This blog post is the fifth and final installment of a collaborative 5-part series entitled The Mother Within. Start at the beginning here.
We go about our days raising our children to be their best, strive for perfection and work hard to achieve success. My parents raised me with the same mantra and now, like many parents, I expect the same from my children. These teachings have followed me throughout my entire life. As a mom I think it’s only normal to strive for our own personal state of perfection as well. When I fall short in some area of my life, I will ask myself “Am I enough?” Busy day after busy day I hurriedly move through life constantly questioning my abilities, accomplishment and goals. I’ve done what I was told, worked hard, aimed for perfection and now as an adult with a great job, wonderful family and happy life I wonder if I’ve possibly fallen short.
Of course, as I watch my children experience life I feel fulfilled, my husband’s embrace still makes me warm and tingly and I have a job where I touch people’s lives daily, yet I wonder if there is more out there for me. Even while I question this yearning for more I worry that I may never know what I’m missing because of the fear associated with taking a leap of faith. I want my family to remember my legacy as a person who was happy and did amazing things with her life, but accomplishing great things requires great sacrifice. I fear that my complacency with life will cause me to pass up a wonderful opportunity that could be truly fulfilling, but at the same time I fear the risk of sending my family into financial ruin by seizing the moment and persuing my dreams.
In a recent discussion I had with a group of well-rounded, diverse, educated moms I was surprised to know that most of us feel this way. While ultimately rewarding, raising kids, working and maintaining our homes day in and day out can become mundane and leave us all wondering if we are destined for more. This discussion revealed that many of us had spent years in school and question if we have done enough with the education we worked so hard to obtain and paid dearly for. There were also several who questioned whether they had chosen the right professional calling in life. On thing is certain, while we may not be making millions working in a well-respected professional capacity, we are all good at certain things and together as a group we are quite accomplished. By exposing our concerns, we found a common thread of hopelessness and doubt about our accomplishments but came away with a sense of pride and success knowing that other moms feel much the same way. Each of us walked away from the discussion with uplifting comments from other moms, helping one another to identify our best qualities and measure our successes from a new perspective. It is comforting knowing most of us felt the same way, and while we struggle to settle with “what is” there is great reward in life everyday.
Since this discussion, I’ve made a better effort to focus on the strengths and talents that I possess. Finding a way to channel my best assets that I’ve worked a lifetime to develop and perfect is appreciated by others, especially my family and friends. I have a deeper understanding that as a mom I may not always have time to hone my professional skills and add to my resume, but the skills I have polished make a difference in the lives of those who matter most. A thank you from my husband for changing a dirty diaper, a hug from my children following an injury, or appreciation from a new mom for a meal cooked are daily reminders that in my life I’m right where I need to be and I am just enough.