Hey mama, do you wrestle with feelings of inadequacy like me? We don’t have the solutions, bandwidth, or ability to fix it all. Can I tell you a secret? Not being mom enough is something to celebrate.
I know, no one wants to celebrate inadequacy. We don’t like when we can’t do it all. However, if you will bear with me, I’ll tell you why we can.
Problems Are Inevitable.
Our 5-year-old tripped, sprawling out on the concrete. Giant alligator tears flowed freely down her stunned face.
Her hands and knees stung as much as her embarrassment. Even so, I wrapped her in my arms until the sobs faded. As I gently wiped away her tears, she smiled; ready to go inside. Problem solved.
As she skipped away, a recent conversation came to mind. A friend’s adult child is dealing with a gut-wrenching problem. My friend described how there is nothing she can do except hug her sobbing child. She has no ability to fix the problem, and she can’t undo or stop the pain because heart wounds are more than skin deep. So she showed up and supported her child. But deep down, she knew she was just not enough and it broke her heart.
A skinned knee is a small problem. The fact that bigger problems lie in the future of our children hits me like a ton of bricks; problems no parent can fix with a hug.
No Parent Is Enough.
A ‘fixer’ by nature, I feel compelled to fix every problem. Logically, I know this can’t persist. Our kids must learn to face and walk through their own problems. But watching takes serious restraint; it’s hard to resist trying to reduce the struggle.
Harder still, is being unable to find a solution. Encountering problems we cannot fix for our children can be downright painful.
Regardless, problems we can’t fix are inevitable. Problems we cannot handle, prevent or even begin to solve.
Searching for solutions can be exhausting. Yet, sometimes it feels easier than admitting we can’t fix it, doesn’t it? Because that means admitting we are not enough.
We don’t like that one bit.
I cannot fix our son’s food allergies or asthma. There was nothing I could do to stop our babies from hurting from Silent Reflux. It isn’t possible to stop hurt feelings when our kids feel rejected. What problems have you been unable to fix?
The truth is, I am simply not enough for our kids problems.
As kids gain independence, they will need to navigate most of their relationships, experiences, their very lives, on their own. Time will confirm, none of us are enough.
Fixing Problems Isn’t Our Job.
It’s an unavoidable truth that we can’t prevent, fix, or manage everything. We can’t be everywhere or see what is coming. We can’t see long-term consequences of decisions because our perspective is limited. Our advice and ‘fixing’ won’t be perfect and even the best intentions often make things worse. Of course our kids need more than just us to help them! We are not enough.
Can we admit together that it isn’t our job to fix all the problems for our kids? In fact, we shouldn’t. We do a disservice to our children when we do all the fixing when they need to learn to navigate their problems on their own.
We must stop striving to fix it all. Isn’t it time to stop bearing the guilt of problems we cannot fix? Of the illnesses we cannot heal? Mistakes we cannot undo? Relationships we cannot restore? Pain we cannot remove? Wounds we cannot prevent?
Can we stop carrying the burden of solving problems with just our own strength and limited perspective?
We were never meant to carry those burdens in motherhood.
When we’re busy trying to find a solution, we aren’t very good at listening, comforting, or just being present with our kids. The only way to stop trying to fix things is to surrender problems to the only source of true hope.
Only God is Enough.
Ok. Remember that secret? You know, that we can celebrate not being enough? Let’s talk about why.
There is One who is enough for every problem. In fact, God is more than enough.
There is freedom in admitting only God is enough. When we do, we can place our problems, and our children’s problems, in His capable hands. We stop living in reaction to circumstances, rest in His peace and hope in things unseen. As we trust God, seeking His will in our hardest circumstances, He gives new perspective of impossible problems. His eternal perspective.There is freedom in admitting only God is enough. Then we can place our problems, and our children's problems, in His capable hands. We stop living in reaction to circumstances, rest in His peace and hope in things unseen.… Click To Tweet
Instead of carrying that sinking feeling of insecurity and inadequacy as moms, we can celebrate our weaknesses because God can work with those.
