I Am Not Enough

Okay. So, you’ve read the title but stay with me. I’ve come to terms with a truth and thought I would share it with you. When it comes to being a mom (and really everything else – wife, daughter, sister, friend…), I am not enough. Believe it or not, I do not mean that negatively but realistically.

Last week, I posted this on Facebook:

TWINS

The struggle is real, people. I have three children in sports and one who does a lot academically. They each have something going on at least a few times a week and without fail, all those places to be seem to fall in the same time slot. What’s a mom to do?

I’ve always admired those moms who seem to have it all together. Their kids are awesome and look great. They’re the moms who are at every event sitting there looking all put together and relaxed. I’m the mom that rushes in – usually late – and sits down agitated because as soon as this one is over, I have to rush to the next one.

I know exactly what you’re going to say, “Now Becky, we mustn’t compare ourselves to others. We never know what someone else is going through. Remember that you are doing better than you think.” First all, I’m not comparing myself to everyone else (for the most part), just making general observations. Secondly, I have to be doing better than I think because at this point I don’t think I could do much worse. Positive thinking, right?

Last night, I had a mom dilemma. I had to be in two places at once – LITERALLY (and I mean like the proper use of “literally”). I did my best to split my time and left my daughter’s softball game to take my son to pick up his Little League Uniform with the intentions of hustling my booty back to the softball field in time for Parent’s Night with my daughter. I rushed as quickly (with minimal speeding) as I could from picking up my son’s uniform but…

Yep. You guessed it. I was too late. My daughter took it all in stride but it broke my heart a little. I had to face the truth. I am not enough. How is it possible for a mom to be enough? The simple answer – we can’t.

After the kids went to bed, I did what any mature mom would do and sat down to cry for an hour or two over what a terrible mom I am. After the tear-well done run dry, I tried to put things in perspective. I came to the same conclusion: I am not enough. I am never going to be enough, HOWEVER, that’s okay.

On the way home from my epic failure, I had a hard time not letting a couple of tears fall. My 11 year old son was in the car with me. He asked me why I was upset. I explained that I was sad that I had missed something so important for his sister. That I was having a hard time being there for him and his siblings because I just can’t see to be everywhere at once. After a few beats of silence, he did the most amazing thing. He reached out and held my hand and we rode in silence that way for the rest of the way home. What a wonderful heart to know just what I needed. That made me realize that there must have been some moments where I was enough and was able to teach him or influence him to be such a sweet young man.

In those times when I can’t be enough, I need to lean on others for help. There is no shame in being a mom who needs help. If you are the Pinterest-cut-your-child’s-sandwiches-in-art-worthy-creations-mom, you’re awesome. You’ll get no Pinterest shamming from me. If you are the I-haven’t-showered-in-three-days-and-I-just-found-Cheerios-in-my-bra-but-I-don’t-remember-eating-Cheerios-mom, I think you are awesome too. Call me if you need a nap and I’ll do what I can to help and maybe even bring you something besides Cheerios to eat. If you’re somewhere in-between, excellent! If you’re like me and have those moments when you feel like an utter parental failure, you are not alone. Seriously. Ask for help. Lean on someone. Just know that no matter how perfect that well put-together mom who brings the awesome snacks for her kids and seems to have the patience of a saint is, she has meltdowns too. She even forgets important things AND she can’t be in two places at once either.

I am not perfect. She is not perfect. You are not perfect.

I’m not ALWAYS enough but SOMETIMES I am. So, I don’t know about you but I’m just going to work on being realistic. I’m going to cherish and relish those moments when I am enough and be thankful when they happen because what it all boils down to is I am so happy to be a mom. I have the most amazing children who make me laugh, make me smile, make me cringe, make me roll my eyes, make me cry, and make me so very grateful that they are mine. They are the absolute best thing I’ve ever done. They’re fabulous and I love them. The kicker is? They love me even though I’m not perfect.

I don’t have to be “enough”. I just have to be their mom.

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My Mom Owes Me

Today, I made an interesting discovery: my mom totally owes me. Earth shattering, right? I read through one of my old journals and was quite enlightened by my youthful observations. Now, I know my timing may seem a bit tacky with Mother’s Day coming up but bear with me. I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

My mother used to force me to eat HORRENDOUS THINGS. Horrendous food numero uno? Ham. (Say “ham” and add a gagging action to understand how I feel.) She made me try it baked, glazed, sliced, cold, hot, shredded, and even in some weird pickle-mixed sandwich spread. I. Gagged. Every. Time. I began to refuse to eat it. Unfortunately for me, the rule was you didn’t leave the table until you finished your food. I spent MANY long nights at that dinner table. (…and many long nights in the bathroom yacking up said ham concoctions…) My lone savior was the the potted plant/tree/thingy next to the dining room table. I quickly learned I could hide a bit of my food in it at a time until my plate was cleared. I would then try to sneak back, gather the food, and throw it away. There were times when I didn’t make it back to clean up the evidence. My mom never said anything but after a short time, the plant/tree/thingy disappeared.

