There are days where I feel like I am superwoman. Like I can do it all. I can be an amazing physician and an amazing mother and still come home and put an amazing meal on the table for my family. I feel like I can do anything.
And then there are days where I feel like such a failure – at medicine, at motherhood, at marriage, at everything. I feel like I can’t do it all – like I can’t do anything, really.
Those are usually the days where my daughter is the first to be dropped off at daycare and the last to be picked up. Those are the days where the only quality time I get to spend with her is putting her clothes on in the morning and taking them off for bedtime. And those are the days where the fear creeps in.
The fear that I’m not enough for her.
What if some day in the future she looks at me and says, “Mom, you weren’t there enough. You missed too many things.”? What if she resents me for having a career? What if she wishes she had a different mom – a mom who stayed home, who could come to every recital and every basketball game and every speech meet?
And what if she’s right? What if I’m not enough?
I think that maybe the only thing scarier than that is if she thinks that she wasn’t enough. What if she thinks I became a physician because being her mom wasn’t enough for me – that she wasn’t enough for me?
What if someday she finally figures out just how selfish I am? I knew being a physician and a mother would mean missing things. I knew I wouldn’t be able to come to field trips and bring treats for class parties and host play dates with the other kids’ moms. But I did it anyway.
I can’t escape these thoughts. But I hope I’m wrong. I hope that she can see just how much being her mother means to me and how I wouldn’t give that up for a million years of being a physician. And I hope she knows that even when I’m not there, she is still with me. She is in my thoughts and on my mind. She is the face I see during the day when I can’t wait to get home. She is a part of me. The sacrifices that I make are sacrifices that she makes. And she shares in the lives that I touch and the work that I do. I just hope she knows that.
One of my favorite poems of all time by ee cummings sums it up. For this Valentine’s Day, I’m giving a children’s book adaptation of this poem to Anika. She might not understand the words now, but I hope someday she will understand.