Managing my expectations
Have you ever planned something out in your head and then after the event felt so deflated, let down and frustrated that you didn't try harder? That could be a project at work, a diet, exercise regime or trip to the park with your kids.
If you have children you know them moments.
Example... let's take one simple trip to the park!
We will all go to the park, hold hands skipping in, we will hear the sound of the ice cream van and it's happy tune will become louder as it approaches. We will sit at the benches eating ice cream with happy faces and then leave for home at the agreed time, tired from all the fun and ready for bed.
Tantrum leaving the car as your toddler thought your 'new car' (got 2 months ago) was white and not grey.... now demands white (tantrum continues). You drag children into the park, 'they will have fun' you confirm in your head! Children go on swings, you push swings and at the highest point they decide it's time for the seesaw immediately. You are already exhausted and answer an incoming call as it will take 1 minute... 10 minutes later and you are aware of the looks for being 'that mum'. Finally 15 minutes of lovely playing together, everyone is happy. Sound of the ice cream van approaches... you forgot your purse and visualise it on the hall table. Add the sound of children's disappointed (rightly so) whines. It's now almost bedtime and you have two tired (but cranky) kids. They are not leaving, so you carry one horizontally while the older one knows you mean business and runs along.
Unwilling to confirm or deny if I am sharing a personal experience - ok, it may be exaggerated but it's more realistic than the dream above! 🤪
Later that night when you get sitting down with both kids in bed you think 'shit, I missed my chance' even though really, so much was out of your control but you are working tomorrow so plan to try better on Sunday.
I'm scared that in the excitement of having the summer off with the girls to make memories, fun filled adventures and time together that come the end of September I will have these feelings of 'I should have tried harder'.
The fear that maybe I'm only a good mummy in small doses. I know I need to work, as long as I am able I will be employed/ self employed as I know I/ we as a family need it. This isn't me making out I'm better than anyone, quite the opposite actually! I don't think I'm good enough, maternal enough, domesticated enough, patient enough to be at home full time.
I didn't even know I really had these worries until I heard myself saying it to my boss, 'I'm scared that I'll actually realise I'm a crap mum.'
I've had to clear this in my own mind. They are fed, loved, cared for, hugged when they are upset and praised everyday. When something happens it's me they run to, when they are sick it's my arms they want to rest in.
I know I'll not cut down a tree to make my own set of eco friendly wooden toys, hell some days I might even use the tv too much.
But I'm not letting myself evaluate days or my parenting based on my own unrealistic expectations. I can't blame social media or a fairy tale vision, I'm a big enough girl with common sense. These expectations are my own, created by me. I know one thing for sure. I will try, I do try and the girls someday will say 'mum didn't always get it right, but she tried'.
So I'm sharing my thoughts for any other mum that feels inferior, like she could try harder, work harder, be more present, a better wife, mum, employer or employee... give yourself a break! Also I may need to read this back at the end of September when I think 'I should have tried harder'.