Showing Up Is Enough

Winning in motherhood was labeled as thriving. Everywhere I turned, I was told to thrive, to flourish, to prosper in raising kids. Those moms I saw unmoved by the mess, desiring to be with their kids all the time or unfrazzled by tantrums looked like a perfect picture of thriving. Thriving felt like first place, and I felt like I kept finishing in last place because, so much of the time, I felt like I wasn’t flourishing in this role or prospering in any shape or form.

If ever there was a time when parents should be given permission to lower the bar of parenting excellence, it’s in the middle of a freaking pandemic. But you’d be surprised how many mothers are still competing for first place. Easter arrived just a month into the pandemic, and I thought for sure people would collectively decide that Easter baskets wouldn’t happen this year. But when I looked at Instagram, I was surprised to see how many people still pulled them off. Kids were receiving all sorts of extravagant Easter baskets despite the quarantines in place.

We feel pressure to “thrive” in all we do. But to me, thriving felt like an impossible standard. As I wrestled with the word thrive, I realized I had a mixed view of it. To me, thriving meant achieving perfection, which in turn meant winning. The more I focused on thriving as I defined it, the more I felt like I was losing. That’s when I started to think about what winning really looked like for me in motherhood. And I started to realize I was winning when I simply showed up.

Showing up when I felt tired was winning.

Showing up at any school event was winning.

Showing up at home while missing the school event was also winning.

Getting to the end of the day and choosing to show up again tomorrow was winning.

Being present was winning.

I may not have taken pictures of every experience, but I was present. And that is enough. I am learning that the best I can do today is to show up and be present. If you are looking for what makes you a good parent, a good wife, a good friend, a good person, that is the criteria. You show up. You are present. Being engaged is what counts.


Taken from A Mother’s Guide to Raising Herself: What Parenting Taught Me About Life, Faith, and Myself by Sarah Bragg Copyright © 2021 by Zondervan. Used by permission of Zondervan,

Sarah Bragg
Sarah Bragg
Sarah Bragg is the host of the podcastSurviving Sarah. Along with being a master at brewing coffee and a champion of cheering for others, she is also a mother of two girls and a wife to Scott. She and her family reside in Tennessee. You can find more from Sarah at and @sarahwbragg.

Related Posts


Recent Stories