Thanks for your responses to my recent survey question. I love your honesty.
One theme that emerged was “am I doing enough for my child?” In other words, “am I a good mom?”
This is such a common struggle for moms. We all ask this question multiple times through the child-rearing years.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
The problem with this question of doing enough is that you and I don’t define “enough.”
And because we haven’t defined it, we have no way to know if we are succeeding or not. Therefore, we look around at other moms and play the comparison game.
“When you and I compare ourselves to another, we lose the contest every time. Believe me, the mom you think is doing it all, isn’t. She’s muddling her way through life the same as you and needs just as much encouragement.” Excerpted from 5 Lies Moms Believe
Because you feel inferior, you become unhappy with your circumstances and situation. This opens the door to “if only” and “why can’t I” or “I deserve” thoughts—destructive thoughts that only serve to increase your discontent. If you allow yourself to get caught in these thoughts, you begin a spin cycle of doubt and discouragement.
Comparison robs your joy.
Comparison wastes your energy, without providing a return.
Comparison destroys you from the inside out.
The enemy of your soul wants you to believe the lie, to get caught in the trap of comparison. He wants you to believe that you are an inferior mom because you aren’t doing it all. The enemy’s goal is soul destruction.
Our culture perpetuates this lie as well. Marketing gurus brilliantly instruct you that you can have it all. Movies show moms balancing home, work, family, girls’ nights, date nights, and happy children without breaking a sweat. Really? Appearances are very deceiving.
How do you know if you are a good mom who’s doing enough for your child?
- Start by identifying what is important to you. Some might call this identifying your family values. The key is to give yourself some concrete ways to measure your success. Answer this: By the time my child leaves home they should be able to [insert the values most important to you and your spouse].
- Spend time getting to know your child. What are his desires? What gets her excited? Observe his play patterns. Listen to her words. Become a student of your child. You’ll be delighted at what you discover. And you’ll be well-informed about their needs thus doing enough for that child.
- Make time in your day for your child. If you find yourself getting irritated every time your child comes to you with a question, your schedule is too busy. Children need to know that they can come to you with any question, no matter how small, embarrassing, or often they ask the same question. But, if you continually respond with “Not now. I’m busy.”, your child will get the message that they aren’t important to you.
- Teach your child not to interrupt. No, I’m not contradicting myself based on #3. Your child needs to learn that when you are in a discussion, they must wait to ask their question. Here’s a simple technique. When you are in a conversation with another person, or even on the phone if appropriate, and your child has a question, teach them to place their hand gently on your arm or your knee. You then need to acknowledge their polite request by quickly concluding your current line of thought and addressing their question.
These are just a few simple guidelines to help you answer the question, “Am I doing enough for my child?”
One last thought: you are not alone in this fear.
Every mom struggles with this at some point. But, remember, that if you are intentionally parenting your child to the best of your ability (and I believe you are or you wouldn’t ask this question 🙂 ), then, by the grace of God, you are a good mom who is doing enough.
Remember: enough doesn’t equal perfect. Enough is rooted in love and concern for your child. Perfection is impossible.
To receive more encouragement in your mothering, grab your free chapter of 5 Lies Moms Believe by clicking the button below.
If you need help, please reach out. I promise to listen without judgment and help you take the next step.
Here’s the brand new 5 Lies Moms Believe book trailer: