It’s been there as long as I can remember, and it likes to tell me that I’m not enough.
Not good enough.
Not helpful enough.
Not diligent enough.
Not “mom” enough.
Not “wife” enough.
But I was recently gifted an experience which, surprisingly, has begun to change my relationship with this voice.
Several weeks ago, I had a random accident which has shifted my life perspective forever.
At the time, my family was packing and preparing to relocate due to my husband’s military career: that means me, him, our two kids, and what I call our ‘traveling zoo.’ (My family loves pets. A lot!). This move would take us to our fifth home in six years, each in a different part of the country.
At the time of my injury, we were a mere ten days from our planned ‘check out & hit the road’ date.
I was in the middle of helping my husband pack boxes when I was called outside by the kids and, as fate would have it, I inadvertently stepped onto the edge of a hole in the yard. The way that my foot twisted against the sharp drop-off of that hole resulted in what I would later find out was an uncommon and slow-healing ankle sprain with multiple ligament tears. One might consider this to be THE WORST time for such an accident to occur. My husband and I sure did.
Fast forward a few weeks.
I’d been hobbling around on crutches, still unable to bear any weight on my injured foot/ankle, and still with much pain and swelling. Obviously this limited my ability to help with packing & unpacking, or performing most of my other regular responsibilities. (Okay, that’s an understatement: it made it nearly impossible to do these things.)
I hadn’t been able to drive; help my husband load pets, suitcases, and supplies in and out of hotels during our three-day trip to our new location; or even take our kids to play at a park or the hotel pool. For five agonizing weeks my husband had been working nonstop, taking over the majority of our household & moving duties, doing his best to care for me, our kids, and the pets.
On one particular day, I overheard a phone conversation between my husband and his mom.
She wanted all the details about how long it was going to take for my ankle to heal…but it seemed crystal clear that her only concern was how much HE had been having to do since my injury.
I immediately felt the red-hot flames of anger rise up my cheeks. There was a rapid increase of my heartbeat pounding in my chest. Burning tears of frustration welled up in my eyes.
I heard that old familiar voice inside my head that says, “I’m not doing enough.”
It went on: “I’m not being a good enough wife and mom. I’m such a pansy, lying around while he does it all.”
If this had happened just a few short weeks earlier, it would have spiraled out of control as I allowed this one moment to trigger massive anxiety in myself, and elicit resentment toward my mother-in-law.
But I paused.
I took some deep breaths. I re-centered myself and countered that voice of old beliefs. I acknowledged that YES, he HAD been doing soooo much!
And I was so grateful!
I also acknowledged that I was not, in fact, just ‘lying around doing nothing.’ I had been doing what was necessary to recover – resting, healing, nurturing myself. I had also been working on my business AND enjoying more time for huggles with my kids, who needed that extra attention and love during the stress & uncertainty that these relocations always bring (even without an injured mom to deal with!).
And the truth that I realized in this process was this:
My immediate reaction had less to do with my husband or his mom, and far more to do with my fear of being judged. With feeling ‘not enough.’ And – most importantly — with the fact that I am overcoming it!!! Yes, her attitude was unappreciated. But I KNOW that, no matter what she (or anyone) thinks, I AM enough…even when I literally cannot ‘do all the things.’
That is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned throughout the events of the past few weeks: that WE ARE ENOUGH…no matter what.
As mothers, we are enough just for loving our kids in the best way we are able.
As wives, we are enough just for honoring and partnering with our husbands.
As business women, we are enough just for having a passion and purpose, and for sharing that with the world.
As humans, we are enough just for simply BEING.
There is no amount of DOING that can make us more worthy of being loved, cared for, and accepted…not only by others, but especially by ourselves.
We are already worthy simply because we EXIST.
And all of this has reinforced for me something that I’ve gradually discovered over the past year.
We don’t have to be ill or injured or have a dozen checkmarks on our to-do list to be justified in taking a break.
We don’t have to be doing ‘ALL the things’ in order to EARN the right to be cared for.
We are so quick to judge ourselves for needing.
We are so quick to accept others’ opinions that what we are doing is wrong.
What if we just stopped this nonsense?
I promise you, there is an immense feeling of empowerment and self-appreciation that happens when you allow yourself to stop expecting SO. DANG. MUCH from yourself.
Just do the best you’re able, whatever that looks like in any given moment.
And good grief… GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK once in a while! You are human. You ARE a creature of NEED, and that’s OKAY.
Neglecting yourself or judging yourself because of this is sabotaging your wellness & happiness.
Take care of you.
You deserve it, and you are worth it…no matter what any voice says.