09 January 2012

Expectations

We all have expectations that we put on ourselves. Expectations about who we should be as a person, as a spouse, as a parent, as a friend, as a worker/coworker, student, etc. The list goes on. We even bring hidden expectations for our partners into our marriages. Sometimes we might have expectations for friends or family members, or for our children.

I have all those. The hardest expectations that I have though, are the expectations I have for myself. I have always been hard of myself. All my life I have strived to be the best at whatever it is that I am doing. It must be that perfectionist, A-type personality coming out in me. I'm working on that . . . it's a work in progress.

Never has this been more true however, than now. Yes, now that I am a stay at home wife and mother, not working, not going to school. Which is ironic since I don't have to a boss or a teacher that I have to work to please.

I just have this view of what I think I should look like/be as a wife and as a mother. That view includes getting up early to do my quiet time and Bible study, fix Mike breakfast, get ready for the day (shower), do a few chores before the kids get up. Get the kids up and dressed in matching clothes (not the kids matching each other, their tops matching the bottoms). Do a few more chores, play with the kids, read to them, do neat crafts that I can display on the fridge, teach them a few things, fix a great, nutritious lunch, they go down for a nap and then I work on a novel, homemade cards,write encouraging notes to friends or something in that arena, do more chores (all these chores would make the house clean and presentable), fix a nutritious dinner with a nice dessert, have family time and devotions, put children to bed and have time with my husband. And I would make cookies for neighbors and friends, make meals for people in the church, and basically save the world on the side.

That is so NOT what my day/life looks like. My day looks more like this: Wake up some time after 0800 or 0830 to the kids fussing in their rooms, struggle to get out of bed while getting upset with myself that I slept in, AGAIN, Mike is long gone to work,  put my contacts in, get the kids up and change their diapers, go downstairs and fix breakfast, attempt to do chores, occasionally read to the kids, usually while I"m nursing Daphne, continue to attempt to the same chore I started 30 minutes earlier but got interrupted because of squabbling or getting a sippy or changing a poopie diaper, realize that Mike will be home for lunch in 15 minutes and hurriedly throw something together for lunch, usually not all that nutritious (I seem to have a constant forgetfulness of vegetables lately), try to get the dishes at least partially done, put the kids down for a nap, sit down to nurse Daphne and either fall asleep or lose track of time on FB, realize it's too late to fix that dinner I planned AND I forgot to do my quiet time again,and throw something together for dinner, Mike plays with the kids after dinner and does baths, I sit down with Mike for a little bit and it's time for bed.  And I'm still in my pajamas as I write this.

You see where there is the chronic failure to meet expectations?? (This is why I don't make new year's resolutions).

So today I decided I'm going to change my outlook on my expectations. Or change my expectations. Either way I've just feeling too much pressure lately. I don't know if it's the constant piles of laundry that need to be put away that seem to be lurking everywhere, or the scattered toys that litter the living room floor that I am constantly tripping over, or the growing layer of dust and stuff on the bathroom and kitchen floor that keeps reminding me I need to sweep, or the hundredth time of sleeping in and feeling like I can't control my day . ..  BUT I am done with that.

I do enjoy sleeping in. Especially since Daphne is still sleeping in our bed and quite frankly, I love that. It's such a precious time waking up with her in the morning as she cuddles in closer and looks for something to eat. I even love the little kicks she gives me as she's nursing. And let's face it, she won't be there forever. She'll get bigger and move into her own bed. And that sweet time will be over forever. Soon Sophie and Edward will be starting school (either at home or at school) and they'll have to get up early to be on time for that. These days of lounging around all day in my pajamas (ok, I don't lounge all day, it just feels like it because I'm still in my PJ's) won't last forever. I might as well enjoy these little things while I can. Consider them small gifts of the day.

I need to realize too that I am not a super-woman who can do everything. I am not that woman who can keep her house immaculately clean and get everything done and have cute handmade cards for every occasion and her Bible study completely done with every eye dotted and tee crossed every week and a gourmet meal three times a day and look great doing it. It's too much pressure to try to be that person. I don't have life all together and worked out. Maybe I never will. But that's okay. My children know that they are loved, they are well-fed, they have a roof over their heads and they have clean clothes, even if those clothes come from a pile at the end of the bed and not hangars in the closet.

So I'm putting those wife and mother expectations of mine away. For now. Maybe in a year I'll pull them back out and review them and see what happens. Today though, I'm me. Me in pajamas with a sleeping baby on my lap, sporting a shark fin hair do, have dirty dishes in the sink, toys everywhere and the only half the Christmas decorations taken down. :)

What kind of expectations do you put on yourself? Do you think you match up or not?

2 comments:

Sierra said...

I think we've all been there. I actually didn't get my shower till 5 pm tonight because I wanted those extra 20 minutes of sleeping in this morning. I don't know any woman with small kids who meets those expectations you mentioned. I can try but know I will always fail.

Sarah Kinsley said...

I feel like you're describing me a bit here! :) You're so not the only one! I think we all set expectations of ourselves a little too high. It's hard meeting them with the struggles of everyday life to deal with too! So I think just being you and doing what you can is just perfect! :)