When you’re just not enough

About a year ago, my sister was consoling me about a particularly challenging phase of motherhood that I was in the midst of.  She recounted a story from earlier in the day when her 3 year-old was importuning her for some attention.  Lisa, in the midst of mothering her other 3 children and running her household, reminded her little one that she had worked hard to spend some one-on-one time with her earlier that morning.  In response, her sweet and fiery three-year-old shot back “Well, it wasn’t enough!”

I don’t know about you, but I definitely underestimated the number of days when my parenting would be met with that kind of response.  I didn’t realize how, delivered at a particularly vulnerable time, comments like that could knock me to my worn-out mothering knees.

Yesterday was one of those days and as I wallowed in my deficit, I realized that I’m dealing with a recurring tendency: I measure my stature or success based on the needs or perspective of someone else.  Now, with motherhood, I appreciate the honest feedback because I’m working to create a dialogue here.   But at the end of the day, I will always come up short if I measure myself against anything other than what I have.  Did I spend the time that I reasonably could?  Did I offer love and connection when it was needful?  Was I attentive when I could be?  Did I muster up patience when I felt like the tank was empty?  Those are probably the more reasonable benchmarks to use and with that in mind, I did just fine.  I bet you did too :).




2 thoughts on “When you’re just not enough

  1. In recent weeks, I have chanted the phrase “it’s enough” to myself when I get overwhelmed. This summer (with me being more exhausted than usual), there has been so much I have cut out and just not done. And, surprisingly, our household has somehow done just fine. In some ways, we’ve done even better than usual because I’ve stepped aside and prayed for the Lord’s strength as never before. He has amazed me with some of the ways He’s filled in the gaps and taken care of things (like helping me organize my meal planning more efficiently so I don’t have to go to the store as frequently). I truly believe that God accepts our efforts (as humble as they are most of the time) generously and graciously. Whatever I offer to my children or anyone else will always be limited and at times seemingly inadequate for what the situation calls for, but somehow God’s grace makes it “enough”. So glad you’re back to writing, friend! Looking forward to catching up soon. xoxo

  2. This was beautiful. Thank you. I loved these thoughts and as always, I appreciate your perspective and experiences. I’m not entirely sure where the idea of wholeheartedly embracing a limited offering and it’s something I’m still trying to do with regularity.

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