The Lie that Suffocated my Motherhood


There is a lie that almost suffocated my motherhood. It’s on signs, t-shirts, and coffee mugs. It’s stamped on jewelry and hand-lettered in gorgeous calligraphy. It’s pretty, and it sounds good, but it’s a lie.

You are enough.

Yes! I am! I can do all the things! I can be all the things! But what happens when I screw up? Or blow up at my kids? Or miss a deadline? Or snap at my husband? Or can’t for the life of me manage to get dinner on the table some nights? Am I still enough? Yes! You are! You are allowed to be flawed and have a bad day! You are still enough! I wish I could buy that, but I can’t, because it’s not just a day, it’s always. Maybe there are some perfect moms out there who really have enough and give enough and are enough, but I haven’t met one yet.

One night, seven days into motherhood and somewhere around 3AM my son had been screaming for hours. He’d stop for a few minutes and then start up again. I was healing, I was hormonal, and I was helpless. I put him down in his crib and went to hide in the bathroom down the hall where I couldn’t hear him so much. I sat sobbing, and my husband came in to ask how he could help.

“I don’t know what to do,” I said. We were nursing and it was painful. I was yelping and he was not nursing very long before I was crying in pain. I am a horrible mom. I can’t give him everything he needs.  My husband leaned down to hug me and while I released hot tears, I heard a whisper that wasn’t my husband: “Casey, you have what you need to give your son what he needs.”

I wasn’t enough, but I was equipped.

In my desperation, I had convinced myself that I had to be the one to provide his every need, because I was supposed to be enough. I felt an immediate peace and sent my husband downstairs to mix a bottle of formula from the samples they provided at the hospital. Our son drank the whole thing and slept for 5 hours – the longest we had slept in a week – and it was glorious. With clearer heads and rested bodies we went to the doc, learned about his tongue-tie, met with a specialist and a lactation consultant, resolved the issue and had a wonderful breastfeeding relationship after that. My desire to be enough kept me from admitting that I needed help or using the resources available to me.

Then there are all the people reminding moms, “You are just the mom your kids need!” Baloney. Some days my kids absolutely need a different mom than me. And y’all, I am not sorry about that. I cannot do all the things all the time, I cannot be all the things all the time, and I don’t think there is a human on this Earth that actually has the patience my four-year-old is requiring right now, but boy I beat myself up about how I should be able to handle it. Not only do I think I should be handling it, but I should be handling it in dulcet tones and the sing-song solutions of Mary Poppins herself, but my carpet bag is empty.

I kept trying, but I still wasn’t enough. 

I can drink from the mug and bolster myself to believe that I am enough for about 10 minutes until my six-year-old melts down because I won’t let him have a third granola bar today. I can wear the t-shirt and pep-talk myself for about a half hour until my four-year-old has an anxiety attack and I can’t do anything but hold her for thirty minutes until we’re both covered in snot and tears. In these cases, and many others, it is evident that I am not enough. 

For the first many years of motherhood, I was trying to convince myself that I was. But then I wasn’t. So I’d double my efforts to do and be all the things. But I still wasn’t. So I’d pray to be enough, and that’s when it became abundantly clear that I wasn’t, and I wasn’t ever going to be. It seems like everyone else thinks they are (they wear the t-shirt) and lots of people are telling me I am (they bought me the mug) and then I start to believe that I am the only one who isn’t. But I’m not.

In fact, I don’t think any of us are, because we aren’t supposed to be. And friends, it’s okay. The day I realized that I am not enough is the day the perfectionist tendencies and the constant guilt for all the things I am not faded into the background. When I let go of being enough I grabbed onto the grace I need because I’m not, and the guilt got quiet. 

So I’m calling out the lie that’s been suffocating me. I’m coaxing it out into the light where I can see it for what it is. And I am taking a permanent marker to the sign it holds because I am NOT enough.


I need wisdom. Motherhood can be lonely and I need mamas who have walked this road before who will share what they learned. I need friends because sometimes I would like to talk about something other than kids. I need my husband. He balances my intimate perspective on things with a bird’s eye view. I need my counselor because having an expert equip me with tools to manage all the things I am not enough for is best for everyone – trust me. I need Jesus. More than coffee in the morning or margaritas on Taco Tuesday, I need something (someone in my case) outside of myself to give me the endless supply of grace and patience required for motherhood – and life in general. 

With those things (and a mountain of others I’m sure I missed) I am equipped and I am encouraged, but I am not enough, and that’s okay.

We aren’t supposed to be enough because we aren’t supposed to be alone. We’re built for each other. 

Pssst…I know that some of you are really encouraged by that phrase, so if this doesn’t resonate with you I totally recommend you check out:

To the Mama Wondering ‘Am I Enough’?

Embracing Your Enoughness


  1. Thank you for sharing your perspective! It was so interesting to read your interpretation of the phrase “I am enough.” I feel like everything you described is actually at the heart of the phrase for me. It has never been about being “everything,” — “enough” has given me the grace to know that I am doing my best, in all my imperfections, because the mother that I am is enough – not everything, not perfect, not free of failure, but enough. I’m so glad you found freedom in giving up the phrase. The very freedom you found, is the same freedom that “I am enough” provides to me. Hearing other perspectives is a pretty wonderful thing. 💜

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