Conversations with expectations

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With long, dark fingers they claw their way up from deep within me.

They have been waiting for this moment. Waiting until I’m at my most vulnerable. They work quickly as they make their way to my throat wrapping their hands around it, while their sinister voice whispers in my ear.

I can’t believe you did that. What will people think of you? How could you be so stupid? You’re not smart enough. You’re not doing a good enough job. You are a failure.

They stick with me for days, sometimes lingering longer until they finally slink away into the background waiting for their next opportunity to punish me for not living up to my expectations.

My expectations.

My expectations of perfection. My need to compete with myself.

All my life I have strived to be the best I can be. The best daughter, the best student, the best employee, the best friend and now the best wife and mother.

I can be hard on myself, relentless even when I feel I have not lived up to my unrealistic expectations. Even the slightest mishap or mistake, especially to do with the girls or my job, can have me coming down on myself like a tonne of bricks.

I constantly push myself harder wanting to be this perfect person that I have imagined. It can be exhausting.

At this stage of my life with so much going on, it is easy for me to drop some of the balls I am juggling. It is not uncommon for me to perform less than perfectly due to sheer exhaustion or the mere fact that my head is spinning with all of the different hats I’m wearing at the moment.

I was whinging to Dave the other day about everything I have going on and how I felt I was doing an average job in most areas of my life. Cool, calm and collected Dave, my rock and voice of reason, was quick to pull me out of my fierce spiral of negative self-talk. He grabbed me, pulled me close and looked into my eyes.

‘You don’t have to do it all, Naisy,’ he had said.

‘You need to be realistic.

‘You can’t do it all.

‘Nobody expects you to do it all.’

His words stuck with me. They were simple enough yet effective.

I need to quit it with these sky high expectations. I have to be forgiving with myself. It is okay to make mistakes. I need to be content with the fact that I am trying my best and my best is enough.

I want to point out that while I think it’s important to not set unrealistic expectations, I believe expectations can be healthy.

These expectations of mine have pushed me out of my comfort zone, encouraged me to live life to the full, to try different things, and to be the best I can be. They have helped shape me as a person and helped make me grow.

All I need to do now is make sure I reel them back in every now and then and not be too hard on myself. Easy right?! πŸ˜‰

Do you set yourself unrealistic expectations? Tell me about your experiences.

Linking up today with the always inspirational always Josefa for Conversations over Coffee. This month’s theme is Expectations.

Also rewinding with Bron and Sonia for Weekend Rewind.

43 comments on Conversations with expectations

  1. Bec | Mumma Tells
    March 27, 2014 at 6:47 am (4 years ago)

    I too am so very guilty of this. I am my own worst enemy more often than I am my friend. X

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 27, 2014 at 2:54 pm (4 years ago)

      It’s a hard habit to break, Bec. If we all keep reminding each other to be easy on ourselves then maybe we can change our ways x

      Reply
  2. Neets
    March 27, 2014 at 6:48 am (4 years ago)

    I think you hit the nail on the head gorgeous when you mentioned negative self talk. It’s a bitch isn’t it. I found that by lowering my expectations I was still able to be an amazing mother, wife, employee, friend. What an awesome rock you have in Dave. πŸ™‚ xxx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 27, 2014 at 2:54 pm (4 years ago)

      He is pretty amazing, Neets πŸ™‚ I’m very lucky. Lowering expectations sounds like a good step forward. Thanks xx

      Reply
  3. Lydia C. Lee
    March 27, 2014 at 6:51 am (4 years ago)

    There’s this rapper, J.Cole, and he sings this song called Crooked Smile, and part of it is about how we see all the bad things in ourselves and don’t see all the good things. He decides not to get his teeth fixed now that he’s rich and famous to remind everyone that they don’t have to be perfect, and what’s inside is where the value is. He says we’re ‘not picture perfect, but still worth a picture’. I think that’s a really good message – and we need to remember that good enough is okay…
    Also, I wanted a share 2 quotes with you from the Phantom Tollbooth, which made me think of you (and a post you did months ago about whether you’d be brave enough to follow your dream – sorry, can’t remember exact post.) “Why not? That’s a good reason for almost anything – a bit used perhaps, but still quite serviceable.” and “just because you may never reach it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth looking for.” So I say, go for it…

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm (4 years ago)

      Lydia, you really are amazing! Thank you so much sharing those quotes with me and thinking of me.That means more than you will know. I particularly like the second quote. You are so right. It is so right. I need to just trust in myself. I’m off to google J.Cole and his crooked smile. Thanks again!! x

