No matter how well the day goes, there always comes a point where I have to fight down overwhelm at the sheer volume of all there is to do.
Sometimes this point comes at 8 in the evening, and sometimes it slams into me at 9:06 am.
There are dishes to wash, floors to sweep or vacuum, clothes to pick up, wash, dry, fold, or put away. There are meals to plan, prep, shop for, cook, and clean up from. There are beds to make, and light bulbs to replace, and car seats to wipe out, and mail to sort. And those are only the things. And, first-world technology-assisted things, in most cases, too.
Then there are the people.
There are people to feed, kiss, call, respond to, teach, dress, send cards to, hug, cheer on, and love.
The list is unending, daunting, and totally exhausting.
I’ve never met a mother who does not carry feelings of insufficiency on a regular basis. Even moms who are experienced, and emotionally healthy beings, battle the doubts that perhaps if she just did more, gave more, smiled more, or knew more, she would be able to be a better mother to her children.
Feelings of insufficiency comes from an expectation, whether the culture’s or our own, that we are supposed to be and do enough all by ourselves.
(And when I use the word “enough,” I simply mean juggling and executing all the tasks described at the top of the page.)
Most of us know this is a sham. And those of us who still try anyway realize sooner or later the cold hard truth: we simply can’t be enough.
The good news is, that’s just fine.
We aren’t meant to be “enough” on our own.
For starters, we need other people. We’re supposed to need other people. We are community-centric creatures for a reason. No matter how small it is, we do indeed need some kind of village. It could be tiny, and it could be huge. But we do need one. Spouses, parents, teachers, coaches, friends, mentors, counselors, therapists, doctors, nurses, neighbors, and babysitters all make up our “village.”
This village that we need also includes those we are mothering. From the toddler to the teen, we are not meant to be all or do all for them. The younger they are, the more we feel the weight of their needs, but as the months yield to years, the humans we are nurturing are meant to begin taking on their own responsibilities.
Their choices, their trajectories, and ultimately how they “turn out” does indeed begin with us, but it does not end with us. It ends with them. The sooner we embrace this fact, the sooner we can understand and appreciate that our children’s destinies are their own.
For the mama who knows God, you also know we desperately, urgently need Jesus. We need his love to live in our hearts on the days when our children seem intent on making every wrong choice imaginable. We need his strength when ours is nonexistent. We need his quiet whisper of communion when we feel incredibly, exhaustively alone, shipwrecked on the island of mothering.
We need his grace for own mistakes, our own loss of control, our own emotional pain, and our own imperfection.
It’s okay that we’re not “enough” in the sense of being able to do it all, because no one is, or is meant to be.
This is why we need Christ…he is the one who can make up what we miss. He is the one who can be enough for every single person in our life and sphere of influence when we just have nothing left to give.
You can rest your weary mama’s heart in the fact that Jesus himself is your identity. This means all he has is yours — his righteousness, his goodness, his grace, and his love. Your never-enough-ness is enough, because that’s all you are meant to do. Jesus fills in every gap, and satisfies every lack. Where we are not adequate, he provides abundantly.
There is peace to possess in knowing he will always be enough.