It’s been one of those days.
You know the ones I’m talking about. The days when motherhood feels just so. Dang. Heavy. Weeks when you are overwhelmed by both the scribbled lists of tasks, and the empty lines that lie beneath them.
Pressure to check off the boxes, AND pressure to add more boxes.
You have to meal plan, and exercise, and cook, and enjoy cooking, and vacuum, and bake homemade goods, and make sure the kids do their chores, and homeschool, and potty train, and dictate naptimes, and mediate all fights, and garden, and recycle, and make sure the kids play outside, and pay bills, and implement more Asian cuisine into your family’s diet, and wash the dishes, and plan family trips, and decorate your home HGTV style, and shower, and mow the lawn, and revise the budget, and file taxes, and teach your daughter how to fold towels, and minimize your possessions, and Konmari the crap out of all the drawers, and grocery shop, and take the car in for maintenance, and read several books, and spend time with the husband, and practice hospitality, and stretch, and wash clothes, and clean the air filter, and mail the rent, and babywear, and maintain a decent temperature in the house with the wonky heat pump system, and learn to play video games, and change diapers, and empty the garbage, and book the babysitter, and whiten your teeth, and monitor TV time for the kiddos, and plan birthdays, and iron, and put on make up, and find the perfect jeans, and teach the kids table manners, and memorize Scripture, and make sure every meal is well balanced, and call your grandmother, and smile, and eat lunch, and try not to be a pushover to your own kids, and, and, AND!!!!!
If I hear or see one more “and”, I think I’ll scream.
One thing that they never warn you about is that the expectations of motherhood only seem to multiply each year.
And I don’t know about you, but some days I can feel myself cracking under the weight, as my frame shifts and twists, striving to maintain a solid form. I usually succeed, but at the price of refreshment, resulting in an hardened shell that I use to push through my days.
To answer a few quick questions: yes, I know that all the things mentioned are good things. Every mother wants good things for their families, and I’m no exception. No, my husband does not place these expectations upon my shoulders (he carries just as much as I do). And no, I’m sorry but I don’t have a quick, 3 step solution to neatly wrap up this post.
I wish I did.
But the truth is that I’m still in the middle of it. I’m still sifting through what works and what doesn’t. I am painfully aware that the majority of these expectations I have placed upon myself, or chosen to accept them from another when I don’t need to.
But gosh darn it, it’s hard to wade through them as your fight your own footing from repeatedly being trapped in the shallows. Sometimes it feels like just another thing you have to do. Another “and”.
That “and” fights against the joy of being a wife and mother. It drains the days of life and glory that is mine to have.
But the reality is that I have to do these tasks. It’s my job, my duty. There are several people, several lives, that depend upon me. I cannot drop everything and become a nomad writer, or ask my husband to quit his job and become a farmer. That doesn’t make any sense, nor does it solve the problem.
The problem is “and”. The problem is that more and more “ands” pop up when I stop saying “no”.
I need to recognize that I am in a season of life that requires me to say “no” more than I would like to. To ask for help when I need it, and accept help when it’s offered. To learn to wait, and be okay with it. To plan without extra. To refuse, even though the gifts are good. To stop apologizing for adjusting the plan to fit our family’s needs, or my needs.
To say “no” to the expectations that crush, in order to make room for the ones that grow.
What about you? What expectations do you carry?