To My Children, I Am Enough

by Diana Spalding
Originally Published: 
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To my children, I am enough.

Every day, I worry that I am not enough. Not a good enough mom, a good enough wife, a good enough friend, or a good enough business owner. It’s not hard to feel that way. I have three kids under 5, a laundry pile that quite literally touches the ceiling, an email box that is overflowing with unanswered messages, and a bin full of empty takeout containers highlighting the fact that I do not cook a lot of meals.

It is really easy to get discouraged by all this, to start to embody the feeling of not enough. But then I look at my kids. My happy, silly kids, who look up at me with such joy and love in their faces that it can actually take my breath away. And I think, maybe I am actually enough.

My preschooler.

Sometimes I am self-conscious about how I look; my clothes are old and certainly not trendy, I haven’t cut my hair in months, and my nails…yikes. But I watch you spend hours delightedly trying on my clothes and shoes, and when you look at your reflection in the mirror, all dressed up, you smile and say, “I look pretty like Mama.” To you, I am beautiful enough.

Sometimes I worry that I’ve become a little boring. I don’t have exciting stories to tell about recent adventures. But when I visited your school to talk to your class about sea turtles, you looked like you would burst with pride as you introduced me to your classmates. To you, I am interesting enough.

My toddler.

Sometimes I think I’m not tough enough. Maybe I’ve lost a little of my spunk or edge. But when I stood up to the swim teacher who wanted to dunk you under the water, I felt you relax in my arms as she rolled her eyes but walked away. To you, I am hero enough.

Sometimes I wish I understood more. You are pretty high needs, and it’s hard to provide you with the consistent discipline and structure that the books and experts tell me I should. But I see through your tantrums and outbursts. I see the gentleness, love, and intelligence shining through stronger every day, perhaps because I really do understand what you need after all. To you, I am guidance enough.

My baby.

Sometimes I feel guilty that we had our babies so close in age to each other and that I can’t give you the same attention that I gave the older two. Not to mention that everything you own is a hand-me-down—everything. But when I slip one of those used onesies over your head and tickle your tummy, you giggle with pure, simple happiness. To you, our family is just what it should be, our family is enough.

Sometimes I wish that my body looked like it used to before motherhood, like I could just lose that last bit of baby weight. But no matter what is going on around us, the moment you nuzzle up into my neck, your eyelids flutter closed, your breathing slows, and you fall peacefully asleep. To you, I am home.

The days are far from perfect here. There’s stress and worry, messes and tears, tantrums and Cheerios for dinner—again. But maybe that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s not because I’m not a good enough mom, wife, or friend. I look at my kids swinging their feet and laughing as they eat those Cheerios, and I know that to my children, I am enough.

And mama, so are you.

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