The truth is that I’m worried about you. At some point after the babies showed up the person I used to know started to slip away. Maybe we were just naïve about who we would become but I really didn’t think that you’d be so different. Is this really what motherhood does to us?
You used to be so bubbly and fun, the kind of person who could command a room. But now, sometimes you don’t even show up. I realize you’re busy with your family and trying to get everything done but there’s something else that’s changed. It’s deeper than just being busy and unavailable. There’s a restlessness just below the surface and it’s uncomfortable, like an itchy sweater making you squirm.
Before the kids you felt great. What’s not to love when you’re young and independent? But now, you feel guilty admitting that sometimes motherhood doesn’t seem to fit. It’s not that you don’t love your kids, it’s just that it feels like you’re supposed to do something else too. People tell you to use your gifts and do big things but in the next breath they make you feel like motherhood is your highest calling. How is that even possible? No wonder you’re confused.
I’ve watched you struggle to answer these questions and I know that you doubt yourself. You compare yourself to everyone else and in your eyes they’re doing these huge things that you could never do. What you’re doing seems small and insignificant. They’re out saving the world and you’re stuck at home yelling at your kids, feeling like a failure. Nothing seems like enough. You can’t do enough or be enough to make a difference. You’re just a mom. You’ve convinced yourself that this is as good as it gets and you’re going to be stuck with the title “Not Quite Good Enough Wife/Mother/Daughter/Sister…” for the rest of your life. It’s like getting a C in motherhood, passed the test but not getting sprinkles.
The truth is that you’re wrong. Just like when I think the exact same thoughts I’m wrong too. No matter how many ways I try to tell myself differently, I keep replaying my failures and inadequacies. Sometimes, we need to hear the truth from someone else, someone who loves us enough to tell us what we can’t see on our own.
I see you but I don’t believe the story you tell yourself.
I see a woman who loves her family. Sometimes you lose your cool but you try really hard. It’s kinda like the shirt that says, “I love Jesus but I cuss a little bit.” You’re more like, “I love my kids but sometimes in shorter doses.” Even though you doubt yourself, you’re doing a good job. Every day you wake up and do all your ordinary tasks, you’re proving just how great you really are. Dreams aren’t necessarily made up of lunches and clean underwear but they sure are helpful.
As the kids get older and you start to feel a little relief, don’t doubt the part you play in bigger things. There is only one you and you have an important role no matter what it looks like compared to the internet. Remember, Facebook is a liar. Lots of people do great things but no one has a perfect life. I struggle just like you. I disappoint myself every day because I wish I could do more. So, please stop comparing your apple to everyone else’s orange. You were created with gifts and abilities all your own. No one else can do your part.
“Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
In other words, you have the opportunity to use your amazing gifts to impact everyone around you. Stop doubting. Stop comparing. Focus on the goal. Starting being you. You were made to be great. If you do your part and I do mine, won’t it be fun to see just where God takes us and how it all fits together?
This article originally appeared at KellyBeckleyShank.com.