Move Forward Mama - Part Three

 

It took me a long time to realize that expectations are almost all self imposed. It's a different story when we are growing up, of course. Our parents have certain expectations. They expect you to behave, to listen, to do your homework, etc... Some parents have unreasonable expectations and I'll be the first to say that I am incredibly guilty of this. As a parent, I have to give myself time outs to realize that no, my five and a half year old just isn't capable of getting ready in a timely manner. Anyone else have this issue? If you say, "let's GOOOO," they think you are saying, "Lets GOOOO SLOOOOOOW." :) 

All jokes aside, some expectations are just plain unreasonable for our kiddos.

But the amazing thing, the person we put the most unreasonable expectations on is ourself. 

Our society has a whole number of expectations for mothers, some of which are: if you're aren't happy doing the mom thing 100% of the time, then something is wrong with you.

Or: if you are a mom, but aren't working, then you're wasting your talents.

Or: if you're a mom, it's your responsibility to shoulder most of the child rearing, even if you are working.

The same goes for fathers! It blows my minds that about of expectations that are put on fathers these days. I always give a hats off to the pioneering dads out there who are proud to stay at home with their kids. One pervasive expectation in our society for fathers is that if they show emotions, they are weak.

Sheesh. Really? No pressure there. 

If these statements feel right for you, then carry on! By all means, if you're happy, then keep on truckin'. When we conform to outside expectations though, we are usually conforming to an idea that someone else had, rather than a representation of what resonates with our true selves.

On a personal level, my struggles started when I was at home with my three year old and my one year old. While I absolutely love my girls to pieces and I truly loved being their mom, my life felt lacking. My "job" was to take care of the kids and to take care of my husband. In hindsight, it sounds rather antiquated, but this was the expectation I put on myself. Soon after, I started to crack under the pressure of my own expectations. I was supposed to feel happy. I was supposed to feel fulfilled. I was supposed to feel like I was enough, but all I felt was "less than."

Why? The job of mother and wife actually are quite fulfilling for me, however, they simply didn't touch on all my values. While I was able to embrace many of my values in those roles, such as family, love, and connection, I also felt like I was having to sacrifice other important values in my life, such as experience, growth, travel, and friends. 

When I work with clients, I usually start off with a simple assessment that allows us to discuss values. I do this because our values are not only hot buttons to our own motivation, but to our truth. They are what allow us to live in alignment and live in integrity. 

As I have become more mindful of my own behaviors and habits, it is easier to find ways of incorporating my top values into any situation. This is important, because sacrificing our most beloved values for the sake of furthering someone else's can lead to depression, anxiety, and resentment. Boundaries play a critical role here as well, because it becomes much harder to honor our values when we don't have clear boundaries in place. 

If you're curious to take a free 30 minute values assessment, send me a message. I'd love to know what you value and how you can put up boundaries to honor them. (Just put "values assessment" in the subject line. 

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Jennifer Stambolsky