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Hey, mama,

The one cowering over the kitchen sink, pretending to put the dishes in the dishwasher while you shovel leftover mac and cheese and half-eaten dinosaur chicken nuggets in your mouth before your family catches you because you already had dinner after all and you tried really hard to only have fruit for dessert, but there’s something that burns like hunger in the pit of your stomach and you’re not sure how to quell it, so you stuff it down with processed powdered cheese and carbohydrates.

Yeah, you.

I see you.

And I know you’re not going to believe me right now, but I think you should know you are enough.

You heard me.

RELATED: Dear Mom, Your Best Is Enough

While your face flushes as you pack your kids into your Subaru, telling your friends via text that you just need an iced vanilla latte when you really do this every day because you can go to college and get a freaking MBA while pulling all-nighters (at the bar) but trying to get two children under three to take a nap without sticking them in the car alludes every skill set you have.

You are enough.

While you try to shuffle papers and pay the car insurance and make doctor’s appointments and kiss boo-boos and buy your kid every single thing in the dollar bins at Target if he would only stop talking to you for just ONE SECOND about what would happen if R2D2 and Buzz Lightyear met in real life.

You are enough.

When you run your kid into preschool wearing your pajamas with sleep lines on the left side of your face you couldn’t rub out on the way in the car because you overslept, and now she’ll be late for school and you’ll be late for work and you didn’t even brush your teeth while all of the perfect looking, yoga moms wave to you after already having dropped off their children on time . . .  

I see you. And you are enough.

To the mama who forgot all about “Show and Share” because it’s only once a week and how on earth are you supposed to remember it was something that makes noise today and not something soft like it was last week when you are wearing two different shoes and it’s not even preschool yet for crying out loud?

I see you.  

I know you feel awkward in this new skin you’re in.  I know you carry something deeper than the shame that you’re still wearing maternity jeansfour years after you last gave birth. I know it takes you 30 minutes longer than it should to go grocery shopping or clothing shopping because you spend the last 10 minutes putting back the things you wanted in order to afford the things you know your family would love.  I know you cradle heads and rock bodies while on conference calls. I know you haven’t gone to the bathroom without an audience since before Jon Hamm became Don Draper.

I know.

I know you can’t buy so much as a new pair of underwear without thinking of what one of your little ones might need instead. I know you don’t take baths because they feel indulgent and luxurious and both words seem to have no place in your life right now. I know. 

RELATED: You Don’t Always Have to Put Yourself Last

I know you see the mamas at the park and read mommy blogs and wonder how mothers have the time to apply eyeliner in a straight line and write witty essays from the perspective of a toddler when you’re just trying to get some coffee and not cry.

I know you feel a little lost, a little unlike yourself. So, put down the elbow noodles. Retire the stretchy waistbands. Wave back to the sea of hot pink bandeau tops. Know you’re enough. And that you’re doing a great job.


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Jenny Vanderberg Shannon

Jenny Vanderberg Shannon has a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Education Leadership and a Ph.D. in overcommitment. She resides in northern New Jersey with her husband Rich and their two, wild daughters. She’s a writer, reader, cook and you’ll often find her at the piano or in the garden. Basically a contemporary Victorian lady with a deep-seated penchant for Thai food, fart jokes, and strong coffee.

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