Today I want to get you to consider if your expectations for yourself as a mother are, perhaps, a bit too high.
Why? because expectations that are too high can dramatically decrease your productivity, ability to be present with your family and, most importantly, your overall sense of well being.
So let me ask you …
Do you ever feel completely drained and unaccomplished at the end of each week? Like you are running on empty yet STILL feel like you should be doing MORE?
More importantly, do you try to do aaaaalllll the things – keep the house clean, change diapers, help with homework, manage the budget, go to work, put healthy meals on the table, shower, be present with the kids …. and actually accomplish a few of those things, but yet still feel like it’s not enough?
You’re Drained. Defeated. And feel like you are not good enough because you didn’t check ALL the boxes.
This this kind of feeling is created by having expectations of yourself that are too high.
And we tend to have unreasonably high expectations for ourselves when we unconsciously take on expectations from other sources – be it a well meaning family member or our culture. And often we don’t realize the weight it’s carrying in our lives.
Once we hit the point of feeling not good enough because of these unmet expectations it will actually cause us to spiral – becoming less productive, less present with our family and less satisfied with our life. And it goes on and on. Does this sound at all familiar?
It’s a yucky cycle that I refer to as Guilty Mom Syndrome.
This used to be me all. The. Time. (and still can be at times). I was a living example of Guilty Mom Syndrome – doing truly an amazing job in many areas of my life, but unable to see it because my expectations were unreasonably high for myself.
But once I became conscious of the fact that I had really high expectations of myself, and, more importantly, once I realized the impact it was having on me and those around me, I began to work to shift out of this.
So how can we begin to get out of this cycle?
1) Well first, the first thing I did was take inventory of how my expectations of myself and my week were impacting my own well-being and the well-being of my family.
Remember, it’s really hard to pour from an empty cup. So grab a blank piece of paper (or print my free downloadable worksheet) and free-write the answers to these questions to gauge where you are at:
- How stressed do I feel each day and each week?
- How much of this stress is coming from my expectations?
- Where am I tying my self-worth to what I am able to do?
- How is my stress and feeling not good enough affecting how I am around my kids (and spouse)?
- In what way is my stress actually causing me to become LESS productive?
Taking inventory can feel a little painful sometimes because we are confronted with areas of our life that need changing, that need work. And usually that’s the last thing you want – to add yet another thing to your plate.
However, by working on your expectations it affects all other areas of your life for the better and ultimately relieves stress.
2) Second, like I mentioned above, we need to start working on shifting out of having expectations that are too high and start realizing what is ACTUALLY REASONABLE to expect from ourselves.
Here are 3 fast, but effective way to get a reality check on your expectations:
- Check Your Time – Make a quick list of the things you generally expect yourself to do each week and roughly estimate how much time those things take you. Then take a quick look at your availability throughout the week and compare the numbers. Can what you are aiming to accomplish actually fit into your week? Do you leave yourself space for interruptions, hiccups and time for yourself?
- Check Your Priorities – Look over the list you made above. How many of these things are actual priorities for you? Do they line up with your values and desires or do they feel like a bit of a mishmash?
- Check Your Sources – Once again, look at the list you made in the “check your time” section. How many of these things are expectations you have of yourself because someone else said they should be a priority but maybe not you? Who or where did you get that expectation from?
Answering these questions will take a bit of time and some reflection, but it’s well worth it as you become more aware of the impact of your expectations and as your start exploring how to adjust them.
Make sure you grab the downloadable worksheet I created to help you walk through these questions.