At least a dozen or more times a year, I see articles of varying phrases but similar points floating through my social media feed. The underlying theme is to not beat yourself up when you can't get it all done the way you wanted to, because "being Mom is enough."
The first few thousand times I read these articles I felt relief. Finally! Someone understands! Then I kept reading them, and the sense of understanding switched from giving myself a break once in a while, to just being okay with the mediocre. The kids are alive, and that's all anyone can expect of a stay-at-home-mom, right? Keep on keepin' on, and don't beat yourself up when you're all having Cheerios for dinner. Again.
Okay...but...really? The more I read these sentiments, the more bothered I became. Sometimes just being "enough" isn't enough.
Working from home definitely has it's perks and bonuses, but it's no walk in the park, either. Children, home, and my personal life are constantly beckoning for me, needing my immediate attention. My phone calls or video conference meetings rarely happen without me having to get up to change a diaper, calm a crying child, or refill the goldfish crackers. Multi-tasking takes on a whole new meaning when you're feeding a baby, taking notes, and trying to create a marketing plan while not tripping over the mounds of unfolded laundry.
I've said before that physical clutter gives me mental clutter. If my home is in disarray, so is my mind, which means I can't focus or function until the clutter is cleared. It's not because I'm anal about being clean, or I'm trying to impress others with any white-glove tendencies. It's because my brain shuts down if I don't pick up the toys or do the dishes. When those things can't get done, nothing else gets done, either.
Clean gives me calm, and calm gives me creativity, and creativity gets me cash. I have to have an orderly home.
Little Miss has a terrible time picking up by herself, but she loves to help if we're doing the same thing. I can unload the dishwasher with her, pick up toys from the floor with her, and even fold laundry with her. Not only are we being productive, but she's learning a lot about how to keep up after herself, and the importance of a clean, comfortable living space.
There are plenty of days where they only thing I accomplish is getting spit up on, stirring the cheese powder into the hot macaroni noodles, and praying for my husband to come home from work ten minutes earlier. Those are the days where I'm "enough". Sometimes no matter what I do, or how much I plan otherwise, those days just happen. And so long as it isn't every day, I can accept that.
There are weeks I've spent my entire Saturday working, in an effort to make up the hours I couldn't be productive in work during the week. Being only enough to keep the family fed and clothed cost me a day to spend care-free with all of them on the weekend.
There are times (only one time, I swear) when the laundry doesn't get washed, let alone folded, and the wife might have had to wear a pair of her husband's briefs because she had no clean underwear in the entire house. Only being "enough" doesn't get the underwear washed. That's something I don't want to have to experience again.
There are times we've made it through the entire day before I look up and realize I still have to feed everyone dinner, and I have nothing prepared and no brain cells left to think of something to cook. That's when the take out comes in, or the pizza gets ordered. Lately that's been happening more often than I'd care for, and my husband's and my waistlines are certainly paying the price. I lost so much weight after Little Man was born and felt so good about it - I don't want to gain it all back because I could only be "enough".
I can't make every day magic. I'm not under the illusion (see what I did there?) that every day will be awesome and I can be Mommy, Wifey, and Employee perfectly at every turn. There are crap days. There are days where the unexpected rips the world from right underneath you. There are days you have to wear your husband's underwear. But I don't want those days to be the standard. I don't want to look back and say, "At least I got up and fed everybody today."
I want to know I did everything in my power to be everything I wanted to be. I set out to get work done and gave that project my absolute all. I sat down to write the best article I could think of. I cooked a tasty meal for my family that will have positive bearing on our waistline and our overall health, for that matter. I washed and folded the daggum laundry, so we all had appropriate clothing to wear. I got up and read my Bible and said a prayer that was something other than, "Please God, let them go to sleep...." I want to close every day knowing I did my best, on purpose, for a purpose.
Sometimes being enough is all we can manage. But it shouldn't be all we strive for.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a very important meeting with a Little Man who needs some pureed squash...