200

When Mom says we’re having ham for dinner…again.

Mom (and ham) = 1

Me = 0

Plant/tree/thingy = Rest in peace

At times, my mom was down right mean. There was this one time I wanted to go to the movies with my cousin but didn’t want to bring my pesky little sister along (sorry Nat…[bats eyelashes] I love you…). My mom told me if I went then I had to take Natalie. I may have told Nat that there wasn’t enough money for both of us, got in the car, picked up my cousin, and then went to the movies with the intention of getting back BEFORE my mom got home to figure it out. Want to know what my mom had the nerve to do?! When the movie got out, I got to the car, went to open the door and had the fright of my life! My mom was sitting in the driver’s seat not looking all that thrilled to be there. I guess when she said I had to take my sister, she actually meant it. I may or may not have been grounded for a span of time after. A bonus lesson was learned; I now NEVER get in my car without making sure there isn’t someone inside. (I swear the woman took 10 years off my life!!!)

Mom = 1

Me = 0

Natalie = right to go to any movie she wanted to from there on out [I’m sticking my tongue out at you right now.]

Beyond that, my mom ALWAYS thought she knew what was best for me but she was way off base. I remember when I told her about a boy who I knew was the one for me. (I was only 16, but seriously, I had it all figured out.)

46798-Mom-I-Love-Him-So-Much

Spot on…except I was 16.

She was all “You’re too young”, “You need to try all the flavors before you decide on your favorite” (I swear to you, she actually said that…scout’s honor…never mind that I’m not a scout.), and “This isn’t real love. Just a crush.” I mean, really, what did she know, right? I knew when we would get married, how many kids we’d have, what they’d be named, how rich we’d be, and that we’d live happily every after. Just because he started dating someone else a month after she told me all that does not mean she had it figured out. I totally decided I didn’t want him anymore before he decided he to go out with someone else. She just *sniff* didn’t get it, *sniff* you know?

Mom = 1

Becky = 0

My first crush = totally potbellied and balding…not really but it would make a better story.

Believe me. There are soooooooo many more instances like this. So I realized my mom totally owes me.

She OWES ME the opportunity to say “thank you”. Like the time when I was little, fell down, and scrubbed up my hands. Never mind the fact that I was running around even after I had been told to stop and then tripped and fell like she said I would and then slid on the cement carport like a MLB player trying to get safely home. I never had to call her name. One second, I was eating sand and in the next she was there with a washcloth and band aid at the ready. Those soothing words and soft touches have never left me and I realized that amid my cries I never uttered a “thank you”.

She OWES ME the opportunity to say “I need you”. It seems like I spent most of my younger years pushing her away – always assuming I knew what was best. I would roll my eyes at her trying to take care of me. I was independent and strong. As no stranger to pain and heartbreak, I knew where my two feet were. I knew how to stand. I knew how to do it alone. Yet in those dark moments when the pain was too great, when I was utterly lost, or didn’t know who I could talk to, she was there. No sound needed to be uttered on my part, she just…knew. Many times words weren’t needed. A mother’s embrace is the universal balm to any child’s soul – no matter how old. I may be 40, but Mom, I need you…so much.

She OWES ME the opportunity to say “I love you”. So many times when we argued or when I accused her of being wrong she never left me with out telling me she loved me. How dare she! What a way to suck the mad out of someone. She made sure there was NEVER any doubt where my place was – in her heart. Those hugs and the power behind her sentiments have brought me back to the surface more times than I can count. I realized that between my temper and pride there were times I didn’t say “I love you” back. I guess, I’m trying to say I love you more than I can say…does that make sense?

If I took an actual tally, there is no way I would be able to get an accurate count of how many things my mother has given me. I’ll admit it; I’m a very selfish, self-centered individual. Sadly, it has taken me this many years and having four of my own kids to truly realize the sacrifices my mother made (and still makes) for me. It has taken me living across the country for 17 years to realize how much her closeness means to me. If you can, take the opportunity to see what your mom “owes” you. If your mom has passed on, I’m so very sorry. But, if it makes you feel any better, I’m positive she is on the other side listening every time you whisper how much you love and miss her. She’s there still supporting you and cheering you on.

I’m lucky. Mine is still within reach. So, if you’ll excuse me, it looks like I have a debt to collect.

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