The other day for dinner we had chocolate cake.
Dinner time came and we were late and honestly, I simply didn’t feel like making something in the rush, so I told my boys to have a piece of the gluten free chocolate cake made with a mix by Bob’s Red Mill and to put some whipped cream on it and then to hurry up so we wouldn’t have to race to choir.
Chocolate cake for real, mom?
That’s what I was met with.
I wish I could tell you that I gave them the chocolate cake because I thought I was the cool and fun mom in the moment but truthfully, my mom confession is that I was simply tired, worn out, and trying to avoid that kitchen and cooking. Plus I really knew that I could not handle one more thing so I gave myself grace to offer them chocolate cake for dinner and the grace to kick out all the reasons why that was me not being a good mom.
That night after I dropped my boys off at choir I heard my phone ding again. Another message. Another thing to do. Another expectation that chances are, in that moment, I had dropped. Which brings me back to that cake, honestly. I suppose it could be a dropping of expectations of motherhood – not giving the nutritious balanced meal, not being creative, not taking the time, and on and on. But truthfully, in that moment, I did what I needed to do.
You know, I’ve read a couple articles about how being enough is like an endorsement for a messy house or not doing more or just sitting around. Well, I’m begging to differ. Enough, to me, is truly doing your best, giving yourself grace, knowing that sometimes you’re scared by this great big world of mothering, that there are times where tears tumble, and that there are other times where you just decided that’s it – it’s chocolate cake for dinner. It’s not about deciding that it is what it is and not rising up or trying. It’s this posture of knowing that so many of us in that moment do our best and that so often we minimize and grade our enough with expectations that supermom herself couldn’t achieve.
Even with all the digital connections it can simply feel absolutely lonely. In fact, sometimes I think the digital world can add this extra layer of motherhood to-do nowness that can create the most intense filter of success that 99.9% of the time is unattainable. After all, there will always always be one more thing to do or someone who does it better or somewhere we should be going or the next newest thing for our kids or and or and you fill in the blanks.
Here’s a bit of realness.
Sometimes I deal with anxiety.
I don’t like to talk about it really, but sometimes there are some things that need to be talked about. In fact, tucked away in my Evernote is a post that I wrote almost two years ago about dealing with anxiety at times. What was crazy to me was the amount of shame that I once heaped on myself – you can’t keep it together, what is wrong with you, you’re not a good mom – about having anxiety moments. And then as the years have worn away and I’ve learned to become stronger and found freedom in articulating my heart I’ve realized that the greatest thing that hinders growth, love, and community is the need to hide and live under the facade of perfection.
Well, truth, there are some nights where I get anxious. Could I tell you why? Probably not. Oh yes, I could trace much down to social media and expectations and constantly seeing everything that I could be doing. I could tell you that it’s because there are times where I’m sitting in the car at a stop light and all of a sudden I’ll have thoughts of how in the world is this my life? that will make me wonder how in the world this was my life. Or I’ll deal with kids that don’t want to change clothes, lose homework, and don’t like dinner (other than chocolate cake). Or I’ll just be simply overwhelmed with 10,874 things to do in 24 hours and a to-do list with 1982 things on it and 2 lost pieces of homework and 74 socks to fold and what feels like 9 minutes of sleep a day and not nearly enough caffeine to sustain.
I know that you get that. After all there’s a reason my mom confession (link) post was crazy popular. Was it because I was the only one letting my kids eat fruit snacks? Or that my socks live in a mismatched sock basket of crazy? Or that we don’t always eat organic apples?
I think it was popular because it was this release of all the expectations that can contribute to angst, anxiety, and that pesky feeling like we’re never doing enough.
Which again, brings me back to that chocolate cake.
In that moment.
That was absolutely enough.
It wasn’t dropping the ball or doing less or not caring about nutrition for my kids. It was being enough. Their lunches the next morning were balanced. They came home and ate an apple.
But that night at 5:10 pm they had chocolate cake for dinner.
It was food. Dinner. A meal. There are those that don’t have that – a meal – and sometimes I think we need to even see that in our framework of motherhood. We need to remember that when we look at expectations and how we should look or our house should be or all of that.
And I was absolutely okay with it.
