Am I Enough?
I’ve noticed a recurring theme on social media lately. Moms stating things like “I suck at this mom thing,” or “I’m failing as a mother!” or “I miss my life before children.”
Sadly, like many other mothers, I feel all of these emotions, too. I feel like I am not a good enough mother. I love my children, but so many times I do not love being a mother. Not too long ago, I expressed these concerns to my counselor. She asked me to tell her what it was about motherhood that I disliked.
It was not difficult to rattle off my list. The whining, the bickering, the tears, the constant neediness, sleepless nights, feeling unappreciated, receiving the blame for anything that goes wrong in any given day, the exhaustion, and so forth.
Her response was that she heard this frequently, especially from stay-at-home-mothers. Not to exclude working moms, because many of them feel they have the double burden of working outside the home and carrying all of those extra “mom” responsibilities. So many women feel like they lose themselves in the process, and do not feel like they are enough to be everything to everyone.
“But you… you have done an amazing job at really keeping ahold of yourself and making time for you in this process.” She said it with tone of admiration, but the words stung me. Maybe I have worked too much on keeping me, even to the detriment of my family?
She then asked me if I felt loved. “If love could fill a bucket, how full is yours?”
Surprisingly, this was difficult to answer. Tears welled up in my eyes. I didn’t know. Truthfully, my love bucket felt pretty empty. “I feel like I’m the one giving all the love, but I don’t always feel it in return.” And then the tears really started flowing.
“Do you think my children feel unloved as well? Am I enough? Am I giving them enough? What if I’m not good enough to do this job? What if I completely screw up my children in the process?”
My counselor assured me that children, more than anything else, love their mothers. The attitudes, the bickering, the whining and so forth were all signs that their attention buckets – or love buckets – needed filling too. I reflected on how the previous day quickly ratcheted up to a screaming, miserable battle between the children and me, and realized it all began when I sat down at the computer to work. As they continued to pester, my agitation rose, until yelling and tears ensued on both sides.
Then came the guilt. Followed quickly by a sense of failure.
My homework from my counselor that week was simple. “See what happens when you focus on filling their love bucket first.”
I’d like to say that was as easy as it sounds. I’m still working on it. But in the efforts I have made so far, I’ve seen a change. In my children, in my husband, and in me. My bucket is filling up, even if I’ve had to put aside a little of me to see this result.
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This post was written by Alexa Bigwarfe exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.