With a foggy mind, I have been searching for words of peace and acceptance; I found them sitting across from a friend at lunch.
The food was placed on the table with the familar aroma of southern comfort. My friend and I traded smiles and stories of our young babies. As the conversation turned to career with the context of upcoming opportunities calling for big decisions, her tears unexpectedly ran down her cheek. She turned away and looked at her baby, as I felt completely overcome with empathy.
All I wished to say in that moment, I could not articulate. Words that came to my mind silently were “I know that place”. I do not have the opportunity in career she spoke of. What I do know, and feel I saw in her eyes, was the heavy expectation to capitalize on today.
As I sat there all I wanted to speak was:
You are enough. You are doing enough. What you are capable of is extraordinary and you have a lifetime to achieve all of your dreams. Blaze the path of life with confidence, but be kind to yourself, expectations included.
These are words I realized I needed to hear. I longed for these words from a place begging for acceptance and success. Two things that felt so contradictory.
As a new mother, I have felt the pressure to do it all. While being everything to everyone. Holding yourself to that impossible standard is draining.
The substance desired of life is too much to conquer in a day, but I try and fail. Somehow I feel obligated to line it up, plan it out, and have it signed off on with finality before everyone goes to bed. Yet, this unrealistic expectation I would never set for a friend. This friend sits right before me and all I want to say to her is that “you’re doing it all right!”. You can’t go wrong, as long as you keep showing up.
My dear friend, the one reading this now, know that you are enough. Your life will not look like anyone else’s life. You can’t have a PHD, travel the world, have three children, and a thriving career at the age of 25. You can follow people of social media with all of those things, but there isn’t one person holding all the cards. Your willingness to show up and adapt to an ever changing life is success.
If I want to chase my dreams, how will I achieve them if I can’t _____today. The answer is, you don’t need to today. You don’t need to take your car in, right now. You don’t need to complete your degree this year. You don’t need to dress a certain way to have a certain life.
You need to be there for yourself
The kindness needed to succeed comes from an individual satisfied with the small achievements yesterday.
Thinking of all the words I wanted to share with this new mother fueled by love and encouragement. I remembered myself, sitting on a cold kitchen floor crying in a moment of complete overwhelm with crushing expectations and not having the words for myself.
So to the mother reading this, you are doing a great job. There will be moments on the floor, but there will be triumph too.
You are enough.
What you’re doing, you’re doing with love and strength and it is beautiful.
Today does not have to hold all that you want out of life.
As you embark with great big choices to make…
You cannot make a wrong choice. Life will be beautiful in what you make of it.
Choose, and show your child the beauty it brings.
In this, you will show them that life can be made beautiful right where you are.
The same words I had for this friend, I needed to hear myself:
It is easy to feel like a failure when you want more than you could achieve. But, INSERT YOUR NAME HERE, you are worth so much more than your resume or your home. Your value is far more than your accomplished checklist…
Be kind to yourself, she needs love too.
Share this article with a mom you’d like to applaud today. We all need a little more credit for our personal victories(big or small).
For the advice I received from my closest circle of moms on this topic, head to my instagram stories to hear what they have to say.
Photography by Shelley Foster