Am I Enough?...by Becki Pallan
Am I playing with them enough?
Am I showing them I love them?
Am I giving them the right guidance?
I know many people, let alone parents, ask themselves all sorts of questions daily!
For some, it’s the norm, but when your inner voice is just negative and demanding, it can be pretty irritating! I know, deep down, that I am a great mother, who loves her children, but I equally have the ‘Am I enough?’ voice frequently. I’ve had those questions for a long time, well before children. It's only with things being more open, and outlets like social media and blogs that you realise it’s such a common thing. It can also be the place which encourages those thoughts of inadequacy and the feelings that you should be doing it all.
However as time goes on, I realise that for some, it’s a curated outlet and that’s fine. We just have to remember, no one has the ‘perfect life’ and the fact that one person’s perfect is not another’s!
I’ve noticed it more since being a stay at home parent, rather than when I returned to work after my son. With him, I had the worries of him not being with me, of course! But I didn’t have the constant nag that I have now, with him being at school. I don’t feel I do enough, doing little activities like you see others doing. With having a younger daughter, now too, finding the time to sit with just him is harder. Not to mention the motivation to do so; when she’s napping, for instance, I just want time to do nothing, but then the dreaded mom guilt intervenes. Every evening I plan out how I’ll do better tomorrow…
Even with his sister and being at home, I don’t feel I do enough with her too. I’m lucky she goes to nursery twice a week, at least in that instance, I feel she gets the attention required.
I see amazing accounts on Instagram of what feels like these more ‘smashing it’ mothers dedicating their entire souls for their children, when I can’t seem to spare 10 minutes to read a book…. Thing is, that’s not actually the truth! I know I give enough and do enough, but that misleading inner voice takes great enjoyment in making you feel like rubbish... it’s that voice that makes me feel bad!
We all put so much pressure on ourselves from whether you should be working, or being at home, or what to teach them. Just because you see things online, no one really sees it all, everyone is having a battle just in different ways.
With recognising these thoughts as unreasonable, but still acknowledging them, things are better but I do still struggle with ‘being enough’ for my children.
Still having the right intentions, but the lack of motivation doesn’t help… that’s why I now make sure I give myself the care I need.
Taking up yoga has helped me I cannot really explain why, maybe it’s having an hour to myself, nothing to think about and to relax. But it’s certainly helped me to feel calmer, to not put so much pressure on myself.
I do still get annoyed with myself if I haven’t done much with the children and question if I’m giving them the attention they need.
The more I’ve thought while writing this, I know I am enough for them. I love them and they love me, all they want is a cuddle when they need it, or for me to be there when they require.
The issue lies with me; my own insecurities, apprehension, and the pressure we put on ourselves as parents as well as humans.
I’ve realised children don’t care if you spend money or have a fancy office job. What they want is acknowledgement, routine, to be listened to, to make memories with, for there to be happiness and laughter, to be able to cry, and to know how real life works. So by not always doing what you ‘think’ you should be doing, shows them reality, however much it hurts us or creates guilt.
I know that I’m a great mother; I have a wonderful husband who tells me so when I’m not feeling that! Or family and friends who highlight things I don’t see the same. But more importantly, I have two little people who don’t need to say anything to me: just the way they look at me and interact, I know they think I AM ENOUGH…
Happy children starts with happy parents and I know from making more conscious choices for making a little time for me, i.e. ballet, yoga or even a catch up with friends, makes all the difference.The one thing I found with motherhood, is it can consume you and you get scared that you’ve lost yourself. It’s taken me a few years to make sure I keep in touch with the things I want to learn and enjoy which in turn makes me a happier mother who is less stressed to spend quality time with my children.
As the saying goes, the days are long but the years are short….