The world of motherhood has done two things to me. It has broken me down, and it has shown me who I really am. I’m not speaking in negative terms—I’m speaking in honest terms.
I’ve been a mother for just over eight years, which also means I’ve been on a path of self-discovery for an equal amount of time, and what I’ve found is the last thing I thought I’d find.
Ever since I stepped into the mold of a mother, everything has been heavier. Everything. My heart, my tears, my thoughts, my pain, my happiness, my guilt, all of my emotions, all of my limbs. Everything. Each step I take is a weighted shuffle of the feet, desiring to go in two different directions, tripping over one another, indecisive, and heavy. It’s a lot to carry. It’s heavier than I thought it would be. It has been unexpected, and it has been difficult.
I brought two human beings into the world and never felt more unprepared for anything in all my life. I was sure I could do an amazing job, but now, I’m not so sure. I’m not sure I’m building the childhood for my kids that they deserve. In fact, I know I’m not.
They deserve more. They deserve everything I didn’t have. They deserve structure, proper discipline, and fruits and vegetables at every meal—even if they refuse them, they deserve the option. Many times, I slack at giving the option. They deserve a mother who can whip up a home-cooked meal from scratch. But this mother, their mother, is not that mother.
I’m at a place in my life where I’m focusing on my passion and my career, and yes, the guilt is eating me alive. My youngest is 4, and I’ve convinced myself once before that he needs me to stay home with him, before I quickly realized that I’m miserable in that role. I don’t do well staying at home because I need to be moving, creating, chasing my passions, and cultivating something more than just these beautiful children.
I feel like I should be crucified for admitting that. I must be a bad person and, for sure, a bad mother. Aren’t my children enough? Don’t they provide me enough happiness to stop chasing all the other dreams I have?
My children are enough. They’re more than enough. In fact, they’re so beautiful, and magical and more than I ever imagined they’d be that I can’t believe I still want more out of life. They fuel me and motivate me.
They are life.
And I’m tormented.
On my eight-and-a-half-year journey of self discovery, of being broken down and shown who I really am, I found out something about myself—the heaviest, most honest discovery a woman—a mother—could make. I was more unprepared for this than motherhood itself.
I am not enough.
I’ve been telling myself that I’m not doing enough, giving enough, being enough for my own children. And therefore, I’m not worthy because they deserve more; I don’t deserve them. I’ve been a self-deprecating mess who has convinced herself that she’s undeserving of this beautiful life and to want more is a sin.
The reality is, I have not been doing enough, giving enough, or being enough to myself. I’ve been treating myself as if I don’t deserve to have it all, as if there’s shame in being and feeling so blessed that I must punish myself with massive heaps of guilt for feeling unsettled, and like there’s more I need to accomplish.
My heart is not at home with my children; my heart lives inside my children. I can’t keep punishing myself for wanting more. I can’t look down on the woman whose body created life. I can’t tell that mother she doesn’t deserve her children whom she’d die for in a heartbeat.
I must tell that woman, You are enough! You’re more than enough. You are so deserving.
Because I am.
It’s OK that I don’t cook every meal from scratch (OK, no meals from scratch). It’s OK that I’m inconsistent with my discipline because sometimes I just can’t deal. And it’s OK that the structure in my house is stable and won’t fall apart if we don’t brush our teeth on Friday nights. There’s love—more love than we know what to do with and enough love for my children to give and receive it tenfold.
I am entering a new journey in motherhood, and in this new journey, I plan to make another incredible discovery—one that is so great that it will be just as unexpected. But this time it will put me back together, the way I deserved all along.
That I am enough.