As women and mothers there are certain expectations. I’m not sure where they came from, but we seem to hold ourselves to them without question. Why is that?
What are these expectations? We need to do ALL the things, be busy, know everything, keep it all together and look the part too. It goes much more beyond just these assumed expectations.
Stopping the Expectation Cycle
Where did these expectations come from? Other women in our lives? Those that we look up to, admire, wish we could be like? Have you ever delved into what goes on other than what you see? You see someone who looks like they have it all together, doing it all right, and making it look easy. But what you don’t know is what it takes to meet those expectations. Worry, overworking, stress, anxiety, physical ailments, no time for self care, and often missing out on important things.
My daughter is in a serious relationship. She is only 20. So, like all moms do, I had a conversation about not being too serious too quick and that NOW is the time to be selfish with her time. I wanted her to be able to do all the things she wants before settling down.
I talked about the difficulties of going to college while having kids and how there are many things that are out there and explore before getting married, having a family, etc. Well, she told me that even if she got married and had kids, she could do it because I did it.
Here’s the thing. I did it all despite a bad marriage, being a single mother to 3 kids for several years. I went to college while running a business and homeschooling three kids.
It was EXHAUSTING. And she is choosing to go that route, because I did it. She doesn’t know how hard it truly was. I didn’t show her that. All she saw was the end product. A successful business, a diploma. She didn’t see the nights I cried and cried. She didn’t see me up all night. She didn’t feel the stress and anxiety.
Ladies, our children are watching. Do we want another generation of women holding these same impossible expectations? Or do we want women who can learn the balance family life, work life and the ability to say ,“no”.
What Moms Know (and don’t know)
Moms know right amount of chocolate for perfect chocolate milk, where your jacket is, what size shoe you wear, you and your siblings birth weight, height and time of birth. Oh and probably who let the dogs out.
But, moms don’t know it all. (Don’t tell my kids I said that!) There is one thing most moms do not know. That is when to stop and take care of themselves.
Why is this? Why do we create a life where we assume that nothing will go right if we aren’t fixing, doing, helping, being. Yep, that’s right. We have created this monster. Our families, friends, etc have been taught through our own actions that they can expect us to always come to the rescue.
That needs to stop. We are spreading ourselves far too thin and not truly giving anyone our best selves. Think of all the things you do, feel responsible for, take on. Can you really say that you are able to give 100% to any of those? We have to learn that one things we don’t know. Taking care of ourselves is something saying “NO”.
It’s also asking for help. No, not asking, requiring help.
We give and do and help and when we are in need, everyone else is busy, can’t because their things are more important. Yup, we are on the back burner and not as important. Why? Because we do it all. We allow it. We are back to what we have taught people. We can do it all and we don’t need help. Don’t worry, I will take care of it.
It’s time we have different expectations.
Let me tell you a secret. I never cried in front of my kids. I never showed any weakness around them. In my head, this would not make me a strong mother. It would make me human and weak. Instead I soldiered through hard times never showing that vulnerability.
It’s uncomfortable to be vulnerable. It uncomfortable to change. While meeting all these unrealistic expectations we have put on ourselves is hard, its also comfortable. It’s what we know.
It’s time to get uncomfortable. Its time to make a change and teach our daughters better. We need to start being better examples of self-care and managing our expectations. Now is the time to be vulnerable and let those around us know we can’t (and won’t) do it all anymore.
It starts with grace. We need to extend the same grace we give to others around us, to ourselves. We need to treat ourselves with the same kindness that we show those around us that are struggling.
We need to create and maintain boundaries. There has to be a line that we draw between what we can do realistically and what is too much. This is so hard for me. I want to constantly be busy, being productive, doing it all. But I am really? Or am I doing this halfway and doing that a little bit and perhaps missing the really big things?
It’s time to start adding self-care to the to do list and actually checking that off! Create those boundaries. Change your own expectations and you will see others change as well.
What are some ways you can start taking care of your self? What expectations would you like to get rid of?