I am literally hyperventilating as I write this.
If your mind works anything like mine, you’ll understand. I started off the night by writing a blog post about how to teach the alphabet to your toddler. “This is great!” I thought to myself. “I get to tap into my teaching background and share all of the ideas I do with Nugget and Peanut——“
HOLD THE PHONE.
First, let me say I often struggle with guilt (is this a prerequisite for all moms?!). “Am I doing enough for baby #2, the way I did with baby #1?” “Is baby #1 feeling left out because of the time and attention I’m giving to baby #2?” “Have I taught them anything at all or do I have Cocomelon and Loo Loo Kids to thank?!”
Then that niggling little voice creeps in…
“Am I enough as a mother?”
Do I “do” enough as a mom?
Do we go enough places? Sometimes we don’t even leave the house. For days. (And when we do, sometimes it turns out to be a complete circus. Read about how to leave the house with 2 sweet potatoes to see what I mean.) Is that ok? Do we do enough play dates? Are we socializing enough? As an extroverted introvert (I don’t know if this is an actual label, it’s just how I feel), play dates can be challenging for me, depending on how I’m feeling that day. Will the girls grow up to be well-adjusted individuals or become hermits with only me and their father and each other as friends? And will it all be my fault?!
Do we do enough Pinterest activities? Play with enough sensory bins? Do I have enough toys and games and equipment? Have I exposed them to enough learning materials?
Do I teach them enough?
After all, I AM a teacher! And an early childhood one, at that! Am I providing the girls with enough building blocks to ensure their success in school? Has all of my training in pedagogy gone out the window, along with my brain cells and memory?! My mom friends who work outside the home tell me about the guilt they feel being away from their babies…can I share a secret?
Sometimes I feel guilty for the opposite! Would my children receive a richer experience in a daycare setting or with a nanny? Every day hasn’t been sunshine and roses since I’ve had the Nugget and the Peanut. There were days mommy struggled–HARD. On those days, we turned to Daniel Tiger and ice cream and lots of snuggles on the floor. Is that ok? There were days we didn’t read a single book. Or stayed in our jammies all day. Days we made it through by the skin of our teeth…is that ok??
Should I be doing Montessori stuff? Should we have a daily routine, like we would at school? Or should we be open and go with the flow and live spontaneously?
On the flip side…will I be putting too much pressure on my children BECAUSE I am a teacher? I want them to excel and succeed…but I don’t want to be a tiger mommy. Can they flourish while still having fun and enjoying their childhood?
Do I give them enough opportunities for physical activity?
I’m not going to lie…it can be hard with 2 under 2, depending on the age and the age difference. My girls are 15 months apart…so when Peanut was born, I was able to wear her and chase (sort of) Nugget around the playground. Fast forward to now…Nugget is 2 and Peanut is 11 months old…not walking yet but definitely mobile. It’s very hard taking them to playgrounds that aren’t specifically for younger children. Nugget wants to swing from the top of the slide (which is usually a gazillion feet off the ground). I can’t safely climb and chase after her while wearing her 22 lb. sister!
So…we often play on our indoor slide…and roll around on the dog’s bed…and jump on the couch…is this ok???
Am I “ruining” them in any way?
Do we allow too much screen time? Eat enough of a balanced diet? Get enough vitamin D? Should I be buying organic? Enroll them in more classes? Work harder at teaching them Thai? And the little Spanish I know? Hubs’ background is Polish so I should probably throw Polish into the mix too, right? Should we visit our grandpas and cousins more often? Or at least make an effort to video chat more? Should we have more friends?
Are they hitting their milestones ok? Are they too heavy? Too thin? Do they drink enough liquids? Are they scarred for life by being exposed to our disagreements?
Will my anxiety and worry and fear transfer over to them?
Am I enough as a mother?
Am I patient enough? I could probably work on that aspect of myself. More deep breaths and counting backwards? Am I happy enough? Will my sad days affect their happiness? Am I fun enough? Attentive enough? Sometimes I am guilty of being on my phone or focusing on chores. Speaking of chores, is my house clean enough? (I can answer that one: that’s a hard NO.) Am I present enough? Do I advocate and step in enough without turning into helicopter mom?
Whoaaaaaaa, girl. Steady. Deep breaths.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Motherhood is not meant to be “figured out” in a day either.
I think it’s safe to say that most moms are doing the best they can, at any given moment.
Motherhood is not perfect. Parenting is not perfect. Heck, life isn’t perfect! We live in a culture of perfection…but it’s all a mirage. The filters, the photoshopping, the unrealistic expectations…behind the pretty photos are meltdowns and tears and prayers and maybe a little swearing.
Do the best you can with what you have.
Maybe today’s best is not as good as yesterday’s best. That’s ok! Try again tomorrow. Life is made up of series of moments…not a single one. And not a single day. A really hard day doesn’t make you a failure or a bad mom.
Learn from others.
Take a cue from our children…be a sponge! Learn from others. Share ideas. See something cool someone else is doing? Try it out! Don’t be afraid to try something new.
Be gentle with yourself. And trust your instincts!
Self love, self care, self awareness. Recharge when you can and be proactive about it. Even if it’s one small thing like drinking a cup of coffee. Use only kind words when referring to yourself. Breathe. Let go of the guilt. You are your tiny person’s universe and all the things that stress you out most likely don’t matter one bit to them. Love yourself, Mama! It’s all going to be ok.
Chances are the things you already are doing are wonderful. Do what works for your child and for your family.
I’ll probably always ask myself if I am enough as a mother.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Maybe it will help me grow into a better, kinder, more patient version of myself. Maybe.
Until then, I’m telling myself that I’m doing my best for now and for now, that’s enough.
I am enough.
Do you ever have days when you don’t feel like you’re enough? What are your tips on how to change your mindset?