The three words that saved my motherhood

This simple life built of love is enough.

The three words that saved my motherhood

I am enough. The words that play on repeat in my mind on days like this. During weeks like this. During seasons like this.

On a day that began when my husband left for work before 4 a.m. When I've lost count of the times my baby woke to feed and I willed her to cry quietly so my toddler did not wake too. When I am unshowered, uncaffeinated and unprepared to take on the tasks that await me.

I am enough.

I smile and greet my daughter, curled in the crook of my arm. She coos and her sweet, milky breath consumes me, but only for a swift moment, as my son shrieks, "Mommy, it's daytime!"

I pull myself out of bed and we cross the hall to sing him good morning. His face lights with a smile as he bounds across the room and captures us in a bear hug. He asks how we slept and I feel it again.

That all-consuming bliss of motherhood that punctuates the mundanity of the everyday tasks of mothering. As quickly as it comes, it's lost to the next moment, but it's these pauses, despite their brevity, that remind me…

I am enough.

I strip his diaper and he rushes to the potty only to be seconds later in the pantry to reward himself for a job well done. We settle on breakfast. A bite of cereal topped with fistfuls of berries. The blueberry to strawberry ratio is unsatisfactory. We compromise on exactly three more strawberries, that MUST be served on the side, whole, but without stems. In the red bowl, not the blue bowl, obviously, because they aren't blueberries. Crisis averted.

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I am enough.

He sits, he eats. I let the dog out and whisk the baby to the nursery for her change. Before we finish, the dog is pawing at the door and my son is calling for me again. He is done and ready for a snack and, by the way, had another pee pee in the potty, but missed. We clean up, but the trash is full.

I busy him with books and her with rattles then gather and take out the trash. I manage to throw in a load of laundry and make a pot of coffee. Before I can pour a cup and allow the warmth to wash over me, I remember the dog needs to be fed, but my daughter cries out from her playpen. She needs to be fed too.

I am enough.

I scoop her up for her morning feed and nap which coincide with my son's actual snack time. More strawberries? Why not! And just one rice roll? Sounds reasonable.

Her sleepy fussing turns to a persistent cry. Bouncing her in one arm I shimmy my milk-stained shirt up and latch her while I settle my son at his table. He knocks over his cup and, like me, the floor is covered in milk too. I hand him a towel then sink into a chair to finish her feed.

She refuses to settle, so I dance her to sleep instead. Three songs in, her heavy eyes shut and suddenly her brother shouts, "Alexa, open the magic door!" Her eyes pop open and are as wide as mine when I turn to shoot him the look, but he's disappeared down the hall to potty.

So the dance begins again. I sway and she curls back into my neck. I quietly sing and breathe her in, but the thought of whether or not I rinsed the potty steals my focus and my bliss.

I am enough.

The morning is a whirlwind of tummy time, diapering and potty pickup, trains, Madeline, hunting for my cold coffee and eggs because despite the fact that Easter was over a week ago, the plastic eggs and baskets will litter our house for at least the next month until I make the time to gather, pack and put them away. Considering I finished putting away our Christmas decorations two days before Easter, a month may be too ambitious… but…

I am enough.

Nap time and playtime are followed by lunch, quiet time for my son and the nap dance for my daughter. By early afternoon they sleep. I return to the living area strewn with train track parts, rice roll remnants, rattles, eggs and what's left of our lunch. The house is a mess. Our taxes aren't filed. I need to schedule doctor and dentist appointments and follow up on the preschool waitlist. Instead, I retreat to the office, shove unopened mail aside and write in bold letters, I am enough.

Amidst a scattered day, at the end of a blurry week, following a hurried season, when so much is left undone I reflect on the morning and question what was actually accomplished. When I consider what's left to tackle today, my mind floods with unfinished tasks of days before. When I feel overwhelmed by my pile of to-dos that build with each passing day and become an insurmountable mountain of responsibility. I think it, say it and write it.

I am enough.

Hopefully, with time, I will grow to believe it so completely that strewn toys and crumbs won't be the evidence of what was left undone, but the evidence of blissful moments of authentic joy that only a mother can share with her children.

Those moments are love. They are magical, sacred and fleeting. I want more of them. I want a motherhood in which I concede and melt into those moments and honor them with a grateful heart. I want to bury myself in them instead of under the weight of my mountain of responsibility.

My worthiness as a woman, wife, and mother isn't measured in tasks accomplished, however menial or grand, or meeting arbitrary deadlines, but in a life lived with love. Love for myself. Love for my family. The fiercest, most breathtaking love for my children.

I am enough.

They are enough.

This simple life built of love is enough.

Now, where did I put my coffee?

We love this sentiment so much we've stocked the Motherly Shop with a loving reminder to carry through every tough moment. It's the perfect just because gift for yourself or a mama friend who needs a boost.

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