The Doubts of a Mother's Heart: Am I Doing Enough For My Kids?
Words and images by Laura Sophia
I've come to believe motherhood is one of the greatest equalizers. Whether you work in the home or outside the home, a single mother or co-parenting, new mother or seasoned, mother by birth or adoption, young or old, motherhood is a shared journey. It makes you look at the world differently, self-reflect more than you ever have in your life, question everything in a way nothing else does, and love more deeply than you ever knew you could.
Like so many of you, I'm full-on in the depths of motherhood, raising young children, loving this incredibly difficult and rewarding mom life. I'm giving it my all, yet feeling like I'm failing every day; trying to show myself grace and finding my way one day at a time; watching my littles grow at a pace much too fast for my mama heart; wondering if I'm doing enough for them, being enough for them, loving on them enough, and if I'm being totally honest, just hoping I'm not screwing them up too much!
I try so hard to enjoy every moment, to soak in the magic of their childhood, to never forget how grateful I am to be theirs, to not wish time away. I'm painfully aware of how fast these precious years with our littles go by, and the importance of making the most of every minute we have with them in these early years is not lost on me; I feel the weight of it all, yet I struggle. I struggle to be the mom I feel they need me to be for them, especially in those times when I lack the patience they deserve, when I lose my cool instead of being the calm they need, and when I've said "just a minute" for the the last ten minutes when all they're asking for is the attention they are worthy of. And so my mama heart aches, because I want to be better for them.
Sure, laundry can wait, dishes can wait, but not everything can always wait and I can't always be everything everyone needs me to be, and that's not easy to accept. At ages two and four, each of my children have very different needs, but their need levels are equally high and our days are filled with intensity. Someone's always needing me, physically, emotionally, or mentally, and to always be needed is hard. To realize that sometimes I can't be what they need, because sometimes I'm not what they need as they're growing and maturing, is harder.
When my four-year-old is consistently acting out while my two year old is having epic tantrums, day after day, and we can't even seem to make it out of the house in this seeming tornado of chaos, I feel like I'm failing at motherhood. Often wondering why some days are so hard and why I can't get our act together, questioning everything I am as a mother, trying to discover what it is I must be doing wrong. As mothers, we care so much, we love so hard, and we internalize everything. My head knows it's usually nothing I'm doing or not doing, but my mama heart yearns for the answer, the solution to make it better. We want to make everything better for our children, when in reality, there is beauty in not always saving them from the struggle, and I'm slowly coming to terms with this as well.
Motherhood can be a lonely place when we get stuck inside our own head, inside our own thoughts. The tough days can be so tough, a total mind game really. But then, when my son comes to me and gives me a hug and tells me he loves me, or he insists on giving his little sister a kiss and hug before bed, or when he apologizes on his own and shows empathy, I have to believe I'm doing something right. When my daughter runs to me for comfort when she's scared, tells me she loves me in her sweet little voice all throughout the day, and calls for her big brother until she gets his kiss and hug goodnight, I know that in all the mistakes I make and through everything I'm doing wrong, there's something I'm doing right.
I think we will inevitably screw up our kids to some degree, and there will always be more we could be doing as mothers; I'm starting to accept this. But at the end of every day, no matter what the day has been like, I want my children to know they are loved so deeply and so purely, no matter what. I want them to carry that love with them every day of their lives, to never doubt the love I have for them, and to never question if they are worthy of love.
In this journey of motherhood, if I've learned one thing, it's that the mama heart is pure, it runs deeper than any ocean, and it feels with unmatched intensity. Trusting our mama heart and showing our children its depths is one of the greatest gifts we can give them in this life, and hopefully, the love that comes from our mama heart will supersede all the other mistakes we make along the way.
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Laura is a mama to two littles and wife of twelve years to the cute guy she met at Starbucks. She's a wannabe photographer, master organizer, and simplicity seeker, doing her best to live intentionally and raise kind and happy hearts. Writing is her therapy.