The Truth About Expectations
If there is one thing I have learnt from motherhood – It is to learn to let go of expectations.
Before you have children, your expectations played a really important part of your existence.
You had learnt to anticipate what you as a ‘lone wolf’ could get done in a day, you knew what your capabilities were, you would basically start your day/week/year with a list of goals and spend the rest of that time kicking them.
Motherhood however changes that, and we as mothers are at constant odds with ourselves in a mental battle to shake off the old and embrace the new.
I had always been a highly organized and efficient person pre children. I was the ‘to do list’ type. Nothing granted me greater satisfaction than to set a list of goals for the day, that I could tick off one by one, and then marvel in myself that evening for what a do’er I was.
Becoming a mother for the first time is a life changer. But I personally was completely unaccepting of how much of a life changer it was. Determined to maintain my pre baby self I kept up ‘business as usual’ and headed back to university (I study psychology) just two and a half weeks post birth. Still recovering from a cesarean section it hurt to walk and yet here I was cruising around campus like nothing had happened. I was exclusively breastfeeding and completely exhausted. I look back now and don’t know how or ‘why’ I did it to myself.
I call it the ‘Super Woman’ Complex.
Many mums have it. This expectation that we can do everything, ‘be’ everything and place greater and greater pressures upon ourselves in multiple facets of our life, without consequence. Like ‘producing’ life itself isn’t enough…
I remember when Charlie was just four months old, a woman in the street asked me (a complete stranger) “So are you just a mum or…?”
Eager to prove myself I swiftly responded ‘No, I study psychology’ and am guilty to admit I actually felt better about myself being able to say that.
It’s a societal issue. It’s not surprising that many end up suffering post-natal depression and anxiety when we as a society, are teaching our mothers that to be a mother is not enough. We constantly read articles in the media, praising influential mothers on their incredible ability to be a mum and run a business – on their incredible ability to multitask. There is an old saying ‘jack of many trades, master of none’. The media however challenges us, as women, to be masters of all.
But here’s the thing… We can’t ‘be’ everything. And we don’t have to be.
There are only a set amount of hours in the day, only a certain amount of energy we have to give. And the fact of the matter is, is that where you choose to dedicate that time and energy, will determine which facets of your life will thrive most. Be that as a mother, a business woman, a friend, a student, whatever it is.
The beauty here is that you have a choice. If nothing else we always have a choice. The choice is your own and there is no shame in whichever you choose. My advice is simply to choose wisely and be mindful of the ripple effects of that choice
And finally… be aware of the ‘Super Woman’ complex.
Beware not to let it dictate the choices you make.
Own and embrace your role as a mother and be proud to have been blessed with such a role.
Because to be a mother – is enough.
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