Friday, April 2, 2010

Expectations of Motherhood.

This is the last in my series of posts about my new favorite mom book I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids, by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile. The other two posts are here (Dirty Little Secrets) and here (Mom Guilt). And I should mention that I was NOT asked to read and review this book.  I found the book at the library and really liked it, so I decided to blog about it.

A theme throughout the book is mothers’ unrealistic expectations of themselves. A month back, I had this wonderful Aha moment about my self-imposed definition of being a good mom, and found that I was being incredibly unrealistic and unfair. This realization has helped me be nicer to myself and a better mom, so I really related to what Trisha and Amy wrote about expectations. They also recommended making a list of our expectations and analyze their impact.

So I identified and evaluated some of my expectations.

EXPECTATION 1: I will wake up happily each morning and feel excited and ready for the day! And, almost daily, I fail. My oldest son, AB is an early riser. Typically he wakes between 6:00 and 6:30am. While he is good about following our “you can’t come out of your room until 7:00am” rule there are times when he wakes me because of some “important” question or story he has to tell. But, regardless, I am not a morning person and when 7:00am does arrive, I am not feeling happy, excited, or ready for the day. Most mornings I am not well rested, grumpy, and all I want to do is roll over and go back to sleep. Not a great way to start the day! Note to self: Must change this expectation, it is unattainable right now.

EXPECTATION 2: Most of my thoughts, actions, and motivations should be for the benefit of my children. Even when I do something wonderful with or for my children, if I do it begrudgingly, or with motivations that are not purely for them, I feel like I have failed. For instance, right now we are all in the backyard and my boys are having a great time painting. But, because I got out the paints to occupy them so I can focus on writing, I feel very selfish and therefore, again, I have failed them. Note to self: Wow, that’s not very fair to me! Time to adjust the expectation.

EXPECTATION 3: I should keep an incredibly clean house, like my mother did. Each time I see a dust bunny, or a dirty bathroom, I feel the pang of failure. It’s almost as if I think I should have cleaned the house before the dust bunny had the chance of forming and that its mere existence is proof positive that I do not clean enough. I know it is not reasonable, and recently, I have tried to be more forgiving of myself. Note to self: Continue to forgive. Dust bunnies and dirty toilets happen. It’s ok.

I know there are more expectations I have – some are achievable and fair and others, like the ones above, are unrealistic. I am working on evaluating each to make changes.

What are you unrealistic expectations that you can change?

As Trisha and Amy say,
“if each of us lets go of the insane expectations, we’ll collectively create an environment that feels much better to us all.”


Shell said...

Right now, it's that I can go somewhere with all three of my kids and have it go smoothly and never have a moment of panic. Because my kids are all still so young, it's not realistic of me to think that they'll all just stay put. I have to have eyes in the back of my head. And I have to ignore the moms who only have one little one running around, who give me dirty looks for running around like a maniac, trying to be sure that I know where all my kids are.

Jen said...

I don't have a lot of expectations anymore. I know I won't wake up refreshed and ready to go, that's what coffee and my time with Matt Lauer is all about. I know I can't keep the house as clean as I would like to but I do try to get it in shape when guests come over which thankfully isn't all that often. I'm really looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the reviews!

Tylaine said...

I won't even take all three of mine out alone! I just wait till husband gets home to do all my stuff :) And ditto to number 2 especially....sometimes I feel like I'm just doing activities with the kids so I "look" like a decent mom that doesn't let my kids watch t.v. all day :) Great Reviews Kim....I absolutely loved these posts!

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