Recently I participated in #theimperfectboss hashtag that took Instagram by storm for small business owners. We all shared truths about what it's like running a business, how it affects us, and what we really feel day in and day out. On the third day, I shared this: "I worry that I am not enough." Many people have similar feelings and I'm sure at one point or another, there is a situation that we feel we don't measure up to. But that isn't what this is about. It's about a comment I received on the post asking me a very simple question that took me by surprise and left me thinking about it for hours, days afterwards.
"What would 'enough' look like?"
You'd think a simple question like that would have a simple answer. That feeling that you weren't enough would have a simple layout of how you'd want to improve in each area that you feel inadequate in. But I sat there a bit dumbfounded for awhile, and eventually stammered out some sort of answer. But now, a week later, I'm still thinking on it. And I've come to the conclusion that my version of "enough" isn't actually possible.
To feel enough as a wife, I want to go back to the wife I was as a newlywed. I want to laugh and joke and have fun and be able to be completely present with my husband at all times. To feel enough, I want to make sure he never feels neglected and that he's always my first priority as he once was.
To feel enough as a mother, I want to be fully present every minute that I'm with him. I want to soak in the time that we have when it's just us and put crafts together and only feed him nutritious food and never lose my temper. I want him to always feel that I'm with him, I want to read him books each time he asks and to jump on the bed when he wants to and to race up and down the driveway until he can't race anymore. I want to stop wishing it was bedtime just so that I can get to work on other things. I want to never waste this time because I know it goes far too fast.
To feel enough as a business owner, I want to be successful. I want to put a new issue out there and sell out nearly immediately. I want to be featured in outside press and reach more people. I want to know that I'm making a difference. I want to be able to pay myself and my team for all of our hard work. I want to fly to photo shoots and take the pictures myself. I want to style the perfect shot and take interviews during the day. I want to work for myself. And I want to get it all done before dinner time so that the rest of the night can be spent with my family.
To feel enough as a daughter, sister and friend, I want to remember birthdays and take the time to check in. I want to send cards to let them know I'm thinking of them. I want to have the time to visit while my mind remains just on them. I want to take weekend getaways and enjoy their company without the worry of what waits for me at home.
To feel enough as a person, I want to take time for myself - to read, to take a bath, to have a spa day. I want to pay off my student loans and not have any debt. I want to give to charity and volunteer. I want to exercise and eat right.
When I go back to read all of these things that would make me feel enough it makes me realize just how unrealistic my expectations for my own life are. And why? I would never place those expectations on someone else. I would never make them feel like less because they can't juggle all of the things they want to juggle. I'm not perfect and I don't want to pretend to be. I don't want to pretend that I have it all together.
I want to admit that there are days where I crave Mexican food and margaritas and con Brandon into having it for dinner. Where I have put Henry in front of the TV so that I could scroll through Instagram. Where at the end of the day, I just want to stare at a wall, or get in bed early and read a book instead of having to talk or work or be someone. Where I want to ignore all of my other responsibilities and sit at my desk in the basement and work on Holl & Lane because I'm so excited about it. Where I acknowledge that my bills are coming due for the magazine and I don't have enough funds to cover them.
Maybe what I need to do is adjust what "enough" means to me. Maybe all it should mean is getting by, surviving another day, being a kind person, and doing my very best. Maybe it's okay to acknowledge my faults and my failings and know that even if I see them that way, others may not. I am good enough. My life is good enough. I am doing good enough. And that has to be okay.