I’m Not Enough, But That’s OK


I have been called Super-Mom on many occasions. I give a little smile and say “thanks” out of the side of my mouth. Of course, it’s nice for someone to notice all the effort I put into being a mom, especially when dad is gone all the time. When I’m called Super-Mom by fellow military spouses, I always reply, “you are Super-Mom, too!” But they understand military mom life. They know the unspoken details behind the Super-Mom exterior.

It’s the comments from those not living the military life that I have trouble responding to. So here are my thoughts, frustrations, and realizations:

I’m glad I look like Super-Mom on the outside. But most days I feel like I’m barely holding things together.

I’m exhausted and tired. Most days I’m glad I just survived. I survived the frustrations of a hot mess of a house; survived the frustrations of not having planned dinner out earlier, so we’re having Easy Mac and a cut up apple again.

I’ve survived the feelings of loneliness even when surrounded by friends; survived the homework of my third grader. I survived the meltdown of my 10-year-old, not because he actually hates his siblings, but because he misses his daddy; survived the solo role of good cop and bad cop.

And I survived the roller coaster of emotions from kids who can’t quite figure out the words to explain the hurt they feel from missing their dad.

A little secret from this Super-Mom, most days I feel like a total failure at home. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “don’t we all.”

I could make an amazing scrapbook thousands of pages long of all the fun things I’ve done with my three kids while dad has been gone on detachments and deployments. I could write a bookl about the selfless acts I’ve done for my kids — the time spent and gifts given. And maybe that’s the “Super-Mom” people see.

What I’ve realized is that my greatest failure as a mom is that I am not my husband.

I am mom. I am not daddy. And no matter how super I am as mom, I am not enough. BUT, that is OK.

I happen to be married to a great husband and father. For my boys, dad is their best friend. He knows all the Minecraft language, he remembers all the passwords, so the kids can always log in to their stuff, and he knows all the newest games and fun gadgets that are coming out.

Our oldest son shares my husband’s science engineer brain. My brain is missing that area. Dad knows what space videos to show the kids and can talk about all that stuff way longer than I could imagine. My husband and oldest son would get up at 5 a.m. to play a board game that would take half a day to finish. They would spend the previous half of the day learning the directions for how to play that game. They enjoy that stuff. I don’t. I can’t. When it’s just me and the kids, we stick with games like Trouble and Sorry.

For my daughter, dad is the knight in shining armor. She may love tea parties with me, but she loves the hugs and kisses her dad gives. I call her my #smallestbestie, but her heart belongs to her daddy. She is his baby. When she is with him, I can tell how loved she feels. Her confidence is highest when he’s around. She currently has an inner struggle going on. She will play most of the day with her favorite friends and then come in and cry about not being able to spend time with me, when I’ve been home, right there all day. That’s her missing her daddy.

This nomadic military life does crazy things to us when it comes to our children.

My oldest is in fourth grade and has attended three elementary schools. I think most of us question how this life is going to shape them. Will it mess them up or will they be OK? Add on dad being gone for what feels like all the time to the constant moves, and it can cause us to overcompensate for this military life.

Somewhere along the way, I started thinking that I had to be everything to my kids.

There are a few problems with trying to be everything.

  1. You simply cannot be everything to anyone.
  2. There are over seven billion people in the world. More than a few of them are going to play a role in your children’s lives. Neighbors, teachers, friends, relatives, etc.
  3. You need a life too. Yes, your kids are a huge part of your life, but they should not be your whole life. Remember those seven billion people in the world. People like your spouse, relatives, and friends need you in their lives as well.
  4. Trying to be everything is right on the line of trying to control everything. If we’ve learned anything in this military life, it’s that we have, like, no control.
  5. If you were everything, you wouldn’t need anyone else. Remember that spouse who is off defending your freedom? That person is going to return and need a place back at home.

So thank you for calling me Super-Mom. I really appreciate it. Just know that beyond that photo of the gorgeous beach trip I took my kids on, the struggle is real. And for all my fellow military spouse moms, let’s give ourselves a little slack, and realize that our house will not always run smoothly, there will be meltdowns, and it’s understandable that some days we just need to survive until the next day comes.

I have realized that I am not enough for my kids. And I’m OK with it. And they will be OK.

They need their father, and so do I.