Good Enough? Good Enough.

posted in: Motherhood 68 comments

What I’m about to confess will not be something new, it won’t even be unique to me. Every parent (unless you’re truly a saint and know it) will come to this conclusion at least once (or in my case, several times a day) about how we are NOT GOOD ENOUGH A MOTHER/ FATHER. 

My friend Leigh Ann shared this article When Satan Steals Your Motherhood, and though rife with religious references and faith (something which I cannot entirely relate to but that’s another blog post), it touches on the very essence of our insecurity as parents. I cried as I read it, so much of it so familiar to me. 

When my second was born, my oldest son was 2 1/2, speech delayed, very attached to me, and it was just us all the time. I was HIS Mama, 100% of the time. We had a difficult time conveying to him his impending big brother status (we didn’t know how much he understood), and I foolishly believed that when the baby came, it would be okay. He would fall in love, we will be a happy family of four, and all will be well. 

It was not exactly like that. Sure, there were moments of loving and picture-worthy hugs and kisses. But what I remember most of those early months of my second child’s days, were how disconnected I felt from my first-born. He sought refuge and attention from his grandparents, while I floundered as to what I could do to win his affections back, and keep my baby alive and happy. I never felt so lousy a mother as I did then. We navigated those choppy first days the way we only knew how – day to day, with love and some anger (mostly at myself for not handling the whole situation better). 

Things did get better as the baby got older, more interactive and to my oldest son, more interesting. I felt like I could breathe again. Of course, there were still some lingering behavioural issues and that damn speech delay (we did finally find a wonderful speech therapist, he still sees her twice a week now), but for the most part, we were doing okay. My moments of “I am such a terrible mother” were less (though not completely gone). We still had tantrums to deal with, and there were days when I truly did not love it.

I questioned myself (still do), and when we found out about the twins, some of those fears came crashing back down. 

Can I do this as a mother of four? 

Will my older boys resent the babies? Will they resent me?

Will I feel lost again, like I don’t know what I’m doing? 

Will there be enough love and attention for everyone?

Am I good enough for these children who deserve a mother who holds it altogether all the time?

I fear that in a few months time when the twins are born, I will sink, not swim. I fear I will fail, not thrive. I fear I will let Satan steal motherhood from me, and this time, won’t be so easy with giving it back to me. I fear that I won’t do okay. 

I confessed these fears to a dear group of friends, women who are in different stages of motherhood, some with one child, some with five. Debi (aka Dr G, I love her), said, and I quote, “You don’t break your kids as you’re forming them. You feel overwhelmed and taxed and frustrated or lost or even worthless, and yet your kids know the truth. You’re everything and they need you and love you and they get you.”

Motherhood is a choice you make quote

I feel lifted up with those words. I feel lifted up as I hugged my boys this morning, as they ran to me, always the first person they see when they wake up. I feel lifted up when my youngest threw his arms around my neck, saying Mama, like I was the only person in the world he loves. I feel lifted up as I watched my 4 year old wash up his own plate after breakfast, without being told. 

Am I good enough? I am good enough.

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • May 5, 2014 tracy

    Oh Love – you are sooo good enough. You’re amazing. xo
    tracy recently wrote…How To PrioritizeMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      As are you. xoxo

  • May 5, 2014 Tamara

    You certainly are good enough!
    I struggled with Scarlet when I was pregnant with Des. She bonded with Cassidy so much then and it’s never come back full circle. She still prefers bedtime to him, as she should, because I’m a lot less fun.
    I know it comes and goes in weird waves.
    Tamara recently wrote…Always Full Of Surprises.My Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      It does! For a while, my oldest was SO attached to his father, I felt rather neglected. Now both boys run to me for comfort and hugs πŸ™‚

  • May 5, 2014 Allie

    So glad you have a great group of friends to lift you up and set you straight. Yes, you are good enough because you’re their mom πŸ™‚
    Allie recently wrote…The Countdown!My Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      I have the world’s most amazing friends!

