by Grace Ko

Two weekends ago, I went on a "staycation" with a girlfriend. Months in the works, the anticipation was killing me. Plans were to milk our "lounge access" and stuff ourselves to our hearts' content and then bask in our plush hotel beds donning our bathrobes, sheet masks on our faces. I was most excited about some good old alone time, eating without interruption, and personal space. You know, like going to the bathroom without a toddler clinging to your leg. 

But as I said goodbye to my little baby for my first night apart from him, a strange feeling started trickling in. Even though I had spent well past a year without a day apart from him since he was born, it's funny how quickly the "mom guilt" tape goes off in my head. Giving a goodbye kiss to him, I started feeling bad about parting with him and that tape - the one of guilt, lack, "never enough" - started to unwind. 

Now that J is one, the question I'm most often asked as of late - by friends, family, acquaintances, the random lady on the street.. - is, "When are you going to have a second?" It's one of those things that doesn't settle well with me, not because I don't like being asked, but because of what it implies: Why are we always in such a hurry to get to the "next best thing"? Why are we always asking each other about the next season in life and never ask how we're doing in THIS season, the present? Why do we as a society, as a church, as people, ask each other when we'll start dating/get married/have kids/have a second? Why can't we encourage one another to be present, to fully embrace our respective seasons, the here and now? Why can't we say to one another, "You're more than enough where you are", rather than the subtle, underlying message of "You really should here/there/wherever-you-are-not-currently?" 

It also bugs me because, you see, when you ask "When are you going to have a second?", you're implying that the when and how of having a second is in my control. But "family planning" is "planning" used loosely at best. Those that know our story know that these things can't really be "planned, controlled and executed" the way we desire. 

But the irony in all of this is, it's still a question that's worth contemplating. And in contemplation, my mind is focused on my lack. 

I already feel like I'm trying desperately to stay afloat (or stay awake most of the times) with a busy toddler walking, no, running around. I'm working on teaching him boundaries, like not to hit the TV, his own head, or my face. I feel like a good chunk of my day is spent telling him, "No" or "Don't do that". 

I'm trying. 
I'm trying my best to get him to eat veggies and introducing him to a variety of food.
I'm trying to teach him about his emotions.
I'm trying to maintain a relatively clean house.

And all this trying is hard work and exhausting. 

So a second child to all of this? It's overwhelming, scary and seems borderline masochistic. They say having a second isn't double the work, but exponentially more. This simple question that people so often ask me as of late makes me stop in my tracks because it hits home to some deep fears in my heart: "Can I really do it?" "Am I enough?" I'm already constantly fighting the urge to self-diagnose as a "bad wife", "a bad mom", unending lists of things I haven't done, ways I don't measure up. 

In one of my current reads (because I've recently adopted the practice of reading multiple books at a time), Brene Brown says

The opposite of ‘never enough’ isn’t abundance or ‘more than you could ever imagine’. The opposite of scarcity is enough...

My mom once returned to our place after a workshop on Drivers Personality Inventory. She had Y and me sit down to take it, then she explained the five personality types and shared our results with us respectively. Mine? It was BP: "Be Perfect". 

I will never forget what my mom said afterwards. She said that BPs need to practice telling ourselves, "그만큼이면 됐어..." "That's enough..."

I almost immediately burst into tears.
Have I EVER uttered those words to myself? No.
Have I EVER told myself that that was enough, that I was enough? No.

Whether I'd like to admit it or not, I guess I've always been a "glass is half empty" kind of person, one with a scarcity-mindset. I'm prone to thinking about, fixating on the things that are missing, what I'm lacking, what I could've done, should've done. 

But sometimes, we all just need to sit back in our plush hotel beds and learn to say, "그만큼이면 됐어..." 


"That's enough."
"I am enough."