To the Strong Mom Who Never Feels Like Enough
Sister, I see you there, nodding to your child’s monologue while a to-do list scrolls behind your eyes like ticker tape. You have one ear in this moment but your focus is on later today and the next five tomorrows.
Errands, projects, meetings, emails, activities, events, programs. There is more to do than there is of you, and before your coffee cools you’ve already reached the inevitable conclusion:
You are not enough.
You try anyway. What other option is there? People are depending on you. Big people and little people and probably even people you’ve never met.
By the end of the day you’re running on fumes. You didn’t get it all done (not even close), but you plugged enough holes to keep this boat afloat for one more night.
Your eyes are on the prize now — bedtime. (Bless it.) You can already feel the softness of the sheets, the release of muscles taught with the day’s labor. But just when rest is within reach, one of your humans brings another request, another demand, another “I need X from you right now.”
It might be a small thing. Tiny, even. But it feels like the world. Like the galaxy. Infinitely beyond reach.
You do it anyway. With some ugliness? Maybe you mask it, but it’s there, simmering under the lid.
You press it down, delegitimize it, but it’s there again the next night. And the next. And one day you realize the ugliness isn’t just at the end of your rope; it’s near the beginning, too.
Your fuse is getting shorter.
You don’t like this version of yourself—this harried, desperate, hanging-on-by-her fingernails you. She used to disappear with a good night’s sleep. Do you remember what those were like?
You used to be able to muster, but no more. You feel like you’re going backwards, becoming less capable, less on top of things. For a time you told yourself, “It’s a season, I just have to get through it.” But life has a way of turning seasons into years, and here you still are.
You’ve forgotten what it felt like to have enough time…energy…patience. Enough of yourself.
Now, when you look inside, all you see is scarcity.
Some Things I Want You to Know
1. This work you’re doing? It’s hard.
But what about her? you ask. She makes it look so easy.
She does, doesn’t she? I’m ashamed to admit this, but in my weaker moments I find myself hoping it’s all a sham—that she struggles as much as I do. Wouldn’t it be better to know she’s masking her exhaustion rather than finding this juggling act easy?
But then I remember that comparison is built on lies, and who has time for those?
Here is what’s true:
You are doing hard things. I know this even if I don’t know you, because life is hard in a million little ways, and we are all fighting private battles. What is hard for you might not be hard for someone else, and what comes as easily as blinking to you might seem insurmountable to her.
Your definition of “hard” doesn’t need someone else’s approval to be legitimate. If it feels hard to you—in your body, your personality, your circumstances, your life stage—it is hard.
2. You don’t need to be “enough.”
The fact that life is hard does not make you weak, it makes you human. If you’re “not on top of it” or “letting things slip” or “barely keeping your head above water,” welcome to the sisterhood.
There is a place where you end, where your energy and creativity and intelligence reach their limits like waves on the sand.
As God spoke to the sea, “This far you may go and no farther,” so He has drawn boundaries for us, tethering us to time and space, to minds and bodies that consume fuel and expel energy and always—every single day—require rest.
This isn’t a shortcoming, it’s a design.
3. You aren’t supposed to be able to do it all well.
Your worth is not the sum total of your productivity. You aren’t meant to be everywhere at once. To be all things to all people. To possess all knowledge or energy or ability.
Instead, you are meant to worship the limitless One. To depend on Him—to trust that because He holds all power, knowledge, and wisdom, you don’t have to. He will never run out of compassion, strength, creativity, or time. He is perfect, infinite, and unchanging. And every time life rubs against our limits, He invites us to rest in His limitlessness.
This truth won’t clear your calendar or add hours to your day, but if you cling to it, meditate on it, BELIEVE it…it will teach you how to breathe again.
So let’s do this together. Let’s sink into the divine fit of our finitude, and be who God created us to be—not harassed by frenzied rushing, frantic multi-tasking, and anxious comparison, but infused with His glory through connection. Worship…abiding…loving…resting.
By design, we are not “enough,” because God is infinitely more than you will ever need. Would we really want it any other way?
This is beautiful and timely. Thank you, Alison.
I’m glad it was helpful, Anna. I’ve found myself needing to take my own advice in this area all week! 🙂