  • May 5, 2014 AlwaysARedhead

    I believe you are a great mom, you are aware of all the difficulties that come with motherhood. Will you have enough love, definitely. Not one of us is perfect, and if we say we are, then I think there are even more problems.
    AlwaysARedhead recently wrote…I’ve been sleeping aroundMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for your kind words!

  • May 5, 2014 Kir

    I can only say that I live in constant awe of what you accomplish, how easily you share and allow your life to be a barometer for how well you’re doing as a mom.
    I hope I don’t need to tell you this , but you’re a hero of mine. xo
    Kir recently wrote…The NukMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      You’re the bestest. Love you. xo

  • May 5, 2014 Kerstin

    Oh, you betcha you’re good enough – you are exactly what your kids need, indeed.
    Kerstin recently wrote…Listen To Your Mother?!My Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      I really, really hope so πŸ™‚ Thank you.

  • May 5, 2014 alexandra

    For me, 18 years as a mother, and I still cry, thinking I am not all that I dreamed I would be for my children. That hurts. They are so wonderful, and I haven’t given all that I could have. We say “as long as you did your best” but what if I never did my best? Honesty is hard, but essential. You’re doing great, A, you are doing great.

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Do we ever stop questioning ourselves?
      YOU are a great mother, Alexandra. xoxo

  • May 5, 2014 Kim

    You are! You are the perfect mom for your little ones.
    I think it is only natural to have those doubts – at least I know I have days when I have them. I think we always look back on things and think we might have done it differently, and I don’t think parenting is any different.
    Kim recently wrote…Not ReadyMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Kim. I think we just need to remind ourselves that we ARE the best mothers for our children.

  • May 5, 2014 Carrie

    If you’ve got a 4 year old washing his plate…I’D SAY YOU HAVE THIS MOTHERHOOD STUFF DOWN PAT!

    You’ve got it going on!
    Carrie recently wrote…Getting old is now the new staying young…even if just in my book. Which is the only book that really matters in my world, right?My Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Hah! If that’s a barometer for good parenting, then yes, I’m rocking it. πŸ™‚

  • May 5, 2014 Dr. G

    Good enough is bogus. You are good. Sometimes you are allthingsgood like for your toddler first thing in the morning. Sometimes your good to speak up, sometimes good to keep quiet, sometimes good to take time for you, sometimes good to sacrifice for them. You’re good. Love you.

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Thank you. Always the right words, Debi. Love you too. xo

  • May 5, 2014 Jennifer

    Oh yes. You are SO good enough. We all are.
    Jennifer recently wrote…Happy Mama Moment – SixMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you.

  • May 6, 2014 Lisa

    You are most definitely good enough! However, I completely get how you feel. My youngest was born exactly two weeks before my oldest started kindergarten. Shortly thereafter, my middle also started preschool a couple days a week. So many transitions all at once and I couldn’t give any of them my full attention. Not to mention I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I once heard a quote in which someone asked if her child would feel slighted when she had a new baby and had to divide her loved between them. The answer was ” You don’t DIVIDE your love. You MULTIPLY it!” I have always love that analogy.
    Lisa recently wrote…Chocolate HeavenMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      That is a wonderful analogy, Lisa!

  • May 6, 2014 Julia

    You are so good enough, we all have those moments when we don’t feel like we are good enough.
    Julia recently wrote…12 Tips for Parents about Dental Work Under AnestethiaMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Someone said that we get these moments BECAUSE we care and we’re good enough. πŸ™‚

  • May 6, 2014 Lady Jennie

    I think this might be my favourite thing you’ve ever written. (Or had I already said that to something else). We didn’t know each other as well during the early days with your (for the moment) youngest, so I didn’t know you struggled with all of that. But now that you shared it, it makes me feel close to you – less alone with all the worries that I have. Sure, I’m in a different stage now and some things are easier, some things are harder. But that overwhelming urge we have to be the best for our children (who deserve the best) but the absolute knowledge that we can’t be, can be very discouraging if we don’t realise that mothers everywhere are going through the same thing.

