Having witnesses a lot of mommy wars in certain comments on certain mommy blogs I not only started thinking about what actually triggers it but also about the expectations we have in ourselves and in other parents. How does a negative feedback on a thought we share affect us? How does a feedback influence what we expect others to do, to say, maybe to think and definitely to communicate? And how do expectations we have in ourselves and in others influence the feedback we give?
There’s a lot of pressure out there. Pressure that gets put on our shoulders and weights us down and pressure we actually put on ourselves. Why do we do it and how can we deal with it?
In my early stage of blogging I wrote a post about expectations and what they do to me. Maybe I would phrase it slightly differently today but I still feel the same. It’s time to shake them off or at least take control over them.
I am so over them! Expectations! They are everywhere!
I thought I was really good already. Thought, that I might have shaken most of them off my back. But I can still feel them breathe down my back.
Years ago, only a couple of weeks after I came home from the hospital with our first born, we had a friend and his back then girlfriend over for dinner. I admit I never liked her. Just did not. Never.
What I really struggled with at this point was the amount of pressure I suddenly felt. There I was… unsure which cloths I should try to put on, as nothing I would have liked to wear actually fitted me at this point. And I knew that I did not want to wear my Yoga pants with her coming over…
I haven’t had a chance to shower for probably two days or even longer (which we all agree happens when you are a new mom…). I did not have bad hair days then. I had bad hair weeks. Sleep deprived and so on… you name it.
The house we lived in was a mess. Cleaning was not on top of my list then and neither was tidying up. I felt like there was stuff everywhere! Which, looking back now, was probably not the case. But it felt that way. And there was all the baby stuff as well.
There I was. Facing her. Her, who always looked like she just came out of a fashion magazine. Not one hair out of place. Always really nicely dressed. Makeup always immaculate.
And you should have seen her place! We’ve been over there a couple of times. Actually also without a warning, just dropping something off. Her house was always clean. Always tidy! Not one single little bit of dust. It always looked as if you walked into a model home. You know, those places which look like the homes they show at the end of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition… Just stunning and perfect… and tidy…
And I knew! I knew she would walk in and run her finger over my furniture, picture or window frame just to check for dust. I knew she would check the place only to see, that it was not as tidy as it could be. I knew she would check me out. I knew she would drop a remark about the fact, that I had to get rid of my baby weight (as I said, it was only a couple of weeks after birth. I did not gain a massive amount of weight but you moms know: Our body does not bounce back to the before pregnancy state right away…). And I knew she would look at me that way. You know, when they scan you from top to toe and back again… And I hated it. I had all those expectations (and I was right… it all happened)!
So first I played with the idea of just saying no to that dinner. But I knew that hubby was looking forward to it. And then I played with the idea of going nuts in my home, cleaning and tidying up everything, shower, makeup, getting nicely dressed and so on.
And then it hit me! No! I would not do this! I was in my home. She was invited to my home. If she would not like it here, bad luck. So I showered and put on a fresh pair of Yoga pants (fancy, right…) and a fresh shirt (which ended up with Baby’s vomit stains anyway of course… but at least I made an effort). And I decided to have a nice evening and ignore her. And maybe in doing so, I fulfilled her expectations, but who cares! I was able to let go of having the expectation in myself of applying to hers. Just one tiny little step forward…
This was sort of an Aha-Moment for me! Something clicked. I decided, that I do not have to apply to all expectations. That I can shake some off and be totally fine.
Unfortunately it is not as easy. A lot of them are home made. They are my expectations. Expectations I have in me. Or at least I think so. Because there is a fine line between them being actual “expectations” or them being taught behavior (some might call it manners…). It’s the “you just don’t do that” or “you should not” or “it is not the way we would like it to be” and so on. I am sure you know what I mean. So it is kind of programmed into your system. You behave a certain way and you expect people to behave a certain way. Kind of like starting a conversation with “So what do you do for a living…”.
It is a steep learning curve, with throwbacks and bumps in the ride. And it is hard. And sometimes it feels like you are swimming against the current. But you are actually not. You are fighting being drawn into someone else’s river. And I do not want to swim in another river. I want to swim in mine!
And that might not be what other people want you to do! So they try so hard to make you bend over, to form you the way they want you to be. They try so hard to make you swim in their waters.
I don’t want to! I don’t want to be the way you want me to be! I don’t want to apply to your idea of perfect! I don’t enjoy swimming in your waters! I don’t! I am so over it. I am so over the fact, that I feel so much pressure. I am so over the fact, that people in my life still feel like they have to tell me what they expect me to do. What they think is best! Bullshit!
I am a grown up woman. I love my life! I love the people I have in my life on a daily base! I am a mom. I bloody hell know what I do (at least as much as I can expect myself to know… ha see! Expectation again…). Just because my decision is not fitting a picture of someone else or does not apply to the way it is usually done, does not mean it’s wrong.
I am so over this. Why is it, that people always think they can tell you what to do? Why do some people try to make you feel bad so you apply to their expectations? What is it, that makes them think, that they have the right to tinker with you?
Even in a child-parent relationship: You get to the point in life, where a child is grown up. Of course they will always be your babies. But they are grown up! And hopefully responsible and well aware of what THEY want in life. Why should I, as a parent, keep telling them how they have to live their life, to what “rules” they have to apply? Which or whose expectations they have to fulfill?
There comes a day, when you just have to let go! You have to let go of someone. Of expectations in someone. Of putting pressure on that person. The only person who truly has a right to have expectation in you is you. And even then: Cut yourself some slack!
One day I will look at my grown up kids. And I hope that day I will see two strong personalities who only have one expectation in themselves: Always do the best you can in whatever you do. It is all I am hoping for.
And again… expectations… 😉