It was the day before my son and daughter’s joint birthday party. About 35 people would be celebrating at our home the next day. It was the weekend, which at our house means my husband would be at work (he’s a pastor), so I wouldn’t have any help with the kids, or getting the house cleaned up and ready for company. I still had to clean up the house, get the yard ready, and clear off the back deck all while taking care of three kids. To top it all off, we had out of town family staying with us that week as well. I was tired, stressed, and had a lot on my plate. And yet…I was busily rolling out marshmallow fondant so my kids could have a home-made superhero cake. Did I want to just buy a store-bought cake? YES. But, I couldn’t bring myself to order a cake from the store. Why you may ask? Was it because I don’t like store-bought cake? Quite the contrary. (Shout-out to Costco’s bakery….you are officially awesome!) No…I was CERTAIN that if people showed up to the party (no matter the dozens of other things going on in my life at the moment), that they would INSTANTLY think, “Hmmm..Bekki got a store-bought cake..What a crummy mom.” While there may be one or two matriarchal figures in a group that would actually think such things or make a snarky comment, like “Oh, so you decided just to go with a store-bought cake? I guess that’s fine.” MOST people will NEVER jump to “You are a bad mom,” because of a fondant deficiency.
Why do we hold ourselves to such ridiculous standards? Where do we come up with the gigantic list of things we HAVE to do to be a “good mom.” (or a “good wife!”)
Here is another example of my self-imposed lunacy. When I was in highschool, a couple spoke at our church about marriage. The woman said to never let your husband see you in sweatpants or a ponytail. For whatever reason, that stuck with me (out-dated and wildly ludicrous as it was). I remember being about 9 months into our marriage when my husband came home from work early, and alas, found me in sweatpants and a ponytail. I started crying. CRYING! He of course started asking me which relative had died or if I had been watching “My Girl” again. When I told him that I was crying because I was so sorry to let him down, his eyes widened, thinking I must have done something pretty awful. When I “confessed” to allowing him to see me with a ponytail, he was about ready to look up the phone number for the loony bin. He wanted to know where on earth I had gotten such a ridiculous idea, and made certain I knew that it WAS NOT from him. That was not his expectation (and good thing, as the ponytail is a mother of four’s ally) – it was mine. I was holding myself to some crazy lofty standard that NO ONE expected me to meet (well, other than the nut-ball lady that spoke at my church.)
Crazy self-imposed expectations brought about this blog. I had just started my journey as a stay-at-home mom (one of the toughest jobs imaginable btw), and was feeling like a complete failure because I wasn’t happily skipping through the house with my bottle of disinfectant. There wasn’t a gorgeous pot roast waiting on the dinner table when my husband got home. I wasn’t ready to cross-stitch “I Heart Being a Mom” on a throw pillow. And darn it, I wasn’t vacuuming in heels and pearls (neither of which I own, so that would have been a real trick…) I wasn’t a “magazine” mom, or a scripted and fictitious movie mom, so I must be failing…I also saw things other moms were doing and the feelings of failure and “I’m not good enough” continued to sink in. That mom was wearing a put-together outfit (and jewelry) to the park and I had on a hoodie and jeans…I must be a failure. She just posted on facebook that she made homemade ravioli and bruschetta for dinner, and I made tater-tot casserole…Wow I’m a bad mom. She took her child to the museum AND out to ice cream AND to the library today…That’s more outings than we take in a month…I really must not be doing this right….Any of this lunacy ring a bell with you?
We MUST stop doing this to ourselves. Holding ourselves to crazy standards and unrealistic expectations is dangerous….We will never be able to thrive as mothers when we put ourselves in a position to fail. We have to stop worrying about what people might think and what “that mom” is doing, and just focus on what matters….our kids…our family….our well-being. (Yep, we’re important too!) We’re not perfect, but we wake up each day wanting what is best for our families and our children. We try. We fail. We’re chasing the dream…chasing “Supermom.” Supermom isn’t real. Stop trying to be her and love being you….sweatpants, store-bought cake, and all. =)