Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Rise!

How I Thought It Would Be vs How It Is

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

My greatest challenge is one I can't shake—it's me. Always me. A few months ago I took my eldest daughter, Briar, to Sephora. She wanted to learn about make-up and I wanted to give her the full experience. I still apply eye makeup with my mouth wide open and yanking the sides of my eyes toward my ears to help the eyeliner go on, in other words I'm no expert.


I was absolutely stunned by how it took me back to being her age; seventh grade and believing that I was closer to grown up, closer to not feeling awkward, closer to happy. As she stared at the images of women perfectly made-up, I remembered thinking if I could just ______, fill in the blank for so many imagined fixes for my not-enoughness. Now, I am not sure this is what she was imagining. She had a wonderful time listening to the woman who guided her through each of the steps—skin prep, eyes, cheeks, and lips ("No, thanks," Briar said.) When we left Sephora, shiny black and white striped bag in tow, she held my hand and pressed her head to my shoulder, "I love you so much, mama."

As we drove home we talked about her desire to explore make-up being about expressing herself and not about fitting in, "I still don't want to dress the way some girls at school do. I'm not ready." I marvel at her confidence in who she is and a part of me wonders how exactly she developed that when I feel like I still don't have it.

The challenge of facing each day as a mom to three daughters, wife, and business owner is that my inner voice provides a steady soundtrack of, "You really don't know what you are doing." I read articles, practice techniques to combat self-doubt, but the truth is they all feel like a big load of bull. Nothing penetrates, for any sustained period of time, the thought that I am a fake.

A few weeks ago my husband and I committed to running a 5k obstacle course on a mountain. I kept thinking that somehow we wouldn't end up doing it, but there we were on race day. There were people tricked out in serious running gear, snow on the ground and they had tanks and mercilessly short running shorts on. They were all sinew and can-do, I was wearing my 9 year old's drug store, pink and grey striped gloves and a bright blue knit cap. I felt ancient and out of place.

As I ran up the snowy face of the mountain I doubted myself, as I passed runners younger than myself I thought, "They'll pass me later," and as I felt a strong second wind lift me, I sprinted up another hill and over obstacles and still thought, "I'm not good enough for this."

"Go get it babe, I'll see you at the finish," Sean said to me as we hit the military crawl obstacle. I hesitated, "Go, I love you," he said, and so I did. My arms pulled me past a 20-something there on the ground. The snow and ice dug into his knees, which were bleeding. I got to the end and stood up. I sprinted ahead, down the face, over the water obstacle, crossing the balance beam tricks, and then out into the parking lot. There was a young kid and I jogged with him as we picked up logs of firewood and approached a mountain of snow we had to climb. He looked scared; it was about 15 feet high.

"How about I follow behind you?" I suggested. He smiled. I helped him pick a path and I held my hand under his heel a couple of times. When he slowed down, I slowed down. "We can do this," I said. Euphoria began to envelope me, as it always does when I let go of my preoccupation that I am not worthy, not pretty, not talented.


I wish I could say that I had a surefire recipe for feeling like the challenge isn't so great, but the truth is I've begun to appreciate, and even trust, the cycles of triumph. I am never going to be without self-doubt and I am probably never going to perfect the cat eye with liquid liner, but what I am going to do is rise each day and try to conquer the idea that I am not qualified or enough.

When it comes down to it neither life nor success are about a straight line, it's riding out the curves and bumps and acknowledging that some of the most perfect moments are simply the times when instead of perching outside of ourselves and tsk-taking, we let go and allow ourselves to live in this time we have.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.