    This was beautifully expressed. And I can wait until you read back a few years from now and see how all your fears came to nothing. Love you.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…Personal News, Writing NewsMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      I have no words to thank you for saying that, Jennie. Truly. Love you too. xoxo

  • May 6, 2014 Katie

    You are good enough, I am good enough, every mama who loves her children is good enough. Thank goodness for the friends and family who remind us of that crucial fact when it’s hard for us to believe it.
    Katie recently wrote…Work Before Play…Doesn’t Always Work With KidsMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Word, Katie!

  • May 6, 2014 thekitchwitch

    We all wonder and doubt ourselves, Alison. Truly, you are wonderful and beyond good enough. xo

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Dana, thank you. Truly.

  • You are!Just the fact that you worry and think things through proves that you are an awesome mother.

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      I want to believe that, Tinne. Thank you.

  • May 6, 2014 Shell

    You are good enough. And you’ll get adjusted to your new family life after the twins are born. xo

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Sooner rather than later, I hope!

  • May 6, 2014 Alexa

    When I was pregnant with the twins, with a 4 year old and 1 year old, I had the same fears, and concerns, worries… I was terrified. I had no idea how I would do it. As fate would have it, another mother in my son’s preschool class and I connected at orientation. She had a 6 year old, 4 year old, and two year old twins. She said she needed a lot of help at the beginning, but by that point, she had it down and life was manageable. You will be fine. It will probably seem a bit overwhelming at first. You probably won’t find time to blog or write or anything but be a mother for awhile, and that’s okay. You will come back to it. And you are going to be great.
    Alexa recently wrote…Did You Win?My Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so much Alexa!

  • May 6, 2014 Leigh Ann

    That article really woke me up. I know I’m stressed due to LTYM, but they deserve better than that, and I can do better than that.

    Alison, there will never be enough attention. You have to steal it where you can. I was thrilled last night when Claire came in and said she was tired and wanted to go to bed. So we got her in her jammies, snuggled up, and read for a few minutes, just the 2 of us, while her sisters were still playing outside. It was awesome. Most days I am pulled more directions than I care to count, because there is just not enough attention. But there will always be enough love. Always.
    Leigh Ann recently wrote…how I writeMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Love is what gets us through the day. Thank goodness.
      I think yes, when the twins are born, I will have to steal whatever moments I can find.

  • May 6, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    Of course you are good enough! It’s common to experience these self doubts but no need to let them interfere with your life. Kick the to the curb! My bf always tells me I’m a great mother and stop over thinking. I offer the same advice to you dear πŸ™‚ Enjoy your pregnancy and Happy Monday Alison! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…It’s MoFo’in FridayMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Over-thinking – hah! Yes, I know I do, too often. Thank you for the advice.

  • May 6, 2014 Katie

    Debi is so wise. I love her. And you will be amazing. Even in the moments when you feel not amazing at all. Because that is motherhood!
    Katie recently wrote…Experience is the Best TeacherMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      It is, isn’t it? And yes, Debi is amazing!

  • May 6, 2014 Elaine A.

    I believe we question ourselves in motherhood so much because we know it’s pretty much THE most important job we will ever have. No pressure, right? πŸ˜‰ but I also believe that the Big Man upstairs knew exactly what he was doing when he gave your your boys and the babies you are going to have soon. Of course your are good enough! You are THE best for them!
    Elaine A. recently wrote…Out LoudMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      The pressure is immense, yes. We are shaping lives and minds! And thank you. xo

  • May 6, 2014 Christine

    You absolutely are good enough. I definitely struggled after Jasper was born and had a hard time bonding. And still, I feel like my boys are so much closer to my husband which brings up lots of insecurities for me. I love these words, especially that last quote. Thank you for lifting me up.
    Christine recently wrote…Ask a Yogini: What does Vinyasa Mean?My Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Christine, I think your boys love you more than you think πŸ™‚

  • May 6, 2014 Rorybore

    I think the enemy definitely tries to steal your joy as a mother, and more importantly lose interest in the role of being a mom; by planting those lies in your head. thankfully it sounds like you have a great group of friends who speak truth in your ears too!
    And I don’t think it’s such an awful thing for our kids to see us be human every now and then. How else can they learn to deal with Being Human? – all the the emotions, frustrations, trials that comes with? They need to see us succeed most often, obviously; but I think they can learn a lot be seeing us fail too. And picking ourselves back up. We all are human and thus imperfect and that doesn’t have to be scary, or self defeating. We just extend lots of love and grace to one another: like your friends did. And I think that’s a great lesson for our kids to see in action.
    Rorybore recently wrote…4M: Jazzed Up PicMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      My kids have seen me at my best and worst. Lessons galore around here!

