The Not-Good-Enough Mother
By Lotus Carroll on February 17, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
I used to think that my intense desire to have children, to be a mother, was enough.
You have to have more than desire. You have to be more than needy.
I face a truth over and over again: I am not a good-enough mother.
It’s in the details. I am not good enough in Situation A with Process B. I am not good enough at modeling Behavior XYZ. I do not respond to Tantrum of Intensity #524 with the proper level of Calming Voice Version #683.
It’s in the Overall. Good Mother = Someone Else. Me = Poser.
Yes, I love him. Love is not enough. It just isn’t.
Often, I tell myself maybe it is enough that I try and that I love him very much and that he is a happy boy most of the time.
“No, you are wrong,” I jab back. I am not a good-enough mother, and I need to prove it to myself with more than emotion. I must prove it with logic, too. So I make a list of reasons that indicate I am possibly a good parent. I also make a list of reasons why I am clearly not a good parent. Inside my head, I hold them next to one another.
The disparity is overwhelming.
One list is mocked by the other.
One list loses. The other list wins. One list shrinks into a corner, dwarfed by the other. The other list is tall and wide and heavy and has big, mean muscles. One list whimpers that it wants to be better, but it doesn’t know how. The other list looks down at me with a smirk on its face, triumphantly crushing me.
Standing in the hulking shadow of all the reasons why I am not a good parent, I can’t deny the truth born out by the comparison.
The Truth. About how I’m not good enough.
I’ve been telling myself that truth in a million different ways my whole life.
This is just another version of that “truth.”
You know what really mind-jacks me when I’m applying The Truth in this scenario nowadays?
I grieve my lost pregnancies, finding it impossible to let those babies go.
But in this past year and a half, I have had the thought countless times already that, somehow, it is good that I did not have them.
Because I would not have been a good-enough mother to them.
And that is a terrible, painful thought to have.
The guilt is unbearable some days.
"The Truth" hurts.
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