Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
More than any other job, the pressure on mothers is extreme. Expectations come from all over – society, family, our own children, and from within. Standing strong amidst all those stresses can be difficult, and when we waver for a moment, it can all unravel.
The key to standing up to expectations is to be realistic and confident enough in your own abilities to let others judgments go in one ear and out the other. We are constantly told that the role of a mother is the most important job in the world. Mothers frequently experience this undying need to live up to what that statement means in terms of perceived expectations. Yet, mothers rarely receive positive feedback ensuring them that what they are doing is correct.
Mothers don’t receive pay raises or evaluations helping them identify areas that can be improved. Instead, we constantly pick on ourselves and nitpick our own parenting. We live with the ideal that perfect motherhood is within our reach and we ought to strive for that.
Unrealistic expectations lead to guilt and undue pressure, and - in turn - ineffective mothering. Every mother should be conscious of this mother-trait and take steps to make sure she is operating from a realistically written handbook for motherhood. Understand the power of unrealistic expectations and the subsequent pressures that come along with them.
Effective mothers require appropriate stress management tools. No matter how organized, knowledgeable, or confident you are – balancing all the roles of motherhood is stressful. By making sure you are managing your stress – including getting enough sleep, eating right, and time for your Self – you will be better grounded in a world of reality where imperfection is just right.
Set up a support system. When other women are available for you to speak with, bounce ideas off of, and let it all out with – you will feel more accepting of the “bad mommy” moments. Your support system can be formal (something you speak about beforehand) or informal (you identify women who you feel comfortable calling in moments when you might need it).
Parenting mindfully will help the haystack from toppling over. You know how those little moments all add up until – finally – they just topple over and you can’t take it any more? When you are aware of the small picture as well as the larger picture, a lot of those small moments can be acknowledged and tossed aside instead of building up into a mound. Add tools to your repertoire that allow you to remain calm during difficult moments. Be aware of your own personal standards, your inner tuition, and setting realistic goals for yourself.
Unrealistic expectations can drive your life if you let them. The keyword is unrealistic meaning they are impractical, idealistic and unlikely you will achieve them. Setting realistic expectations of yourself will benefit your own life as well as your children’s lives.