In my life those anxiety moments creep up subtly and then all of a sudden I’m left wondering why I’m feeling so worried that I’m dropping the ball. Maybe part of motherhood is recognizing that there are these crazy things like mommy wars (watch that video) and social media expectations and a never ending to-do list but that when we say I am enough that we are allowing this bit of buffer in our lives.
I need buffer space.
You need buffer space.
You need space to learn to embrace you and love what you offer your family. Your uniqueness, your creativity, your love, your you. Sometimes it means chocolate cake for dinner or calling a friend or telling someone that you’ve dealt with anxiety and that there is no shame (and always seek out help too if you need it) or that you love that your living room is clean always or on and on and on. Because you know what? Just like some of us have messy homes and are okay with just a bit of clutter there are others of us that love love love having a clean home and don’t want to have to apologize that it’s clean or chuckle at our own idiosyncrasies. You see – the beauty of knowing that we are each enough is that the comparison angst can dissipate.
It is no longer about what you are doing versus what she is doing versus what this blogger says to do versus what this magazine says to do. It is then about simply knowing that your own motherhood journey isn’t defined by someone else’s ideal of motherhood.
I used to think motherhood was simply about raising kids. Motherhood really is about discovering self, nurturing those kids, learning to let them go, and deciding that the only grading system for motherhood isn’t based on expectations but on doing your best.
So where-ever you are today stop for a second.
One second, one moment, right now.
Breathe in the truth about you.
You are awesome. Wonderful. Trying.
Tears come from my eyes whenever I do this. I think they do because I race through life without inhaling enough and seeing all the moments that matter. That is what I want you to see. For everything that causes you angst or anxiety or where you think you’ve dropped the ball I want you to instead see the wonderful that you also did.
That chocolate cake night?
The boys are still talking about it.
That was the best night ever mom.
Carry on brave I am enough mother.
Chocolate cake, anyone?
ps….if you know of anyone who has ever dealt with anxiety would you share this with them? Do you know why? I think the toughest struggle in that moment is feeling alone and honestly the more we are real and share and talk and love each other the less alone we all feel. Thank you so so much.
you are awesome. all moms do this and feel this way. i like how you are real. so many people are so fake when it comes to taking about their kids and the home. You are real. you have feelings like all of us moms.
I never match socks. Two of my three believe if you have two socks on your feet that’s good enough. You are amazing. Hugs!
My boys have been wearing mismatched socks for like a year now, we’re all perfectly fine.!!!
I love, love, love this.
And please – yes, all mamas get anxious sometimes, but if it gets to be constant and there isn’t a clear reason, go talk with your doctor. Getting my thyroid and brain chemistries sorted out was the best gift I have given myself. I still get anxious but in a normal amount, I feel the range of other emotions, too, and the anxiety is no longer allowed to rule my life.
Good for you for talking about it. We’re all in this motherhood thing together, sister.
As one anxiety-ridden mama to another, I love this. We have done a “breakfast supper” on many occasions that was really nothing more than Pop Tarts.We all have those days.We classify the strawberry filling as fruit,survive to see another day,and soldier on.We don’t have the pristine showplace on the block, but rather a hundred year old, sawdusty perpetual project that time and money don’t currently allow to whip into quick shape-unless we win Publisher’s Clearing House!:) I think what you do here is what I aim to be in blog and in life- being transparent.It does a whole lot more for the bonds of sisters in Christ than all the nicey nice advice columns in the world.
I am embracing mismatched socks, messy rooms for days, French-Fry Fridays on the way home from school, and other things that all the advice-overload frowns upon. And you know what? All these things make my kids happy, not because of the silliness or the treat but because I am relaxed and it changes everyone’s mood. Let go of the expectations and perfection and we all breathe little sighs of relief and make room for good thoughts and feelings and fun. Buffer Space, indeed.
Also now I really want chocolate cake.
We’ve had pumpkin pie for breakfast on more than one occasion, which always raises eyebrows when my kids tell others that. However, with all the vitamins in pumpkin, would someone please explain to me how it’s any worse than any of the popular sugary breakfast foods?!?! 🙂 I love your blog!
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Carrots dipped in chocolate pudding? Pumpkin spice cookies as a vegetable? Desert first, main course last? My pediatrician told me to look at what your kid eats in a week, regardless of order. We are GOOD moms because we care enough to consider it.