We are all doing the best that we can, but it is so easy to feel like we are not doing enough or doing it well enough, no matter how hard we try.
And yet we try.
We try to do it all, because we are ambitious and driven, because we care deeply about what we do, because we want what's best for our kids, and we want to make the world a better place while we're at it.
But we also try because it's what we've been conditioned to do.
We've been conditioned to dream big and work hard, yes, but we've also been told, especially as women and in a particular way as moms, that we're not enough.
And so we beat ourselves up.
We beat ourselves up for every missed dance recital or each time we have to leave work early. We beat ourselves up for the store bought valentines cards and the cookies we didn't have a chance to bake. We beat ourselves up for brushing our kids off because we were working on a deadline, or for losing our patience and yelling at them after asking them to put their shoes on for the tenth time.
We fail to live up to our own standards on a daily basis, not always realizing how those standards have been shaped culturally and are likely unattainable.
We can run ourselves ragged trying.
Here's what I want to tell you.
Let's stop this.
Let's break out of the unwinnable and unsustainable cycle of never feeling like we are doing enough.
Let's refuse to play that game.
Let's flip that idea of "selflessness" and instead embrace self-worth as the means through which we can do the most for others (Amanda Steinberg talks about this in a recent podcast interview with one of my business mentors, Tara Gentile).
You are enough.
And not only are you doing enough, you are doing so much.
Every mom I know, or that I know of, or that I see is KILLING it, and usually, we only see a small fraction of what they are doing.
But here's the thing. Usually we only see a small fraction of what WE are doing.
What if you could see everything that you are doing, and not just in the context of where you are falling short?
What if you could see the beautiful moments that are a result of the life you have worked so hard to create?
What if you could see the love and joy-filled childhood your kids are experiencing because of you?
What if you could see the moments where your kids are self-confident, happy and thriving?
What if that was what you carried with you?
Today's action step:
Take a look at everything you’re already doing.
What are three things that you’re doing really well as a parent?
Find or take a photo that represents each one of these things.
- Create an album on your phone with these three photos and look at them every day to remind yourself of what you’re already doing.
- Make one of these photos the wallpaper on your phone.
- Print these photos and put them up at your desk or on the fridge.
See what you are already doing, and feel good about it.
Because you deserve it.
And the world needs it.
This concludes a series of four blog posts on how you don’t need to do more. We’ve also talked about speaking up for yourself, about feeling and expressing your feelings without defending them, and about how, just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean you should do it.
If you’ve gained something this series, please think of three friends who you think would enjoy it too, and share it with them. Let’s spread this message so we can all get out of the trap of not feeling good enough and therefore constantly trying to do more.
Together we rise.