Read this sentence "I'm doing the best I can" How do you read it? Did you add an exclamation point to the end and read it with a touch of anger? Or maybe when you read it you had a sense of sadness or defeat or exasperation or hopelessness or frustration. Or maybe you had the feeling that no one around you appreciates what it takes to do what you do. We have all been there, feeling one (or all) of these feelings. Chances are we will all be there again. Let's take a minute to break down this simple sentence.
I'm: A contraction for I am. On its own this is the shortest sentence in the English language, however, rarely do we end the sentence there. We usually add more words after I am to describe ourselves but in reality nothing more is needed.
Doing: This is where people often get caught up. Everyone has a long list of things "to do" and no matter how hard or how fast you work, there is always something else to add to the list. We need to stop, and ask why? Why are we doing all of these things? For whom are we doing them? What are the things that I can stop doing? It is an all this "doing" that we get run down and exhausted. We believe we are doing all these things for everyone around us and when they don't appreciate our doing, our emotions flood in. My coach has said to me "You arendoing so much, but how are you being? How are you showing up?" Often in our hustle, we take on an almost frantic energy to get more done and frantic is not how most of us want to show up every day.
The best: Culturally we are taught that we want to be the best. It may start in school or in sports. It may be in the work you do, the car you drive or the way you want to be perceived as a parent. Even if we are not striving to be "the best", we are always striving to do better.we are critical of ourselves and what we are doing currently, to the point where we strive to do better. But one thing about trying your "best" is it implies that what you are doing right now is not good enough. Think about that for minute. Of course there are times when you may feel you are on auto pilot, but is that all the time? Give yourself a break from achieving this elusive best that is always just a fingertip away. And besides, who defines what best actually even means?
I: I means it's only you. Don't forget there are people and resources around you to help you. Things do not only fall on your shoulders to bear the weight of your entire family. When you act alone, your actions are limited, but what would happen if you asked someone for help?
Can: Can means able. You have the ability to do this and do it well.
There is a great Maya Angelou quote "When you know better, you do better"." I believe we are all doing the best we can every day. Very few people show up in situations and try to perform poorly. In that moment, of that day, maybe your best involved yelling at your kids and frustration. In hindsight, you know that is not your best and you want to do better, but in that moment, shouting was all you could muster. Now you have to move on. That moment is over and you get a first chance in this new moment. Now when you reread the sentence, do so with confidence and I believe that it is true - I am doing the best I can.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.