When Good Enough Really Isn’t Enough

woman looking in mirror with shades of neutral

I cannot count all the times I have looked in the mirror and said to myself, “Good enough.” But, I distinctly remember the first time I did it. 

After my first son was born and my maternity leave had run its course, I returned to teaching high school full time. I was exclusively breastfeeding a newborn, who we just discovered was allergic to dairy and soy, meaning I was on a very restrictive diet (that’s an entirely another post, though). My days would start at 4:30, pumping and getting his bottles ready for his day while I got all the things a new mom has to take to work with her—bottles, breast pump, extra shirt, breast pads, coffee, too many snacks to mention, and of course my actual work for work. 

On one of my first days back, I remember looking at my tired face in the mirror as I slapped on some concealer and mascara in the vain hope that I would look like less of a zombie. I said to myself, “Good enough.” I was going to work with teenagers for goodness sake. They weren’t even awake until halfway through the school day. No one would notice the exhausted new mom who was hardly making it through the day without having an ugly cry in the “lactation room” that just weeks before had been a storage closet. 

woman looking in mirror with shades of neutral
This “good enough” mindset is sadly the norm for many new moms, though. And, I recently realized, it has become my norm for the better part of the last decade. 

As we have been inundated with messages about self-care during this unprecedented time, I have come to the realization that “Good enough” should probably not be my mantra anymore. Yes, I have a baby again. Yes, I am at home day in and day out with three boys, two of whom I am convinced are actively trying to kill one another all day long. 

But, I am also the master of my own destiny.

I am not a new mother anymore. Nay, I am a seasoned veteran. I have survived three newborn phases, been peed on more times than any respectable lady cares to admit, and I have endured A LOT of hours being the only adult responsible for keeping my offspring alive. 

Don’t I deserve to be better than “good enough”? 

I do. And so do you. 

With new determination firmly in place, I have started with simple acts of self-care recently. I dusted off my trusty Clarisonic and gave a little TLC to my thirty-something-year-old face, which returned the favor with a mild breakout that thankfully gave way to smoother skin. 

woman running
Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash

I have traded in that first sip of coffee at 5:30 after I nurse the baby, who has so many teeth I might as well call him Jaws, for my running shoes and jogging stroller while the rest of the house continues to snooze. That first couple of runs felt like my legs weighed 100 pounds each, but they’re getting easier. 


Along with some of the other blog contributors, I have joined a fitness and nutrition challenge with Sol Movement in an effort to get my wellness goals on track. 

These might be small changes to you, but they feel seismic to me some days. Putting a little “me time” into your day even if it just means getting to wash your hair, is a huge mood booster. I might still be at home fighting the good fight, but at least my eyebrows are plucked while I do it. 

What are some ways you make time for yourself?