Motherhood is hard. Wonderful, rewarding, terrible, challenging, and all-consuming. It is more than a full-time job on its own. And listing the rest of my to-do list wears me out: household management, small business start-up, and ownership during a global pandemic, becoming the adult daughter of aging parents facing dementia and other ailments, navigating family dynamics, and staying abreast of medical knowledge to care for my patients. Like all mothers, I am trying to keep a lot of balls in the air. But I am slowly learning that it’s okay to admit I can’t do everything – some balls will have to fall, and it doesn’t have to mean I have failed. Sometimes it can help to learn that being good enough is, in fact, more than enough.
I often feel like I am performing a juggling act – one with high stakes but without formal training, without a safety net, and without an adoring or paying audience. Sometimes it feels like I am running from one thing to another, never really fulfilling my duties in any category. Some balls get half-managed, others get a disproportionate share of attention, and others wobble and constantly almost fall. Inevitably, a few even end up dropped on the ground.
I am, like many of us, my own greatest critic. I frequently feel I am letting myself or others down. I believe I should be stronger, better, more agile, and adept at the balancing act by now. Lately, though, I have been learning to give myself a little more grace. To be kind to the person I am. To allow myself not to be disappointed that I am not better or more able in some way. To be able to realize that good enough may be more than enough.
I am slowly realizing that just because I CAN push through and juggle an ever-growing number of balls doesn’t mean I HAVE to. When it comes to juggling these tasks, I am slowly realizing it’s okay to intentionally put a few balls down instead of living in fear they will drop.
But good-enough sounds like quitting. Like giving up. My deep-seated fear of not being worthy or not being good enough to prove myself or earn some vague feeling of love or respect rises every time I consider it. No one gets a trophy for being good enough. But maybe the actual trophy I should focus on is more elusive – a feeling of self-ease, of comfort in realizing that just because a ball exists, it doesn’t mean I have to take it on.
This shift in perspective has not been easy for this lifelong perfectionist. And it’s by no means a finished task. I am VERY much still a work in progress on this front. Being kind to myself is just one more ball that I’ve added to the juggling act. Ironic that trying to work on decreasing the balls I am responsible for has actually added a new ball to the mix. But this is the one ball that seems to lighten my stress load as I learn how to grasp it properly. I am, it seems, slowly learning to be more selective in the balls I choose to include in my act. What a relief it can be to understand that good enough finally is more than enough.