      Reply
  4. Jen @Survivor's Guide to Colic
    March 27, 2014 at 8:03 am (4 years ago)

    You’re definitely not alone Renee! You’re describing my #1 mortal enemy… my own expectations… If only there were 2 of me, I could keep up no problem πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 27, 2014 at 2:58 pm (4 years ago)

      Now that’s a good idea, Jen. Let’s just clone ourselves πŸ™‚ I think even then I wouldn’t be able to stop though πŸ™‚ Thanks for dropping in x

      Reply
  5. Josefa @always Josefa
    March 27, 2014 at 9:23 am (4 years ago)

    I just melted into your words Renee, so true for all of us i think and so important to speak them out aloud so that others can share from how you are feeling and find comfort knowing that they are not alone. Expectations are quite tricky, I can’t say that I have a handle on mine yet. but having an understanding of this and acknowledging it – is such a good step in the right direction. Thank you so much for linking up this beautiful post for #convocoffee Josefa

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 27, 2014 at 2:59 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Josefa. You are completely right – acknowledging our volatile relationship with expectations and understanding it is definitely a good start. Thanks for the RT too x

      Reply
  6. Gaye Gee
    March 27, 2014 at 10:35 am (4 years ago)

    Ur only as great as u can b at that moment in time so its step by step, moment by moment, day by day. U can b ur worst enemy as they say, especially trying to achieve others expectations. As long as u know u do ur best with what u have in that moment of time that is what matters most and forgive urself when things don’t quite work out this time coz next time u cld exceed. Dont dwell move forward. That is how I managed my time wearing the many hats through motgerhood, wife and employee.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 27, 2014 at 3:01 pm (4 years ago)

      Gaye, thank you so much for your advice. I miss sharing a pod with you and miss our chats. They are very wise words indeed. I promise I will take them onboard and try to be easier on myself. Thanks xx

      Reply
  7. Sam Stone (@A Life on Venus)
    March 27, 2014 at 10:58 am (4 years ago)

    I can totally relate to your post Renee. I am always putting a lot of pressure on myself to be everything to everyone and do everything 100%. Some days it is achievable, mostly though it is not. I have learnt, and am still learning to not be so hard on myself.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 27, 2014 at 3:02 pm (4 years ago)

      Good on you, Sam. It’s a hard lesson to learn for some of us. I’m glad you are being easier on yourself x

      Reply
  8. Adam E
    March 27, 2014 at 8:02 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Ren

    You mentioned you ‘drop some of the balls I am juggling’. Life gets much simpler and your mind can rest easier when you take the conscious decision to put some of the balls down before they fall.

    Take care

    love Adam.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 27, 2014 at 8:40 pm (4 years ago)

      When did you get so wise, Adam? πŸ˜‰ If only I could allow myself to relinquish control and put some of those balls down. Will definitely try though. Thanks for dropping in xx

      Reply
  9. Erin
    March 27, 2014 at 9:51 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m a positive person about life. But when it comes to ‘me’, I’m a glass half empty girl, particularly regards mothering. I constantly look at what I don’t do, rather than what I do do. I’m working really hard to stop that negativity in my head.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 28, 2014 at 10:22 am (4 years ago)

      It’s a difficult thing to reverse that negative self talk, Erin. I read your blog and look at all the amazing stuff you do. Please don’t be so hard on yourself πŸ™‚

      Reply
      • Erin
        March 28, 2014 at 9:48 pm (4 years ago)

        Renee
        you are too kind. Yes, slowly I’m being less harsh on myself

        Reply
  10. Denise
    March 28, 2014 at 12:12 pm (4 years ago)

    Lovely post Renee! I’m at the mercy of my expectations too – always pushing myself to do more and be better. There is a positive side to it. But it also means I risk falling in a heap from time to time, so I needed this reminder:-) We need to be kinder to ourselves x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 28, 2014 at 1:39 pm (4 years ago)

      We sure do, Denise! I’m glad this post has given you a gentle reminder πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  11. Emily
    March 28, 2014 at 8:18 pm (4 years ago)

    Always. Bloody expectations. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot as I read these CwE posts. And I think it’s still better to have expectations, no matter how unattainable, and be striving for them, than it is to not care at all. But realism. Yes. Great post.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 29, 2014 at 3:52 pm (3 years ago)

