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Reflecting Upon Inadequacy, Life Balance, and Being Good Enough

I often ask myself if I’ve been good enough or if we have enough to make it through the day.

Was dinner good enough or did my lackluster cooking skills leave my children’s tummies begging for more? Did I do enough laundry? Is the bathroom clean enough? Did I put the kids to bed early enough? Do I have enough gasoline in my tank to run my errands this morning? Did I cook the turkey cutlets long enough? Is there enough chocolate in my pantry to help me survive until the kids’ bedtime?

I’ve had this mom gig for over five years now. Over time, I’ve learned that my old perfectionist ways just aren’t practical in this phase of my life. I currently hope to achieve everything being ‘good enough.’

I am coming off a long, introspective two weeks. During this time, I thought a lot about life, looked back at my childhood, and wondered about the future.

Introspective time: am I good enough?

I witnessed the joyous laughter of my children which makes my heart sing. I watched my exhausted husband as he worked through massive amounts of graduate school homework after the kids went to bed at night.

Most recently, I stood alongside my family as we said goodbye to a loved one, gone too soon.

Between the waves of emotion that go along with profound loss, I’ve been forced to take a step back to evaluate how my life is going.

It’s events like this that smack me in the face with the reality that we only get one chance to write our own story.

Death causes the kinds of questions I ask myself daily to shift in tone, at least temporarily, as I am put in a state of becoming hyper-aware of the circle of life.

The questions I am currently asking myself are more about how I can achieve life balance rather than fly by the seat of my pants. I’m tired of wondering if I am good enough.

Do I spend enough time with my children? Am I making a huge deal out of little things that aren’t worth battling over when it comes to them? What battles should I be picking with them? Am I teaching them what is truly important in life?

What about the time and attention I’m giving to my children individually? Do they both get the amount of attention each one needs?

Am I supporting my husband? Do I make adequate time for our marriage?

As far as my other relationships, am I checking in with my family? Nurturing my friendships?

Am I making enough time for myself? What about taking care of my body? What do my exercise and sleep habits look like?

When it comes to being good enough, I feel like I fall short in so many areas.

Not only do I fail to keep more than one room in my house clean at any given moment, but I also miss the mark on more important things.

Where is the balance in my life??

After answering all of the previous questions, it doesn’t appear that I have much figured out at all. In some areas, I am doing pretty well. In others I do enough, but in others, I am completely missing the mark.

How do I fix this?

Is this just a season of life that everyone (or at least every parent) goes through where you’re just trying to hold your head above water for years at a time? Do any of you parents ever feel like we’re attaining life balance? Do we ever even feel like we are good enough?

This is not the first time I’ve had this conversation with myself; I’ve been in this mental space before.

From past experience, I know that, for at least a little while, I’ll make the effort to be better.

Better for my kids, better for my husband, better for my family and friends. Maybe I can even be slightly better for myself.

Inevitably, I know I’ll return to dwelling on the fact that I can’t walk through my living room without being impaled by a Lego, the three loads of laundry I’m behind on, and the fact that I haven’t started cooking what I’d planned for dinner at 4:30 pm.

I’ll tear myself apart because I’ll feel that I haven’t done enough, that I am not being enough based on all the little things that probably don’t even matter. At which point, I’ll clean the living room until it looks like a page out of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, then feel guilty thinking I should’ve been spending more time playing with my kids or chatting with my husband instead.

I have attempted to find a solution in the last few days. However, I am coming to accept that I can only trust that the smiles on my kids’ faces mean that I’m doing something right.

I need to push through the feeling of inadequacy to live in the moment, unphased by the uncooked dinner and the unfinished laundry.

There is a desire in me to work towards having a better life balance as a mother and wife and focus on the truly important things in life. With some determination I can do this, one baby step at a time.

So I am going to start with gratitude. I will shift my focus from not knowing if I am being enough, to seeing the many wonderful people and opportunities I have in my life.

I want to be good enough for my family.

In the end, maybe I have more life balance than I think; maybe it’s just my picture of what it looks like in my head that is inaccurate.

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2 Responses to Reflecting Upon Inadequacy, Life Balance, and Being Good Enough

  1. Stefanie March 4, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    I love this article, very well said! I too struggle with the feelings of not “being enough” and so it is nice to hear it expressed from another Moms perspective. I think we are just too hard on ourselves as Moms and need to work on not sweating the small stuff. Our children aren’t as hard on us as we are on ourselves and ultimately they just want a Mom who is there for them and who they know loves them. Keep up the good work Mama!

    • Amanda
      Amanda March 13, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

      Thank you, Stefanie, for your kind words and for reading! You are right, of course. It can be so hard to remember at times that your kids don’t care about your shortcomings as much as you do. It’s good to take that step back sometimes. Thank you, again!

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