As moms, we often think we must be it all – do it all – effortlessly and without error.
Many of us grew up watching perfect mothers on television every week (think June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show, and Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch). Then, we consistently see those seemingly-superhuman “PTA Moms” – or thriving career women – who appear to do everything ultra-well, effortlessly. All this serving to make us feel woefully inadequate at times. Or at least, as if we must continually shoot for a bar that is WAY UP THERE….
One could argue that some pressure is good – that it makes us strive for “more” and to be “better.” However, an unrelenting pressure where we base our worth on the opinion of others (or a likely-warped perception we hold about their perfection) is just not healthy.
Holding such unrealistic expectations isn’t good for many reasons. For one, living up to a picture-perfect ideal we impose onto these idols is largely impossible. Mostly, because it likely doesn’t even exist where we see it.
Very rarely can any human being – Supermom, Superwife, Superdaughter, Superboss, or otherwise – truly do everything at 100% and maintain their happiness, health, and sanity. It’s just not reasonable to expect that anyone can (or even should) perfectly meet the demands of everyone and every commitment or responsibility, with only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. To do so creates a fictional standard—a fantasy – that is unfair to them and us. It also dooms us to an inevitable “failure” from square one.
The more we try to meet such unrealistic expectations, the more we see ourselves as falling short. The more we see ourselves as falling short, the more tempted we are to engage in unhealthy behaviors that aren’t good for anyone in the long run.
When you are so busy trying to be and do for everyone else, the person likely shortchanged is you. And when you don’t take care of YOU, you aren’t good to anyone.
Yet, it’s hard not to look at what we see in – or the perceptions we impose onto – others and measure ourselves (and our efforts and results) accordingly. What we must do then, is change our measuring stick!
It is very likely (almost guaranteed) that your life, where you spend most of your time, and what you do well, are all already reflecting what’s truly important to you. Thus, your happiness, satisfaction and general well-being are dependent on you continuing to do those things. They are also dependent on your continuing to be true to yourself and the results those natural priorities manifest. Not what you think you should be doing. Or what you think others think you should be doing.
Your measuring stick must shift so that you only measure yourself – and your success – by these things… what you already consider important. Once more, this will be evidenced by what you are already doing well—and with joy.
When you shift your perception, your view of what “perfection” is, changes too. Suddenly, it becomes “perfect” to do those things that must be done – but that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things – “good enough.” Consequently, “good enough” becomes “enough” and your heart, soul, and mind become freer than you could ever imagine.