?
Do you know that I am President of my daughter’s middle school PTA? My kids are off this week so I’m really putting work and PTA aside this week. I have a PTA list waiting for me when they go back to school. Am I forgetting anything? Am I doing enough? I have lots of balls in the air and as you can tell I am doing my best to be an amazing juggler.
A therapist told me balance is a verb. It is an action word that we work on every day. My husband, my kids, our parents, our friends, our work, our social life, activities, volunteer work…. Every day we can evaluate our days and how we think it is going? Do we feel like enough? No. Why not? What is lacking? What area are we lacking in? Are our days aligned with our values?
Am I doing enough?
- My husband – it doesn’t take big things. Little things all day add up. A kiss. A smile. A hug. A date sometimes helps too.
- My kids – it takes 10-15 minutes to make each of my children feel important. If I don’t think I am spending enough time with one of them I can fix it. If I think they need socialization I can help them plan that.
- Our parents – this is tough right now. I can do whatever I can to spend time with them in ways that they are comfortable with. I would definitely like to see my parents more often.
- Our friends – if I’m missing someone – make some plans. Send a text. Make a phone call. Take action.
- Food and exercise – Fit in a little exercise every day. Shop for healthy ingredients. Think through my meals.
- Work – what needs to get done every day. Plan it out.
- PTA – I don’t have to do it all. I have to remember this. Make the lists. Recruit help.
- Girl Scouts – get the girls input and plan out an activity a month. It’s good enough!
- My house – clean a little every day and have realistic standards.
- The list goes on and on. We are women, hear us roar and watch us juggle.
So, there you have it. The lists that go off in my head daily. One day I may feel like I gave my marriage enough attention but that I forgot to get some work done. One day I may give my kids enough attention, but the house is a disaster. I have turned to my husband when he was upset with me and I have said to him, “I’m just not good enough.” Sometimes it comes out. I try. I try every day. I’m only one person and I can only do so much. I think I have to remember that balance is a verb to work on every day. I think I have to remember to give myself grace. Every day I can tell myself that, “I am enough.” Every day you can tell yourself that, “You are enough.” It will never all get done. That is something that has helped me. When I’m telling myself that I’m not enough, I can sit back and evaluate why I’m feeling that way. What area of my life do I need to work on? I think one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned recently is that if my days align with my values that I will feel better about myself and my days.
Cheers to moms and all that we juggle every day. I can promise you and I that we really are enough!
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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