To The Mom Who Worries She’s Not Doing Enough

By: , March 10th, 2016. Posted in: Happiness, Parenting

Sometimes the expectations of parenthood can mess with our heads.

Dear Friend,

I know you sometimes feel inadequate as a mom.

I’m talking about the days you wake up feeling as if you never slept.

The days you absolutely do not want to adult.

The days when parenting articles make you feel as though you’re messing up big time.

The days that a thrice-removed relation offers parenting advice which is really just them telling you you’re doing something wrong.

The days when you desperately need time to yourself, so you’re willing to let your child watch more cartoons than he should.

The days when you look around at all the other moms who seem to have it completely figured out.

The days when you feel guilty about not being a better parent.

I’ve been having that kind of week, which means I’ve been doubting myself at every turn.

I doubt that I’m putting enough effort into parenting.  I doubt that my kids are learning all the age appropriate things.  I doubt the consistency of my discipline.  I doubt that my love is enough.

We live in a world that moves fast.  There are so many expectations placed on us as parents, and so much conflicting information about which choices will be best for our children (and which choices will scar them for life). We’re expected to keep our kids safe, fed, and rested.  We’re supposed to nurture their curiosity, emotional intelligence, and common sense.  We have to instill a thirst for knowledge and a healthy fear of all the (real) dangers in the world.  We must teach them to be kind, polite, and responsible citizens.  In other words, we’re expected to do things perfectly, or suffer the scorn of our community, and the social consequences of a maladjusted child.

And it’s not just society which presses expectations upon parents.  Our children’s needs demand our best.  They need us to show them how to successfully balance work with family, and how to be a well-rounded adult by carving out time for ourselves and not giving up on our hobbies.  We are expected to be virtually superhuman at times, and then teach our kids that it’s okay to make mistakes.

If we’re a two parent household, we should show them what healthy romantic relationships look like by devoting ample time to our partners while displaying effective communication and appropriate amounts of affection.

If we are raising our kids as a single parent, we are showing them how to keep ourselves and our family together while literally doing it all.

It’s maddening.  And so, so unrealistic.

No human being can balance all of this perfectly, but perceptions are often different from reality.  We know that people post the Rated P (for perfect) version of their lives on social media.  Many people even carry this Rated P version to the face to face encounters like visiting with other moms at school or on the playground.  It gives the impression that they are, often effortlessly,  navigating parenthood better than they actually are.  And when you see these seemingly perfect parents, it reinforces the idea that you must be doing something wrong.

You’re not.

You are human.  You will have successes and failures.  You will keep trying, and keep succeeding, despite failures.  You are parenting.  You are enough.

Love, Chris

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