I don't know about you, but I struggle constantly with not feeling like I'm, well...enough. Fit enough. Pretty enough. Smart enough. Kind enough. Funny enough. And especially when it comes to parenting, I just never feel quite good enough. There is always someone who is doing a much better job than I am. They are happier. They are better at discipline. Their kids are doing better in school. Their kids are eating healthier. Their kids aren't throwing tantrums in the grocery store. Their kids are going to bed...ever. You get the point. We live in a culture where, more than ever before, we have instant access to everyone else's triumphs. Instant. And it is everywhere. Go ahead, try to avoid it. It can't be done. It used to be that it was only at the park, or at church, or at Mommy & Me gatherings that we would be subjected to everyone else's sundry parenting successes. Not anymore. Now it's on Facebook. And Instagram. And a million different blogs. And human interest stories. And please. PLEASE. Do not get me started on Pinterest.
It used to be that we would have to smile and grit our teeth and listen to our friends and neighbors talk about Chloe's citizenship award or how soon baby Noah started walking."I just turned around, and there he was. Walking past all of the childproofed cabinets right to my bag of organic dehydrated apple slices! I couldn't believe it. He's only 27 weeks old!!" Yes, that was bad enough. But now, now all we have to do is pick up our phone or turn on our tablet or start working on the computer and we are inundated with how much better at parenting everyone in the world is than we are. Now the voices aren't just patronizing and sickly sweet, now they are yelling and demanding our attention:
"LOOK HOW MUCH BETTER MY KID'S HAIR LOOKED TODAY THAN YOURS!"
Hair. Hair?? Did I even brush my daughter's hair this morning before she went to school? Did I even see her this morning before she ran out the door?? Oh please don't let today be the day she disappears, I totally could NOT tell you what the last thing she was seen wearing was. A dress? Pants? A skirt?? Nope. No idea.
"LOOK AT THIS 7-COURSE MEAL I MADE FOR DINNER LAST NIGHT!"
Dinner? Let's just not even go there. I think last night was fend-for-yourself-night at my house. Just like the night before. And probably tonight will be too. But I'm pretty sure we still have corn dogs. And maybe some Apple Jacks.
"LOOK AT MY KID'S FABULOUS SCIENCE PROJECT THAT HE DID ALL BY HIMSELF!" I don't know what the actual science project looked like. I didn't get that far before I stopped following that person.
Without rehashing any more of my own parental shortcomings, you get the point right? Today's world is full of ways for us to feel worse about ourselves. Just in case the old ways weren't enough. But I have learned some things in my almost 19 years of being a parent. One of those things is never buy Moon Sand. And another one of those things is: You Are Good Enough. You are. And let me tell you why.
#1. Because You Are Worried That You're Not Enough
You are, aren't you? Just a little bit of you wonders sometimes if you are helping, doing, and being enough. You compare yourself to other parents. And sometimes you think you fall short. Guess what? You don't. Just the fact that you are worried about what kind of parent you are means that you want to be better and do more. And that proves that you are good enough.
#2. Because You Are Doing Your Best
Your best is not someone else's best. It just isn't. And there is at least one thing that you do that your kids are convinced you do better than anyone else in the world. The way you hold them, the way you laugh, the way you make pancakes for dinner. And let's face it, maybe you don't have it in you to give 100% of yourself 100% of the time. It doesn't matter. The times when it counts, you DO give 100%. Because you're a parent. And that's what you do. And that makes you good enough.
#3. Because You Worry About Them
You worry that they are unhappy. You worry that they eat too much. You worry if they won't eat. You worry if they cry. You worry if they are disobedient. You worry if they are behind. You worry that you are ruining them with your (sometimes) epic parenting fails. You know what kind of parents worry about their kids? Parents who are good enough.
#4. Because They are Happy
They aren't always happy. And they aren't always happy with you (further proof that you're doing your job well.) Their clothes aren't always clean. Their rooms aren't always clean. They don't always like what you made for dinner. They don't always like your discipline. But they are happy. Even in the midst of terrible twos and adolescent angst, there are those moments when they are truly and genuinely happy. And when they are unhappy, you give them a safe place to be unhappy and to be and say how they feel. Do you know why? Because you are good enough.
#5. Because They Love You
You might embarass them. You might make rules they absolutely hate. You might miss an occasional game or concert or even their first step. But you are someone who won't judge them. You are someone they can trust. You are someone who loves them unconditionally. And they love you. You are good enough. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.