Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not good enough — especially you
If you’re a working mom, I really don’t need to ask you this question, but I’m going to do it anyway.
Have you ever opened your eyes and immediately felt frustrated with yourself?
I did today. And to be completely honest, it’s something that happens all too frequently.
I look at my body, and I notice a roll of fat that didn’t seem to be there yesterday.
I look in the mirror, and all I can focus on are the under eye wrinkles that have formed, ones that no expensive creams have managed to put a dent in.
I look at my career. I work so hard, so very hard, and nothing seems to be improving. I’ve made zero progress. Or at least that’s how I feel.
And as a mother, one of the things I often get most angry at myself for is taking time to work on my goals when my children need attention.
I feel guilty for telling them, “Mom needs a little more time to work, “or for saying, “Give me an hour, and I’ll cook dinner” when they’re yelling they’re hungry.
Yes, I know they’re really fine. They know they’re loved, and they know mom will take care of things.
She always does.
But it doesn’t stop the tinge of remorse that bleeds into whatever thing I’m doing in these “me” moments.
All my life, I’ve wanted to do it all. And I’m betting some of you fellow mothers want this for yourselves as well.
You want to succeed in your career, be a wife that never grows old, and be the perfect mom whose children adore her. All the time. Every day.
And you can’t. Neither can I.
It’s called being human.
And being human means having limits.
So that’s why I need to cut myself some slack. You do too. And here’s why.
You’re doing the best you can
Take off the Wonder Woman bracelets. The hidden “S” underneath your work clothes. You’re not a superhero. So why do you expect yourself to be one?
You get up.
Even on those days I described before, the ones where the self-loathing starts the minute your alarm clock goes off, you get up.
You put on your clothes. You get your children dressed. You throw yourself into a world that has likely never been so stressful, so full of fear, and so psychologically draining in your entire life.
You go to work. You get into your car and head to your job when all you want to do is turn around and hide under your covers.
Then you come home and help your children with their homework. You continue to read. To learn. To plug away at goals that seem so impossible, your brain tells you to quit — every single minute.
But you don’t stop, even when there’s still much more to do.
For example, you continue to find a way to buy groceries and pay the bills, even when the money isn’t there.
And when it is there, you use it to pay off your child’s braces or pay more on the mortgage or put money in the savings account for those unexpected emergencies life always seems to throw your way.
You do this month after month, even when every bone in your body wants to go on the trip or buy the expensive perfume that would give you the instant psychological boost your brain is begging for.
You need to realize that these things you do, these sacrifices you make, these actions you blow off as “the bare minimum,” are really accomplishments of significant proportion.
So give yourself some credit for the fact that you don’t give in. For the fact you don’t stop trying. For the fact you don’t surrender to stress, doubt, or the voices shouting in your head to run and hide.
Stop beating yourself up for the fact that you can’t be everything.
Yes, you can always do better. Be better.
But try to focus on the fact that today, somehow, you held it together. You checked the blocks. You got it done.
You make a difference
So many people depend on you for so many things. And you deliver.
Your boss looks to you to get the job done.
And you do.
Your children look to you to pay the bills, keep a roof over their heads, and help them whenever they need it.
And you do.
You may not be CEO. You may not be the one hundred and twenty-pound vixen that you dream of being. You may not have the success of fame or money that you long for.
But to someone, most likely many people, you make an extraordinary difference in their world.
You soothe your children’s broken hearts. You endure endless YouTube algebra videos to help them through the math class that’s tanking their grades.
You remind your coworkers of their value when they come into your office crying.
You let the mom with screaming kids ahead of you in the grocery line (God knows, you’ve been there).
So how in the world can you look back on these things and find yourself lacking?
You are more than worthy. You are amazing, regardless of your weight or wrinkles, or unwashed bedsheets.
You deserve your own kindness
You’re not a machine whose batteries automatically recharge.
So don’t treat yourself like one.
Put up some stop signs. Pin a “do not disturb” sign up when you pour your bath.
And most importantly, when you look at yourself in the mirror, tell the cruel voices on repeat to get out of your space.
Take another look in the mirror at your so-called flaws. Realize they’re beautiful signs of love.
The extra bags under your eyes?
They were made from late nights rocking your child to sleep or from staying up until midnight to help your child with the science project that magically slipped his mind until the day before it was due.
The extra weight around your middle?
It came from needing a burst of energy to keep going at work when you were tending to your sick child at 2 am. It came because you couldn’t resist one of the cupcakes you made with your child for their classroom party the next day.
It came from your attempt to keep going when every bone in your wanted to quit.
So really, really look hard at what you see in the mirror. Find the hero that is staring back at you. Because truly, honestly, that’s what you are.
The bottom line:
Actress Julianne Moore says, “It’s not difficult to take care of a child; it’s difficult to do anything else while taking care of a child.”
But you’re not only doing “anything else, “you’re doing so much more. And that’s what makes you special.
You’re being “mommy” and managing to be you at the same time. And don’t you dare sacrifice the “you” to be only “the mommy.”
You deserve more.
And I so, so hope you get it.