Normally, my chaotic home is enough to provide a Single Mom Slice of Life column for goodenoughmother.com twice a month. Today though, the Head GEM herself asked that I take a look at this clip and write a piece on my thoughts – but only if I was moved – and since I had less than 24 hours to write the piece, it was a pretty big but.
I’m the first to admit, I’m not an avid Oprah fanatic. Nothing against Oprah, I just haven’t been a daytime TV watcher of any sort since my last bout with chicken pox thirty years ago so, though I often hear people speak of and sing her praises, I’m that person who will stay quiet during an Oprah water-cooler moment simply because, well, she’s not a part of my daily life.
However, because I was asked, I looked up the clip and, I was moved. Granted, I’m biased, but I’ve got great kids – they’re funny, they’re smart and still, I feel as though I’m just not (no pun intended) a good enough mother. What the young woman in the clip said was exactly what I’ve felt for the better part of ten years now. If you haven’t seen it, please, please, please go here and watch it before you finish reading my piece. I’ll wait here.
That piece, that WOMAN, spoke to me. Man , did she ever. See, I am a single, divorced, a survivor of an abusive marriage. Among my claims to fame are that I have two incredible kids, three dogs, an amazing family both blood and adopted, a good job, and can even provide a little extra like bowling leagues and movie nights…
So why then, do I have an almost debilitating fear that I’m letting my kids down? How have I not yet overcome a lifetime of insecurities that haunt my every waking moment? I am a woman trying to raise men, talk about an extreme situation! When one of my kids pauses for a second before trying something new, I sweat, wondering if I’ve failed to give them enough self-confidence. When they come home from school and tell me they only had a “C” day, I panic wondering why I didn’t teach them better to see the brighter side of life. Each time they fight, my heart stops and I wonder if the abuse they saw all those years ago is now festering inside them.
Oprah said very little in this segment, but what she said made me cry. “You have to believe that you are enough.”
I have to own the fact that I am it. The buck stops here.
This is MY life. I put my whole heart, pride, and sense of worth into every day with the boys… this also means that I have to accept, I have faults, but my faults are far far less than my accomplishments.
I made the decision to become a single parent. I own it that title. My ex-mother-in-law called me one day and made it a point to tell me that she was aware I was raising them all on my own, and that what these boys had become, how they had grown, their manners and appreciation for life was proof of the hard work **I** had put in as a parent.
If she can see it, appreciate it – why can’t I?
It could be that I’m too close to the situation, that I work daily on, for, with these kids. It could be that my own biological mom let me down. It could be that six years of a husband telling me I wasn’t good enough have warped my confidence…
You know what though? For all the bad things that have happened to me, I’ve survived and overcome to have two incredible kids of my own. That means, all my faults, all my shortcomings, they’re in my head. I’m an amazing mom, that means I have to worry, I have to fret, but ultimately, I have to teach my kids that no matter what happens, no matter how many times you trip or fall or get kicked down, it’s okay to get back up again, to move forward, head held high.. all for the simple fact that I am good enough.
What about you? Have you ever wondered if you were, “Good Enough”? Or more than that, if what you were doing was going to screw up your kids? How did you get through that? What did you tell yourself?
Wendy Syler Woodward, 37, has been a single parent for 10 years, with two boys ages 11 and 16. Originally from southern California, Wendy moved her family seven years ago to Phoenix where she manages a law firm for work, writes for fun, and is preparing to go back to college before the end of the year.