Monday, May 5, 2014

You're Good Enough

There are days I sit back and wonder: "Am I doing a good job as a Mom?" "Will Walker hate me one day for this? [Whatever 'this' may be.]" "Am I doing this right?" 

There are days I get so overwhelmed with the prospect of being somebody's mother that I wonder if I can even do it. Am I good enough?

But isn't that the thing? Are we ever "good enough" with the standards we set for ourselves? For anything? For life, for work, for marriage, for motherhood?

Today was most definitely what one would call "a day." Walker started physical therapy for the torticollis in his neck, and truthfully, I will admit that I was ashamed. Ashamed to have an imperfect baby. Ashamed to think that the world - the blogging world - might think less of me because my child is three months old and isn't great at tummy time and holding his head up. Despite the time that we spend on his tummy, despite the stretching to the left and to the right, despite the Tortle we bought in hopes that he just wouldn't turn so dad gum far to the right…he still needs physical therapy. Once a week for three months, to be exact. And that crushed this mama's heart. 

Seeing that woman - that stranger - manipulating your baby into this position and that position, stretching him farther than his little body can go, measuring every aspect of his sweet little head angles…it kills you as a mother. They lay there staring at you with their wide eyes, as if to say, "Please, Mommy. Make it stop! I hate this!"

It's hard to not feel guilty when a physical therapist looks at you with her judging eyes, insinuating that you never did tummy time with your baby. (Au contraire.) You sit back and wonder what you did wrong, what you could have done differently. The phrase "If I had just…" replayed over and over in my mind today. 

When we got home, Walker was screaming nonstop. He was pissed. And frankly, I don't blame him. We tried the exercises the physical therapist recommended, but he just wasn't having it. We tried taking a nap in his crib, all swaddled up {though we're trying to drop that} -- nope. We tried the swing. Again, nope. He was screaming at the top of his lungs. All he wanted was his mama. 

So his mama is what he got. Loads and loads of mama cuddles all day long. The child who has given up sleeping on my chest? Slept on my chest today. For 2.5 hours. I smelled that sweet head, which faintly smelled of the Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo from his bath the night before. I traced his precious profile with my index finger. And I just savored the fact that, even though he absolutely hated what I had done to him a few hours before, he wanted - he needed - his mama. And regardless if I'm "doing it right," all he knows is that I'm his mama, and in that brief moment, I gave him exactly what he needed: me. 

We finally went on a walk tonight, just us, and he smiled at me. After the day we had, you might as well have offered me $1 million, that smile was so worth it. 

Did we have screams today? Oh, yes. In fact, I called my friend Liz - twice - in tears, giving her poor ear so much word vomit I'm sure she needed to decompress afterward. {Yes, my sweet friend Liz who has a baby two days older than mine and is getting just about the same amount - if not less - sleep than me.} But do you know what she said to me? "You're a great Mom. You're doing a great job. And don't let anyone ever make you feel differently." That made me cry even harder. 

Don't we all need that sometimes? Someone to just tell us that we're doing a good job at something? At work: "You did a great job on that _______." In our marriage: "You are a great wife. I'm lucky to have you." In friendships: "You're such a good friend. I'm so thankful for you." I think it's so hard for us to tell people that sometimes because we're so wrapped up in ourselves and what's going on with us at the moment, that sometimes we forget to just stop; listen; and weep when our friends/family weep, mourn when they mourn; and rejoice when they rejoice. 

Today? My friend weeped when I weeped and gave me the most simplistic, yet best advice: "You're doing okay, Mom." 

And while I was walking around the house, bouncing my baby to kingdom come as he screamed at the top of his lungs…I was validated. I was doing a good job, and I am good enough. Good enough for my baby, good enough for my husband, and I was - despite all my irrational fears - a good enough mom. 

Parenting is super hard sometimes. You're told you'll change…and you do. You're told you will jump in front of a moving train for them…and you will. You're told you cry at the drop of a hat…and yes, those tears fall down like rain at the dumbest stuff. But the hardest part? Doing the stuff that isn't exactly "easy" {a word my husband has banned us from using in this household}, but that's worth it. Three months of physical therapy will fly by, and our precious boy will be "normal." Whatever that means. In 20 years, this will be a mere memory, and I'm sure we'll laugh at what a big deal it was to us at the time. But right now, we're not there. Yet. But we'll get there. 

So, for those of you who need to hear it tonight: You're good enough. And you're doing okay. 

And for you mamas: This video will probably make you cry. 

1 comment

  1. I love this post! You are a fabulous mama! You are doing such a great job balancing a new baby, work, and home life. I love reading your posts for whenever the time comes for me :) Do not feel bad about your feelings either or be embarrassed about having a perfect baby. I see really sick kids all the time (working in the PICU) and cannot imagine what the parents go through. It's actually great perspective for me to continue to encourage them as they face new diagnosis or challenges with their kids. It reminds me to use my words to show grace, so they don't feel the way you did with the PT. Thanks!


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