When motherhood reveals we are not enough, we get to step back and see what God will do with our seemingly impossible circumstances. We get a front-row seat to His best work. We get the chance to see solutions unfold that we never thought of. And we witness God’s work in our hearts and in those of our children; changes we never thought possible, and changes that we never saw coming. We need only be still.
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” -Exodus 14:14
I don’t know about you, but knowing God promises to fight for me and my children lifts an immeasurable burden off of my shoulders. We don’t have to do it all and neither do our kids.As we trust God, seeking His will in our hardest circumstances, He gives new perspective of impossible problems. His eternal perspective. #perspective #everymom #thisgratefulmama Click To Tweet
God Will Use Us.
We are not enough, but through our weakness…God works miracles.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Admitting we’re not enough frees us. We can stop trying to fix things and just stop.
When I stop, I can scoop up my hurting child and be with them in the hard things. In just being, there is more opportunity to hug, sit and listen. And to wipe away tears, even if we cannot make those tears stop.
When we stop trying to be enough, we recognize our need for God. We do our best parenting in prayer. As parents, we have front row seats to problems, but we also have front row seats to see God work in their lives! Prayer opens our eyes to what God is doing and we give our children an immeasurable gift by interceding for them.When we stop trying to be enough, we recognize our need for God. We do our best parenting in prayer. #momlife #thisgratefulmama #prayer Click To Tweet
We Lead By Example.
As we admit we aren’t enough, our kids will learn through our example. When we aren’t enough, we get to point them to the God who IS enough, and offer true hope. Together, we can bring unsolvable problems to God and give our kids the opportunity to see God work. With our help, they will learn to pray and grow in a faith that is their own.
Not Enough In Motherhood Is Good.
If I was enough, my children would learn that mom can fix all their problems, not that they need God.If I was enough, my children would learn that MOM can fix all their problems, not that they need God. #thisgratefulmama #NotEnough #motherhood Click To Tweet
Can I be honest? I’m not good at this. Do you?
I do know I’m not enough, but I still find myself trying to fix everything. When I do, I carry around a huge load of mom-guilt what I cannot fix. I hate watching our kids struggle through the big, hard, complicated, painful problems. I am not sure it will ever get easier.
But this is the way it has to be.
While we can’t fix it all,we can equip our kids for real life.
We are not enough, but we
- can love them through their problems
- get to offer truth and wisdom in love where we can
- have the opportunity to show them they aren’t alone
- will faithfully pray for them and with them
We are not enough, but we can show our kids how to take their problems to the One who beckons the weary and heavy-laden.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…” – Matthew 11:28
We are not enough, but we can teach our kids that nothing is too hard for God.
For nothing will be impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37
In reality, our kids won’t always turn to us with their problems anyway. Motherhood is a constant process of letting go and watching our children step out on their own. Even if we could fix everything, we may not have the opportunity or permission to.
I’m grateful we have the opportunity to help our kids wrestle with hard things now, while still in our homes, so they will be equipped to deal with bigger problems later on.I'm grateful we have the opportunity to help our kids wrestle with hard things now, while still in our homes, so they will be equipped to deal with bigger problems later on. #momlife #opportunity #thisgratefulmama Click To Tweet
A Reason To Celebrate
Do you know what the greatest reason to celebrate is?
When kids wrestle with problems we cannot fix, they learn they need God – not mom.When kids wrestle with problems we cannot fix, they learn they need God - not mom. #thisgratefulmama #motherhood #faith Click To Tweet
And THAT, mamas, is why it is good to NOT be enough. And why we can celebrate when motherhood reveals we aren’t enough.
How to Parent from a Place of Surrender by Jeannie Cunnion
How to Trust God with Your Children by Tracie Miles
3 Prayers for When Your Kids are Facing Tough Stuff by Kari Kampakis