Mmm…what with the demands of work, home, deadlines, interests, emergencies, self-care, social media, food prep…is it ever possible for us, as working mamas, to feel like we are enough?  Today, I’ve invited Arielle Mir, a brilliant working mama of two and Mindful Return alum, back to the Mindful Return blog to share with us her thoughts on the elusive topic of “enoughness.”

For 2017, instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, I chose a guiding word.  According to one of Lori’s teachers, a guiding word is simply one word that stands out for you and offers a way for you to invite that feeling or desire into your life in the new year.

My word for 2017 is “enough.”  Let me tell you why I picked that one.

So much of motherhood is about providing. In pregnancy, you are providing the safe vessel for your baby to grow. As the mama of a newborn, you are providing all their nourishment – from bottle or breast.  Simply put, when they are small, it feels like you are on the hook for all their needs.

Because our identities become so wrapped up in providing, we are constantly asking ourselves the question, “Is it enough?”

Am I taking well enough care of myself while pregnant?

Is my baby getting enough milk? Enough sleep? Enough stimulation?

Am I losing the pregnancy weight fast enough?

And it’s not just mama stuff.  How many of you asked yourselves during the holidays, were my gifts sufficiently generous?

Did I make enough food for the holiday meal? Will there be enough room for all the family members to sit?  Now, some of these things are logistical questions, which are fine.

But the trouble starts when the “is IT enough?” starts feeling like “am I enough?”. 

If I can only pump 3 ounces of milk at this session, am I an inadequate nourisher?  If I only manage to give cards to my friends and loved ones this holiday season but my neighbor delivers a gorgeous bouquet (true story – happened to me), am I not generous?

I chose the guiding word “enough” to remind me that my worth is not measured in ounces or gifts wrapped.  No matter what happens, when I show up, I am enough.

One trick of this is to look beyond the input and think about the outcome you want.

For example:

I look at how my sons’ eyes light up when they see me and the way they nuzzle their little heads into my collarbone.  My love is enough.

I look at how strong and energetic my boys are – nourished by me, their daycare, and all the other kind people who feed them.  I know they are getting enough.

I look at the pile of emails from my colleagues seeking my expertise who know they won’t get a response until my parenting duties are fulfilled.  My contributions at work are enough.

I look at a photo of myself in a dress that suits my post-2 babies body, with a glowing smile.  I know that my self care is enough.

You might be saying, “Yeah, yeah, but I don’t want to be the way I am right now. I KNOW I am not enough.”

Fear not, my sister.  Saying, “I am enough” is not a blocker to change.

Saying that I am enough today doesn’t mean that tomorrow, I won’t find the need or motivation to be another way.

But for today, I can stop questioning and start honoring and loving the person I am, a practice whose benefits trickle out to everyone around me.

Arielle Mir is the mama of two wild and sweet man-cubs. By day she is a policy advisor to a health technology start-up and by night, a yoga instructor and convener of Jewish mamas. For more of Arielle’s thoughtful reflections on parenthood, check out What is a Weekend?: Tips for Reclaiming Those Precious 48 Hours.

Looking for more help getting your head into a better place as you return to work from maternity leave?  Join other new working mamas in the next session of Mindful Return.

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