Don't Fall for the Hype
As mothers, it is so easy to fall into the belief that we’re doing something wrong when we’re unable to live up to unrealistic demands and expectations placed on us. The idea of turning away from the messages received from Pinterest and other social media about what the “good moms” do is something I’ve been figuring out in my own life for several years. I can remember the moment when I finally felt in my bones ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
I was standing in my kitchen unpacking my 1-year old’s bag from daycare when I pulled out several holiday gift bags. I’d grown accustomed to these gift bags when my daughter was in daycare. She came home with these bags for EVERY holiday; 1 from EVERY kid in her class. I quickly fell in line and sent in my own holiday gift bags because that’s just what you do… right?
It didn’t even dawn on me to send in gift bags for my son’s INFANT classroom. At first, I was filled with embarrassment that I forgot… what did the other moms think? The teachers? Clearly, I don’t have my shit together.
As I began to look through the bags my embarrassment shifted to anger; holiday-themed erasers, lollipops, A PENCIL. For a barely one-year-old? My anger was not at all towards the parents who put these bags together; they were probably as baffled as I would have been and did their best. My anger was towards the ridiculous expectations to always do everything to the 100th degree to the point that it literally makes no sense and serves no purpose.
Who is this Show for Anyway?
Really, what’s it all for? Because it’s fun for the kids? I can tell you my 1-year-old couldn’t care less. And in a world of so much excess, even when my daughter was a bit older, she might have played with the little trinkets for a few minutes before never thinking about them again. So again, who is it all for? So moms can feel like they’re being good mothers? Does it work??
I don’t believe so, any fleeting moments of accomplishment or pride are quickly replaced by the pressure to climb the next rung in the never-ending quest to feel good enough. It was that day that I vowed to never send in these gift bags again and I haven’t. But let’s not get it twisted, I’m not some highly evolved human who doesn’t battle twangs of feeling less than when I’m not showing up like all the other moms but I’ve learned some tips over the years that have helped me sit in that discomfort and honor myself … and my sanity on a more regular basis. I hope you find some of them helpful to you.
- Get clear on what is important to you because it is important to you and not what others expect of you or what you think you should be doing based on social media or anything else. Once you know what you truly value, the easier it is to make decisions that are in line with that.
- Weigh out the cost/benefit and be realistic about the physical, mental, and emotional load different tasks/ experiences will have. Too often the idea is far better than the reality and we end up disappointed.
- Check in with yourself, are the things you’re doing truly enjoyable and bringing more positivity to your life? If not, be really honest with yourself about why you’re doing it. Will there be a real problem if you don’t do it? If so, can you handle that discomfort? Do you have to participate in that cookie exchange, go to that work happy hour, that PTA holiday gathering?
- Know this. The more you learn to say No to the things that do not serve you (and ultimately your family) and Yes to yourself, the more you give others permission to do the same. The more we all play into this system where considering ourselves is seen as a sign of weakness or selfishness, the deeper we all become entrenched in the idea that we’ll never be enough.
**And if you LOVE putting together these bags or find it to be a really special and connecting time for you and your kids DO IT! I have my own version of holiday gift bags.
My point and hope is that we can all take a step back from the pressure to do the things that deplete us just because ‘that’s what good moms do’ but have no real benefit and that’s going to look different each one of us.**
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As mothers, we feel compelled to do it all and do it all exceptionally well. Let’s work on the feeling of being pulled together.