      I agree, Emily. I think expectations are good. We just need to find the right balance πŸ™‚

      Reply
  12. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter)
    March 28, 2014 at 8:41 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m guilty of setting expectation of myself too high. I’m a work in progress. Focus. Clarity. Calm. Moments. Getting there x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 29, 2014 at 3:52 pm (3 years ago)

      I think most of us are, Jodi πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  13. Jane @ The Hesitant Housewife
    March 28, 2014 at 9:01 pm (4 years ago)

    I can really relate to this. We are so much harder on ourselves than we would ever dream of being on anyone else.I agree with what Denise, above, said; we do need to be kinder to ourselves. xx
    PS, your husband sounds very wise πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm (3 years ago)

      A wise old soul he is, Jane πŸ™‚ Yes, we definitely need to be kinder on ourselves. It can be easier said than done, but at least we recognise that things need to change xx

      Reply
  14. Lila
    March 28, 2014 at 9:25 pm (4 years ago)

    So important to be gentle with yourself and yet something most of us struggle with!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 29, 2014 at 4:00 pm (3 years ago)

      Crazy isn’t it, Lila! We live and learn though πŸ™‚

      Reply
  15. SarahD @SnippetsandSpirits
    March 28, 2014 at 11:07 pm (4 years ago)

    Why do we do it to ourselves Renee. we need to just chill. Sounds like you and your hubby are a great team. Great post!! x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm (3 years ago)

      I like to think so, Sarah πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading x

      Reply
  16. Robomum
    March 29, 2014 at 8:01 am (3 years ago)

    This is a great post. I can really relate to it.
    Since beginning the simplification of my life some eighteen months ago, my expectations have changed. Lowered in some cases and increased in others. Having ‘enough’ has become my new philosophy. Sometimes it’s hard to accept but I always tell myself that I only need enough. Loved your post. X

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 29, 2014 at 4:06 pm (3 years ago)

      Oh thanks so much, Robomum! I think that is an awesome new philosophy and I might just adopt it. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  17. Kathy
    March 29, 2014 at 10:33 am (3 years ago)

    That choking description of hands grabbing you is so accurate Renee – and the scary thing is that it’s our own hands doing the grabbing. Glad Josefa’s topic has brought out our honesty in admitting to being our own worst enemies – I ended up linking up late because the words had to come out.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm (3 years ago)

      Oh I will have to check yours out, Kathy. Can’t wait to read it!

      Reply
  18. Jaz
    March 29, 2014 at 2:58 pm (3 years ago)

    Who’s idea of perfect are you striving for, yours or society’s? I think perfection is an illusion and there is no such thing, why do we feel we need to achieve this?
    When I was younger my mother taught me all we can do is our best, using the information we have for the right reasons. I try to follow my gut and my heart, they are not in the business of steering me wrong – it’s my mind that plays the dirty tricks!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 29, 2014 at 4:17 pm (3 years ago)

      The mind is a very powerful thing, Jaz. Your mother sounds very wise. I will certainly try to impart these thoughts onto my girls. I know with my husband’s help I will learn to go easier on myself πŸ™‚

      Reply
  19. Jaz
    March 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm (3 years ago)

    What matters is you are honest with yourself about it and are consciously working to better yourself – can’t do much more than that chick. Good luck on your journey xx

    Reply
  20. Sonia Life Love Hiccups
    March 31, 2014 at 11:27 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh yes yes and yes. I am a perfectionist and put the most insane amount of pressure on myself. i overthink everything and punish myself mentally if I dont think I have done a good enough job or completed what I think I should have. Sadly one of my boys is the same and I beat myself up that I have caused him to be that way by allowing him to see me do it myself xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      April 1, 2014 at 9:16 pm (3 years ago)

      Ahh I know what you mean, Sonia. I hate letting my girls see me place unrealistic expectations on myself and getting upset when I don’t meet them. Please don’t beat yourself up. I think some of us are just born this way and we need to make an effort more so than others to turnaround our way of thinking xx

      Reply
  21. Living Serenely
    April 3, 2014 at 12:01 am (3 years ago)

    Oh, Renee! I can definitely relate to this. I tend to take on so much too… feeling like I have to do it all, to be productive and to achieve. I think I might have to go through a trimming process to reprioritise things in my life at some point.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      April 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm (3 years ago)

      That sounds like a really smart idea, Serene! Thanks for dropping in πŸ™‚

      Reply

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