I sat there, my face in my hands, listening to the tick-tock of the clock on the living room wall. I felt defeat. Ever have the feeling that when one area of your life improves, the other two slip? It was like I couldn’t catch a break. Work would be great, then I’d have an argument with a friend or my spouse. I could manage the house for a little while, then a pile of laundry would accumulate. Have you ever been there? In that moment I truly felt like there just wasn’t enough: not enough time, not enough money, not enough of… myself?
These moments and thoughts of feeling inadequate or like you’re not doing enough can really get you down. I know there were days where I’d just sit on the couch and feel awful and utterly guilty, like I should have this figured out by now.
When we start a marriage, have a new baby, or build a life, no one gives us an instructional manual. When you decide to become a doctor or a teacher, you take years in school to develop your craft. And then after you get your degree you spend years after as an apprentice or in residency learning how to do your craft just so. But there’s none of that for life, for building a life together. But yet, we demand so much out of ourselves, or at least I did. I wanted the Hallmark family, the Christmas card family, with all the trimmings. And when I found myself not hitting that mark, I felt behind.
The road to a “perfect-family” or the well built family, is a process. It’s a serious of good decisions, the choice to be kind, to go to church, to eat as a family, to save a little more. It’s being nice to your spouse when you don’t want to, it’s reading an extra bed-time story, it’s being present for giving tickles.
So when I have these moments that I feel like I’m not cutting it, I cut myself some more slack, and you should too. Because there is no manual, it’s your first time, and you will make mistakes, and it will feel overwhelming. But in time, it’ll get better, you’ll get a rhythm and build some momentum. And maybe one day in the future, you’ll be the “Christmas card” family, and can reap the rewards of all those years of hard work and feeling inadequate.
You got this.