Enough? Hell, yes.

on

I tell my kids often that they are enough.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You will know what that means if you have ever felt like you were not enough. Enough to ace a big test. Enough to get that promotion. Enough to be loved in your ugliest moments with your jiggliest bits.

It is important to know that we are enough even if nothing is achieved, nothing is earned, nothing seems right.

Since getting divorced a few years ago, I have experienced an entirely new level of wondering if I am enough. Enough to pay the bills. Enough to provide the warmth and emotional support two boys need on a regular basis. Enough to show them life with all of its intricacies.

And through this blog, as well as in my own day-to-day life, I’ve met many women who do what I do. Single mothers who work long hours, work out, cook a mean meal or know their local takeout clerks intimately, raise children who will have a positive impact on our world.

These women do it beautifully, if messily. And part of the beauty is the mess.

But they all share a secret. They feel, many times, as if they are not enough.

They cry in the shower when they have to work over a long holiday weekend and feel like they are cheating their kids yet again. Or when the mother next door trots out her freshly baked cookies and pristine scrapbooks. Or when they see the women in the grocery store fresh out of exercise class—the same exercise class they’ve not been able to make in over a month.

There isn’t enough time to fit it all in. Not really. Not with just one little ‘ole mommy trying to be everything to everyone.

Here’s what I want to tell these ladies.

When you look back, you will realize you were always enough. More than enough.

My boys are about to turn 11 and 15 years of age. I’ve only been divorced a few years but I can tell you, I had the guilt complex in spades. I have worked long and hard to keep us financially afloat. Keep my house. Keep them in their school. And I cannot clone myself so you do the math. That means they’ve missed out on some class gatherings after school, some extracurriculars, some time with me.

Looking too closely at this is like stabbing yourself in the heart with a fork. Not something you should do. Ever.

I recently was going through the photos of the past two years. And, amazingly, I saw with the eyes of an outsider. I saw a woman who was more than enough. One who was waaaaaay too hard on herself.643965_10151828602917160_1913181827_n

While she was berating herself, do you know what she was doing? Showing up for lacrosse matches in the pouring rain. Celebrating wins and losses at the local wing place, pizza parlor or ice cream store.

She was pinching her pennies so she could show her boys what real adventure looks like. In the rainforest of Costa Rica, high above the tree line, sliding down waterfalls, marveling at macaws and monkeys. Hiking and horseback riding in the California desert. Downing far too many butterbeers with her young Harry Potter wannabe. Times Square, the Lincoln memorial, Ground Zero.

She was applauding at tae kwan do belt ceremonies, laughing at the joy her kids experienced because she finally let them buy a street hot dog in New York City, cooking weekend breakfasts she was really too tired to make just to see the relish with which her boys ate.

557525_10151391350362160_657031888_nShe was scolding about grades, tutoring in the fine art of scrambled egg making, and losing it every once in a while.  She was balancing checkbooks and learning how to oil a garage door squeak.

Not perfect. Not anywhere close. Tired looking? Yes. Impatient? Often. Loving? Always.

This story is really not about me. You can switch out any of those things I was doing with someone else’s story.

The point is, these ladies make the world go round when no one else can for their kids.

With Father’s Day approaching, I think of these lovely women. The ones who play mom, dad and everything in between. Who show up. Day after day after day.

And I want to say, when they ask if they are enough: “Yes. Hell, yes. Unequivocally, yes.”

I hope they look back and see that some day.

Or maybe, if you know one, you can tell them.

 

 

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25 Comments Add yours

  1. justme3362 says:

    I love this post, and I thought of several close friends as I read. Sharing with them now, but wanted to share with you my thanks again for your words and wisdom 🙂 x

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you for the kind words. So glad you find them worth sharing. I hope they read this and realize, if they don’t already, that they’re rock stars even on the bad days . . .

  2. Oh yes Kay, I have no doubt you, and so many other women, do more than enough, and even though I don’t have children I can still identify with the sense that we all feel so often that we’re not doing enough. Such a powerful word, enough. Enough already!

  3. Hey Kay! You are enough!
    And btw when are we gonna hear more about the recent joys and dates? 😉

  4. I loved this so much. Yes. We are enough. Beautifully said.

  5. Yes! You are totally rocking it- even when it doesn’t feel like it. Congratulations. I have a sister-in-law that this post reminded me of, who is a single parent of 2 girls (8& 10). She dated their dad for a few years, and about a year after the first one was born, he began using drugs regularly (he must have used before, but was clean when he met SIL and while they dated). After daughter #2 was born, my SIL moved out on her own, and she’s supported herself and her girls with no help from their father (he’s still addicted). A little over a year ago, she bought a house. And right now she’s getting a college degree and works. She’s my shero.

    1. candidkay says:

      Good for you for giving your SIL props! Women like this move the world.

  6. George says:

    Great post. There are so many People in similar positions, working hard and trying to do the best for their fames. You are being the best you can be for your boys and your boys. And no one can ever take that away from you. Ever.

  7. gina amos says:

    What a post. I want to give you a big hug.

  8. Roy McCarthy says:

    Kristine I so often read your beautiful pieces and just nod and grunt approval at the way you frame in words what we might observe but never quite appreciate. I work with a devoted single Mum, three kids, who works so hard and effectively that I can’t understand where her energy comes from. I’m afraid though that this shows up in a poor light the many that slob through life taking all and giving nothing.

    1. candidkay says:

      That means a lot, Roy. Thank you. I hope you tell this woman what you see. Sometimes that’s all we need to get us through a tough month!

  9. This is relatable as I too am a single mother with my Rx2. While reading I felt that you were telling my story. In fact it is OUR(SM) story#amazing!

  10. My mother was widowed when my younger brothers were in their early teens, my sister and I in our early twenties. This was different yet the same as divorce – a woman alone bringing up teenagers, supporting young adults. Even though we may have failed to appreciate all that she did at the time, I can assure you, without any shadow of doubt, all four of us now understand exactly what she went through and we will all be eternally grateful for the sacrifices that she made for us. She was indeed ‘more than enough’, she was our inspiration and our light. You are too. You are more than enough. You are the strong foundation from which your children will draw their strength and their values.
    Thanks for this heart-warming post.

    1. candidkay says:

      Tears in my eyes as I read your words. I have the utmost admiration for women like your mother . . .

  11. Words Of A Christian Wife says:

    I applaud you single moms. I really do 🙂

  12. Lovely writing as always. I often struggle with “being enough”.

    1. candidkay says:

      Don’t we all?! If we could strike that question–oh, the peace:).

  13. Much more than enough, I’d say 🙂

  14. Such a valuable post, Kay.

  15. I’m not a single mom, but I know a few. The next time I see one I’m going to make it a point to tell her what a wonderful job she is doing. Thank you for this. I love your blogs!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Christine! I’m so glad my writing resonates with you. And gladder even that you’re going to give your single mom friends a boost:). They rarely say they need it, but they do . . .

  16. I love reading your blog & this post hits so close to home for me being a single mama myself.
    Sometimes we need “yes it’s enough” or even more than enough.
    Thank you.
    I love finding parts of my thoughts in your writing!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words. Funny, but we do need to hear it, don’t we? We may be competent in all else but when it comes to our kids we worry about falling short because of all of the other responsibilities. I love that you find parts of your thoughts in my writing! Means we’re not alone:). Thanks so much for reading. Can’t wait to check out your blog.

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