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.”
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.