There are moments in motherhood that no one can really prepare you for … ever. I experienced one of those last week. I was sick as a dog and had been for days. As you know, being a mom is hard, but being a sick mom is inches from impossible. After getting all three kids to school and Mothers’ Day Out, I made my way back home where I DID NOT go lay in the bed all day. Instead I cleaned my house like a crazy person. I even mopped the floors. Bless it. The whole day I killed myself cleaning house, a task I don’t enjoy when feeling well.
Eventually, it was time to get the kids and I was officially beyond exhaustion. To survive car line with two little boys in tow we swung by McDonald’s and picked up a Sprite for each kid. At this point, my kids think I’m the BEST! Oh, how the tide would turn. After we made it back to the house, I unbuckled my boys to discover that the 3-year-old had taken his half empty Sprite and shoved it BETWEEN the car seats in the back of the van. I about lost my mind. Seconds later, as I picked ice out from the seats, I heard a commotion. I walked slowly in only to realize that my precious daughter had dropped her ENTIRE Sprite on my freshly mopped kitchen floor. *This is the exact moment I lost control of my mind! The floor I had worked so stupidly hard to sweep and mop all day was now covered in sticky sweet soda. The next several hours in our house were NOT pleasant. So very many tears were shed.
No one tells you about this kind of stuff at your baby showers.
The night ended with apologies, mostly from me. Thankfully my brilliant husband stepped in and sent me to bed. What in the world was I doing? Couldn’t I let myself rest and been better prepared to handle picking up my kids? Why did I feel like my house HAD to be cleaned? What pushes us beyond our limits so often?
That’s what moms do; that’s what’s expected of me. However, when we dig a little deeper into the statement it begs the question, who is setting the expectations? Are these expectations from me or from my Facebook page? I feel like I revisit this topic through every stage of motherhood. From newborn to toddler and school age, the expectations seem to change, but they surely don’t ease up! So after totally botching it once again, let me take a moment to share with you the steps I use to set realistic expectations for myself and my mothering.
Give Yourself Grace
It must start here. Moms, we are everything to our little ones. The worst part is we are going to mess up. Whether it’s a big giant blow up or just a foul attitude after a long night, we are going to mess up. Give yourself grace to try again. Nothing is more powerful than a woman/mother who is not chained to her past mistakes.
Set Attainable Goals
These goals are not for your friends, extended family or social media. These are real, actual, attainable goals for the day, week or month. Look, when you are in that newborn stage with your baby, taking a shower may not make that list daily. Let’s be honest, it’s not on my list every day! Don’t look to your left or to your right. Sit with your reality and decide what you can do. Maybe you are super woman and can do everything. I cannot. Just being in the PTA stresses me out a little. Maybe one day I’ll be room mom, but today is NOT that day.
Ask for Help
Do it! Ask for help in the big things and the small things. Ask your husband. Ask your parents. Ask your friends. Ask anyone that will answer the phone! When things get too big to handle, step back and call in reinforcements. After the Sprite incident, I knew I couldn’t handle all my normal tasks for the week like I usually do. My husband was a champ and stepped up big time. I called my mom in from Mississippi. Of course, she said yes. Call them in to help. Call them ALL in!
Just because your day consists of cutting grapes in half or matching endless pairs of socks does not mean you shouldn’t dream and dream BIG! Find your passion, dear mama. Give yourself a place to go, a place that gives you fulfillment beyond your daily to do list. Your dreams matter. Today may not be the day you take the first step, but make today the day you decide where it is you want to go!
So I pick up the towel and dry up all the Sprite off the floor, grab the mop and clean up the mess. Tomorrow is a new day, mama, a new chance to set yourself up for success. Let’s take a deep breath and set our own expectations, one day at a time.