Welcome to the Good Enough is Good Enough Book Club! We’re reading Good Enough is Good Enough by Colleen Duggan.
Friends, I have a confession to make: I really like this book. I threw prudence to the wind and blazed right through it when I probably should have gone to bed; I just couldn’t stop reading! It’s been awhile since I read something that was at once both challenging and so affirming.
I wish we could overcome the limits of time and space and be sitting together around my kitchen table, coffee cups brimming, so we can read our favorite lines aloud to each other (while pretending that all our kids are playing peacefully together in the next room). But even though we are accepting the limits of time and space right now, let’s settle in, fill our cups — literally and figuratively — and dig in together.
First, how wonderful is it that Colleen has organized the chapters as confessions?! It has made me give real consideration about what my confessions might be. It only took me about nine pages for a big one of my own to be brought to light.
Confession: I am significantly kinder to anyone else than I am to myself.
When I got to Colleen’s “aha!” moment that precipitated the big shift and eventual healing, I just wished so deeply that I could time travel and be there with her in the kitchen that day. You know the story: Mary Bernadette and the million plastic beads on the floor (because once you’ve got 8,500 beads on your floor, it might as well be a million). I wanted to be able to give Colleen a big hug, grab a broom and dustpan and help her clean up the mess while swapping war stories of motherhood and messiness. I wanted to look her in the eye and say, “It’s okay, mama; we’ve got this.”
I would never have told her that she really should have known better; or that if she gave her kid more attention maybe these things wouldn’t happen; or that 8,500 beads on the floor is really only fitting given how disgusting her house is right now. I wouldn’t have said any of the things that I would have told myself. You know why I’d never tell her those things? Because not only are they not helpful, they’re not even true!
Can you relate? Do you offer mercy to other moms and then hold yourself to a higher (read: impossible) standard?
What is most interesting to me is that Colleen is offering us, her readers, that encouragement that I so want to have given her. Her honesty about her own struggles and her story of working through perfectionism and self-criticism is as real and as helpful as if she were to show up at my house with a hug, a broom, and a dustpan. She isn’t beaming into my kitchen when I completely lose my cool with my toddlers, but she has given me a very real and desperately needed pep talk that I can return to when I need to give myself more grace.
I’m seriously considering hanging these lines on my refrigerator (since most of our meltdowns happen in the kitchen):
- “Counseling helped me to begin to let go of the notion that I had to do everything right or doom all of us to failure.” (page 10)
- “I could accept myself as God made me – weaknesses included – and then I needed to turn to him to make me well.” (page 13)
- “There is always work to be done or a familial need to be filled, so we often put off what we most need – whether it is human, social, emotional, or spiritual – in order to continue our vocational work. But we can’t give what we don’t have…” (page 36)
- “If the founder of a religious order who sent priests to evangelize every corner of the world saw fit to encourage good sleep, eating, exercise, prayer and personal habits, why should we feel it is acceptable to ignore our own basic human needs?” (page 40)
There are so many other things I could talk about in these two chapters, but I think we’re all probably getting to the time when our kids will start asking for snacks. So let’s close with a couple of questions to think about and then talk about together.
To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:
- If you were writing a book like this one, what would your first big “confession” be?
- What was the most encouraging line that you read in these first two chapters that spoke to you right where you are in your season of motherhood? And why do you think you needed to hear it so badly at this moment in time?
Next week, we’ll cover Chapters 3 and 4. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Book Club page.
Copyright 2018 Megan Swaim