“I’m Always Letting Someone Down.” Sound Familiar?

woman looking stressed out with both hands raised to her forehead in fists

This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

If there’s one word that cuts to my core with a sharper blade than any other, it’s “enough.” There’s this nagging voice that says, “You need to do more. You aren’t as good as… You missed a chance to…” When I’m at work, I feel like I’m falling short with my husband and failing as a mom, and when I’m with my family, I’m constantly thinking about work. No one is getting the best version of me.  

I know I’m not alone. As moms, our hearts and minds have to exist in multiple places most days of the week, and we’re left feeling insufficient. I’m not quitting my job, and the last time I checked, my kids are gonna be hanging around for another few years, so something has to change. If you want to stop feeling like you’re failing as a mom and like what you have to give isn’t enough, try these 7 things. 

1. Use a habit tracker.

For life lessons, my hindsight is 20/20. But when I need to recall what good things I’ve done, I can be as blind as a bat. So earlier this year, for three whole months, I used an iMOM habit tracker. I wrote down about 10 things I wanted to do every day, pinned it to my bathroom wall, and checked those tiny boxes as the days went by. Pray for someone, floss, send a kind text, exercise… 

I was never perfect in my attempts, but those check marks were proof of my accomplishments and the tracker helped me shift my focus from what I wasn’t doing to what I was. 

2. Repeat affirmations.

You’ve probably read this advice so many times you want to skip this point entirely. But I promise you, it’s the most important one. Repeating words of truth to yourself every day when you wake up and before you go to sleep will change the way you think. 

Try looking in the mirror and saying “I am enough. People love me for who I am, not for what I do.” Or remind yourself that your insufficiencies are an opportunity for God to work through you: “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

3. Prune.

Remember in the iconic “very special episode” of Saved By the Bell when Jessie gets hooked on caffeine pills? Zack comes over to bring her to her Hot Sundae performance and finds her crashed after days of choosing studying over sleeping. Cue the “I’m sooo excited!” freak-out. Jessie’s problem: She was trying to be in a pop group and ace a brutal geometry exam at the same time. Typical. 

But seriously, Jessie needed to cut back and maybe you do, too. If you constantly feel like you’re letting someone down or failing as a mom, it might be because you’re being pulled in too many directions. Pruning some areas will make room for healthy growth in others. This might be the year to say no to the church committee or the neighborhood association. 

Does the idea of falling short in motherhood, at work, or in your marriage hit home? It did with the iMOM Podcast team. Listen to their conversation about moms never feeling like they’re doing enough in the episode “I’m Failing as a Mom” and subscribe to receive new episodes every Monday.

4. Find more quiet.

When I get ready in the morning, I often have the radio, a podcast, or a book playing. Same for when I’m in the car. Being alone with my thoughts often brings me anxiety. But if you have this nagging voice telling you you’re not enough, filling the void with noise only serves to create more chaos.

That podcast I listened to this morning? It reminded me my kitchen cabinets need to be organized. The book I’m listening to? It distracted me from praying for my kids for 10 minutes of my drive to work. Quiet might be uncomfortable, but calming your mind makes room for peace.

5. Ask for feedback at work.

At my last job, I had two big titles. I’d tell my boss I felt like I wasn’t doing either job well, but I was giving them my all. On more than one occasion, he told me I was doing more than he could’ve expected or asked of me. Still, I wasn’t convinced. 

Learn from my mistakes. When you ask for feedback, if your boss says you’re doing enough, believe him or her. If you’re not doing enough, great! You can come up with a plan of action. Write it down and make a move. 

6. Enjoy simple moments.

Instead of trying to impress, think smaller, more simple activities with your family. Taking a walk around the neighborhood or having a picnic lunch in the back yard feels like a “good mom” moment and is pretty easy to pull off. And simple things usually leave room for connection, which is what we’re ultimately looking for anyway.  

7. Change your perspective.

Whose life are you comparing yours to? An Instagram influencer? A friend? Mine? I promise, the stories I share in these articles are just a snapshot of my life. 

Reframe things to get a better sense of all you do. Did moms 50 years ago juggle kids and work and extra-curriculars and meals and the PTA and friendships and a husband AND work out so they could look good in activewear? NO. They wore sweatpants! Are you doing your best most days? Then that’s enough.  

What do you do when you feel like you’re not enough?

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