Feeling “good enough” and doing my best. This is a topic I have thought about (and sometimes struggled with ) a lot in my first year of marriage. I know I am not the only new wife, or old wife, or woman or person period who has ever felt this way. Yet sometimes I do feel alone in this and compare myself to others and feel I sometimes fall short. Other days I feel pretty much like a rock star for what I accomplish . I am a bit of a late bloomer and so I have had to be gentle on myself my first year of marriage, which at times is easy and at times is not. The times it is not it is because I am worrying about living up to the expectations. Sometimes I am “guilty” of caring too much what people think of me and then I can get in this anxious, worried or depressed state of worrying if I am “enough”. Especially when I can’t seem to do “ALL the things.”
On Being a “Late Bloomer”
(I use that term in quotes, because I don’t believe in being a late bloomer, as it implies that something is wrong with this. I think we all come in to our own at a different pace and that is ok.)
My husband has lived on his own since he was 17. His family moved to Tennessee and he decided he wanted to stay in MI. He had just graduated from high school, and so they helped him get a job at the factory his dad worked at and get an apartment. From then on, he was really on his own. Not just fully supporting himself, but having his family live far away to boot. This was before I met him, but he has been on his own for nearly 20 years now.
I, on the other hand, have never lived on my own before last year, when I got married. I went to college for a brief stint, but that is not the same as having your own apartment. I won’t go in to the whole reason why I lived at home until I was in my 30′s, because that is too long for one post. We will summarize it by saying health issues and difficult things that happened to me, combined with the fact that I was raised Christian. Matt asked me to move in with him once when I was maybe about 21 or so, but it wasn’t how I was raised, so I said no. Aside from that, we were so immature then and really didn’t understand what it takes to make a real partnership work. I’m so glad we waited!
On Diving Off the Deep End : My First Year as Both a Wife and Living on My Own
What a year of adjustments this has been for me! I went from essentially living in a 9×11 bedroom with my only responsibility of just making some income with my home business and taking care of myself and my 2 cats, to now being the lady of the house with a TON of responsibility. A nearly 2500 square foot home (if you include the 1,000 square foot downstairs), a nearly 3/4 acre yard with established gardens (fruit trees, herbs, flowers and plants galore), and 2 cats, a puppy and a husband to care for on TOP of working as hard as I can to make income from home with my own business. AND on top of moving my things in, unpacking and trying to set up house in between (which has included home renovation projects that I have designed and been doing most of the labor myself). It was a bit like diving off the deep end of a pool. Suddenly, here I was at age 34, caring for my own family and home and daily chores with no “ease-in” time of having lived in a small apartment first or something.
The one common ground that Matt and I have in this, is that he has never lived in his own house before with a yard to care for. He has always lived in small apartments. In saying this, I have felt like a kid in a candy store with gratitude and awe for the sheer abundance of what God has given me. Even all the “chores” I have to do are simply signs of abundance. However, some days it is very overwhelming and hard to keep up with. I am a nurturer and homemaker by nature, so the cooking meals from scratch every night and caring for the pets and a husband part (with love and encouragement) comes easy to me. I have never gardened or done lawn or yard care before having this home though, so I am getting my feet wet in so many new ways.
Which brings me to the point of this post- I am learning that I can’t do it all ALL the time and that my personal best varies from day to day. Maybe you can relate. Some days my personal best looks is pretty darn impressive (especially considering where I came from). A shower and makeup on and looking cute, a gourmet meal, Matt’s sugar free dessert made, several loads of laundry done, a clean kitchen, a couple loads of dishes done, maybe another room of the house cleaned, a couple hours gardening/yard work before bed, and some time spent working on my home business to make income.
Other days my personal best looks like merely dragging my butt out of bed at 3 pm after a night of insomnia or poor sleep, feeling too dizzy or tired to get much done, but managing at the very least to make sure my husband has his dinner, that puppy Toast has been taken potty and had his meals and that the cats have food and water. On these days I am most often found in pjs all day, with oily hair thrown up in a ponytail and no makeup on, taking frequent breaks to rest.
But I’ll be darned that even on these days where I feel unwell or over tired and can barely function, I ALWAYS make sure we have a nice meal for dinner and that the pets are cared for. I almost always get up (or sometimes haven’t even been able to fall asleep yet) at 5 am with my husband to do the morning routine of taking the dog out , breakfast, and packing his lunch, then seeing him off to work with a hug and kiss. I do this even when I feel awful and would have to be in seriously bad shape not to at least take care of these simple needs.
Because of the challenges I sometimes have with health or sleep,etc. I find it hard to keep everything looking good simultaneously (like having a clean, clutter free house). And the garden doesn’t weed itself! I don’t have to tell you ladies all what a wife or woman does in the home. I know you get it. Do you ever find yourself comparing yourself to others who seem like they have the energy to do it all? Do you ever feel overwhelmed or not “enough” when some areas of your home or life aren’t quite up to par? I know I really struggle in this area at times and can get down on myself when I feel I am not measuring up.
Quite often my husband doesn’t even understand, as he has lived on his own for 20 years and doesn’t have the same challenges I have. I usually look ok on the outside, so sometimes my lack of keeping up with it all could be mistaken for laziness. That is where we have had some conflicts in our first year of marriage. We have had chats about it though and I have talked about where we can meet in the middle and my need for patience in allowing me to adjust to this whole new list of responsibilities and living on my own. For the sake of authenticity, I will say that these chats have not always gone well and there have been hurts and misunderstandings on both ends. What it has mostly taught me is that I need to both take my husband’s needs and feelings into consideration, and also assume 100% responsibility for my own feelings and emotions with compassion and patience for myself too.
Some Encouragement for You:
If you struggle with inner or outer critics, have perfectionist tendencies, overwhelm, health issues, or feeling “not enough”-
Remember that your personal best (emphasis on the word YOUR) is always enough. We can all make improvements and step it up in areas we know need work, but I am also big on self acceptance. Your personal best is going to look different than someone else’ personal best. Your own personal best may even look different from day to day. The biggest trap we get stuck in is comparing ourselves to others or trying to live up to someone else’ expectations. This is one of the biggest aha moments I have had during times of conflict. The conflict comes in (for my husband and I) when we compare personal bests. What he is capable of doing is different than what I am capable of doing some days.
You may be comparing yourself to other people in your family, or neighbors, or seemingly perfect “super moms” or “super women” who seem to be able to keep up with it all. I struggle with that too. Some days I think there is something “wrong” with the way I do things because I can’t seem to keep a consistent schedule with energy to do all the things daily. If you have ever felt this way, know that you are not alone and that you really, truly are good enough. You are ok. There is no perfect standard to live up to. That is just an illusion. We are individuals and God created us all differently. All that is required of ourselves is to do things in the way in only which WE can and do.
Be Yourself ♥ Ditch Perfectionism ♥ There is No “Perfect” Standard to Live Up To ♥ Release Overwhelm ♥ You Don’t Need To Do it ALL ♥ Love Yourself ♥ Have Patience with Yourself ♥ Practice Self Kindness and Compassion ♥ Baby Steps ♥ One Day at a Time ♥ You are Worthy ♥ You Can Do This ♥ There is No One On the Planet Like You ♥ Release the Need to Compare Yourself to Others ♥ Be YOUR Own Personal Best ♥ Your Personal Best is Always Enough ♥ You are Enough. ©Rebekah Ann Stephenson
Sending you Love,