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not good enough I am not good enough.

These five words, these five terrible words, floated through my head last night. And I have no idea why really. And as quickly as they came, I banished them. My intellect took over. I told myself that there is no such thing as good enough. That Good Enough is a cruel modern myth.

But this wave of perceived inadequacy was too strong to ignore. So I allowed myself to dwell on it, to roll it over in my mind. I even polled the Sunday night crowd on the Twittersphere.

I wrote: Have you ever felt not good enough? Well, it sucks. (Sorry for my moment of insecurity.)

I wrote it because it felt good to record this moment. To acknowledge its fierce and fleeting presence. But I was overwhelmed with the replies. Several people responded and quickly to tell me that they feel these five words all the time and particularly since becoming a parent. Ah.

Apparently, it is not just me.

What is this all about? Why are there so many smart and talented and funny and happy people who are weathering these silent storms of insecurity? Why are these five words so universal?

I don't know. I can't speak for the masses, but I can speak for me. And so I will.

These days, I am a bit overwhelmed. No, I am a lot overwhelmed. I feel stretched thin. I feel exhausted, exquisitely exhausted. I qualify in this way because the things that are exhausting me are things that also bring me immense and incomparable joy - the babies, the blog, the book, the marriage, the man, the move. These are things I cherish and celebrate and would never trade. But these are a lot of things.

Babies. In my life, there are two little girls. Two little girls who sing and cry and dance and collect umbrellas and toothbrushes and stickers. These days, these two little girls look me straight in the eye and say, in words and sentences, Mommy, I want you to stay. Mommy, I want you to play.

Blog. In my life, there is one burgeoning blog. A blog that is bringing me more joy and juice than I could ever have imagined. This blog is growing and thriving, moving and grooving, and has become a profound pipeline to tremendous colleagues and incomparable conversation. These days, my blog says to me, Nurture me. For here is where you are learning to be vulnerable and vulnerability is the ultimate strength.

Book. In my life, there is a book. A book that's about to debut in the world. And two other books that are part on paper and part in my head. The characters are real. They dance in my dreams and whisper in my ear, Don't forget about us. Your future? It's on our pages. So write them. Write us.

Marriage. In my life, there is a marriage. A good, sturdy marriage. A union that's stuffed with affection and humor and fidelity. But even that marriage has a voice, Pay attention to me. Celebrate me. Do not take me for granted. Even the most magical marriage takes work.

Man. In my life, there is a man. A handsome and happy and humble man. A man who loves me and understands me and tolerates my ways. And he says to me, sometimes aloud, I am here. Look at me. Let yourself relax and enjoy this. Me. Us.

Move. In my life, there is a new home. Almost finished. The walls are up. The floors are down. This home says to me, I will welcome you, but don't forget to say goodbye to your old home. Where so much happened, where you became a writer and a wife and a mother, where you lost your father and found your passion.

These days, I am many things. I am a mother. A blogger. A writer. A wife. His wife. A woman on the move.

These are wonderful things. These are amazing roles. This is a good life.

But I am overwhelmed. I am tired. I am smiling and squinting and struggling through long days. The bounty is brilliant, but it is also a lot to carry at once.

And so. I don't know, but I think that is why I had that moment. That slippery Sunday moment when five words floated through my head, one by one, forming a sentence I don't like, but one I understand.

I am not good enough.

Because maybe when we are happy and harried and stretched and spinning, we have moments where we feel like we cannot hack it. Where we feel less than. Where we feel, well, not good enough to tackle the tangled trappings of our good and busy lives.

And so. Instead of pretending I didn't have that moment, I decide to acknowledge it. Right here. To honor it even. Because it was a real moment. A raw moment. A universal moment. A human moment.

A moment you've probably had before too?

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  • Have you ever felt inadequate when caught in the throes of real life?
  • Do you think blogging encourages vulnerability?
  • Do you feel like by doing so many things, we are stretching ourselves too thin?
  • Do you think this phenomenon of trying to do it all and have it all is part and parcel of humanity? Of modernity? Of parenthood? Of personhood?
  • When these five words float through your head, how do you cope?

(Say whatever you want. That you understand. That you don't. That I'm a spoiled brat. Just speak up. Tell me what I already know. That I'm not alone in this.)

ILI DAILY CHARMS: TRUTH VIA COLLEAGUES

* Do you ever wonder what it's like to be a baby, to be pillowed by unconditional and uncomplicated affection? I do. Please read this tiny and gorgeous post by Boy Crazy blogger Elizabeth.

* Do you sometimes feel something shifting? A "subtle change in direction"? Take a moment to read this post by new buddy Claire Bidwell Smith of Life in Chicago. It's simply stunning.

* Today friend and fellow blogger Gale of the wonderful new Ten Dollar Thoughts talks food and resolutions and vows to eat her veggies. Later today, I'm off to meet with esteemed Foodtrainer and advice-giving friend Lauren Slayton. Should I follow Gale's lead and go vegetarian for a bit? We will see what Lauren says. Stay tuned...

* Are you "demand resistant"? Click over to the lovely Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project and weigh in.

The Shallow End

And Then She Ate An Eyeball