  • May 6, 2014 Natalie

    You are GOOD enough. We all are. Isn’t it funny how something like a child can make you feel that way? It’s normal and very normal as you are looking to add two more to your family. There will be transitions but it will work out. You can do it…and you are amazing!
    BTW–that’s my contributor for KMB’s blog post on her personal blog, Christie. (When Satan Steals Your Motherhood) She’s amazing too! πŸ™‚

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Natalie, I appreciate your confidence in me πŸ™‚

  • May 6, 2014 Robin

    I won’t tell you that you’re good enough, because you already know that. What I will say is that you will have struggles (we all do) and you will doubt yourself some days (we all do) and that’s totally okay. Deb is right. You’ll be a great mom of four.

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Mom of four!! I am still trying to wrap my head around it.

  • May 6, 2014 Michelle

    Oh, Alison, you have me in tears. Tears because today I feel so much that I’m not enough. Your words are the echo of every mother’s voice. Thank you for your beautiful vulnerability and the lesson that I’ve learned through them: we are all in this together and we are enough.
    Michelle recently wrote…What it Means to be MummyMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Michelle, I’ll tell you now that you’re good enough!

  • May 7, 2014 My Inner Chick

    My boys are older and I still ask myself this question.

    Am I good enough?


    Yes, I am.

    And so are you, my dear exquisite Alison Lee. xxxxx

    Ps. How is pregnancy going?!
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…8 Ways To Kick Domestic Violence Ass ( before it’s too late)My Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, my sweet thing.
      Pregnancy is going well – 16 weeks now!

  • May 8, 2014 Roxanne

    Yes you are good enough. And so I am. I need to remind myself of that. We ARE good enough. Look at our amazing children!
    Roxanne recently wrote…Aquariums are awesome (and so is @ScoreBig!)My Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Right? Need to remind self of that.

  • May 8, 2014 Tricia

    Thank you for sharing these stunning and so very honest words. We all question that, a zillion times throughout the day. I struggled too when my second was born and still have so many moments every single day when I question whether or not I can do this mother-of-two thing, whether I can do it well enough for them. But Dr. G is so right and we can all take solace in that. You are definitely good enough, because you keep trying day after day.
    Tricia recently wrote…Sometimes I feel trappedMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      To keep trying, that is all we can do, yes?

  • May 9, 2014 Allie

    Take it fro me, a fellow Allison, twin mom and mother of four – these are normal feelings. I wish I could make them go away, for you and for me, but they are ever present:). Just breathe, just breathe.
    Allie recently wrote…I’m Running Out of TimeMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Allie! We have much in common πŸ™‚

  • May 10, 2014 Kimberly

    We are done with the baby making but sometimes I catch myself thinking the same thing…like how do moms with more than one child do it? You’re going to do just beautifully and remember that we aren’t perfect. There will be the days when you want to smother your husband in the shower curtain just because he breathed in the wrong way…it happens.
    Kimberly recently wrote…All In This TogetherMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      Haha! Yes, yes, yes. xoxo

  • May 10, 2014 Bev

    I really like that quote from Dr. G and it’s definitely something I needed to hear right now. Becoming a mom for the first time, I often worry that I’m doing something wrong and feel overwhelmed and frustrated (mostly with myself). It’s good to be reminded that we all go through this. And you are certainly more than good enough!
    Bev recently wrote…Sometimes I put on a really good frontMy Profile

    • May 13, 2014 Alison

      We are all in the trenches right now, so yes, we are not alone!

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