I confessed on Tuesday that I feel guilty when I don’t have a “crazy weekend” to report. When the other moms are describing their frenzied pace of soccer games, dance recitals and birthday parties, I feel like a slacker if I say we spent a day relaxing together as a family. A mom asked me today if we had big plans for the summer, and I said not really. She responded, “Not really? Oh, I bet that’s nice.” But have you been there? It was less “I want to do that” and more “Poor you for not having more to do.” She may as well have said the Southern Statement of Pity: “Bless your heeeeaarrrrt.” You know that feeling?
It made me ponder the question that I was asked recently in a bible study. When is enough enough? And who decides what’s enough? If my standard is their expectations, it will never be enough. If my target is to do as much as “she” does, I’ll fail every time because there will always be a “she” who does more. Enough can’t even be defined by the way I plan on things going in my head because it NEVER goes the way I had it planned in my head. No matter what “it” is.
So…who decides what’s enough? When is enough enough?
I have the answer. It took me a long time to figure it out, and I know you’re going to say “yeah right” and roll your eyes. (I know because I did that, too.) But bear with me… You want to know who decides when enough is enough? YOU. You – just as you are – are enough. So YOU get to decide when you’ve worked enough, volunteered enough, spent enough, given enough, strived enough. Whether anyone else does or not, you get to say “ENOUGH is ENOUGH.” The pause button rests solely in your hands. And as moms we hold the remote for our whole family.
I know what you’re thinking. Take your pick…
You don’t know my ____________ (schedule, kids, job, demands…).
I wish it was that easy.
That’s easy for you to say – you stay home. I have to go to work and answer to a boss.
That’s easy for you to say – you go to work. I’m at home surrounded by chaos all day. My work never leaves.
If I say “enough” today it will just mean more to do tomorrow.
I can’t enjoy pressing pause until this is done, so I just need to do/finish __________ first.
Did i miss one? I’m sure I did. Rest assured, though; just because it’s not on the list doesn’t make the excuse valid.
You decide, so when is enough enough, Mama? Don’t look at her. Don’t blame him. Don’t rattle off your To Do list. It will never all be done. It will never be perfectly tied up in a bow. There will never be a better time. You just have to take a breath, plant your feet and say “ENOUGH is ENOUGH.”
Several years ago, while working at a very busy church, my pastor made a policy that required all staff to attend at least one service every week. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it was huge. In fact, it was initially impossible. I had stretched myself so thin, inserted myself in so many roles that my department couldn’t function if I wasn’t there. There were things only I knew. There were tasks only I could complete. But if you knew my pastor…it wasn’t a suggestion. It wasn’t optional, and for good reason. When I look back, being “needed” in those ways wasn’t a sign of my value or significance as much as it proved my weakness. The days and weeks that ensued, as I made space where I didn’t think I had any, strengthened me in ways I can’t describe. Initially, I was forced to say “enough is enough.” Over time, I learned to choose to on my own. I learned to do what I could, and let someone else finish the job. I learned to call it good even though maybe it wasn’t exactly what I had planned. I learned to empower the people around me and then trust them.
The first week I walked away, I remember not doing much worshipping in that worship service. I worried and watched the clock, anxious to get back to the mess I assumed would be waiting for me. But you know what? The world had continued to turn on its axis even though I wasn’t there to make it spin. As time went by, I did worship. I pressed pause on the busyness and when I emerged, I was better for it.
I was convinced there was no way – not enough hours in the day – to step away like my boss required. But when I made finding space my goal, I found it. What if we, as moms, looked for ways to make space in our lives? What if we spent as much time saying ENOUGH as we do saying there’s not enough? What would life be like if we looked for stopping places instead of places to squeeze in just one more thing?
That looks different at different times. Perhaps more than any other “job,” there are seasons to motherhood…
- Maybe you’re in newborn season and you literally don’t get to choose when you sleep or wake (because if you did, you’d choose to sleep). That’s your season, so you can decide to say NO to the other stuff. You don’t have to get that work done, make those phone calls or run those errands. You’re doing enough, and enough is ENOUGH.
- Maybe you’re in toddler season where you don’t get to press pause for those around you (but imagine if toddlers really did come with pause buttons!? OMG. Would that be glorious!?) You can’t pause them, but you can show them what pausing looks like. When you tell them it’s resting time, you can rest. You can say “We did enough, and enough is ENOUGH.” You can build time into the day to be still rather than filling it with one more thing.
- Maybe you’re in kid season, and they want to try 1743 activities like their friends, and you want to prove you can get them to all those practices like So-and-so’s mom down the street. You can say 2 sports is enough. You may not be the the most popular mom on the block, but you’ll teach them that they don’t have to DO anything. They are enough and enough is ENOUGH.
- Maybe you’re in tween or teen season, and nothing feels like it’s in your control. They are watching you, Mom. Even when you think they aren’t, or they scream that they aren’t. They’re watching. They’re taking notes on how you work, what your priorities are, how you spend your time. Even if it feels like they aren’t getting it, tell them they are enough, and then show them that ENOUGH is ENOUGH.
You are enough, sister. You – just as you are – in yoga pants or high heels or flip flops or a ballgown. You are enough and that’s enough.
After I was asked that question, I had to take a good, long look at my calendar and protect those weekends before they all became “crazy weekends” just like everyone else. And then I had to stand behind my decision. Even now, when I feel guilty or pitied for not being more busy, I have to say that’s ok (and mean it). Because ENOUGH is ENOUGH.