Thursday, October 4, 2012

Balancing Motherhood and Expectations: Part 2

On Monday, I blogged on Balancing Motherhood and Expectations, wherein I outlined three things we can do when other people's expectations seem to overwhelm us. Today I've got two more tips to share, plus a little story, about how sometimes life conspires against us, even when we really try our best to meet expectations. These tips continue from the first blog post, which is why they're numbered 4 and 5.

4. Accept help without grudging.

For certain personalities (like mine!) accepting help can be hard. When someone offers to help us, we feel like we're only getting help because were a bit of a failure and our previous efforts aren't good enough. If we were good wives, mothers, etc., then no one would ever offer to help with anything.

Whatever you do, don't fall into this thought pattern. It's a lie, and believing it will bring you little happiness. If you're a mom who gets up every morning and works for her family, if you make choices based on what's best for your children and husband, then you are NOT a failure, regardless of how sticky your kitchen cabinets are, or that there's a mess underneath the kitchen table--where you swept fifteen minutes ago.

Most offers of help are genuine. Have you ever offered to help a friend or loved one and then had a great time doing so? I know I have. The truth is, when someone sees you in need and offers to help, accepting that help can mean blessings not just for you, but also for them. So the next time someone sees a need in your life and offers to help, realize the person is likely trying to be a blessing, not viewing you as a failure. Every person on the planet needs a helping hand once in a while. You're far from the only one!

5. Realize that your efforts will not always go according to plan.

If we live isolated on a mountaintop with only bears and wolves to keep us company, we might find that we can control everything that happens to us . . . or mostly everything. Because if you really lived on such a mountaintop, there would still be threat of wildfire, avalanche, bear and wolf attacks, and the like.

When we live in busy households and share bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, etc. with our children and spouse, our hard work and efforts don't always turn out the way we expect them too. People move that important bill from the table to the counter, and kids spill juice on that thank you note you finally got around to writing. Don't get frustrated. Instead take a deep breath and understand that plans sometimes change because of others in your family.


So, now for my funny story. Last week I FINALLY got around to writing a thank you note, filling out a survey form, and typing a response letter about a book I'd been given to analyze. Keep in mind I should have had these letters written at least three weeks earlier, if not a month. But I blocked out time in my schedule, got everything written, printed, stuffed in an envelope, addressed, and sealed. But I didn't have any stamps. So I left the letter on a corner of the table that usually remains undisturbed.

Had I remembered to get stamps the next day, the letter could have gotten in the mail as it should. Unfortunately I forgot. And forgot and forgot and forgot. At some point in my forgetfulness, I set a water bottle beside the envelop. No big deal.

Except the water bottle leaked. All over my nice, perfect letter. When I held the bottle up to figure out why there was water all over my table, I discovered a subtle crack in the metal along the bottom.

So then I was stuck rewriting and printing everything. The letter got in the mail an entire week late. And as I was going through the process of re-mailing everything to a sweet older couple who probably expected to hear back from me four weeks ago, I decided that I wasn't going to feel guilty about what happened. I'm a mom with two little boys and a very busy life. It while was kind of that couple to buy me lunch, give me a book, and ask my opinion on it, responding to them took a lot of time.

Time that is precious. Time I didn't have. And time I don't regularly allot, because I'm a mom who writes, not a business woman who happens to have children.

But every night when I go to bed, and even twenty and thirty years from now, I don't and won't regret my decision to be a wife and mom first. Because my family is more important than keeping some acquaintances happy.

So what about you? Do you ever find yourself questioning your priorities about motherhood?

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