It’s so easy to scroll through our social media feeds, become disgruntled, and find things lacking in our own experiences in comparison to those we follow online when it comes to holidays or special occasions. Today (or yesterday – because this will be posted the day after 😉 ) is Mother’s Day and a few of my close friends and I spent some time sending joking texts back and forth about how we were still having to perform menial everyday tasks like cook, care for our children, and clean despite the fact that it was Mother’s Day. We joked how the day had basically gone up in flames and our lives were shit. We joked about that stuff, because we all have seen women actually making posts like that online in groups that we are a part of. We joked, but the sad truth is that there are so many moms who were genuinely let down by the way that their Mother’s Day panned out.
And while, yes sometimes the people in our lives truly do let us down. They have all the time, opportunity, and wherewithal to recognize and fulfill our needs but still refuse to do so. However, I would bet money that nine times out of ten – those who are upset about how their loved ones didn’t do this or that for them during a holiday is because of mismanaged expectations and relying too much on other people to provide your fulfillment, happiness, and joy.
So, if you just spent Mother’s Day crying in secret or venting to your girlfriends in a group chat about how your husband didn’t load the dishwasher for you and none of your kids planned something special for you guys to do together – well, this post is for you. Because, let me tell you – I am not sitting on my high horse like I’ve never been that woman. I have. I spent my first couple of Mother’s Days super upset about all the things that my significant other did not do for me. I felt pretty damn awful actually and was so mad and aggravated with him. BUT – eventually I came to my senses and realized that I could fix all of that pretty easily. And I just wanted to share that with you.
Manage Your Expectations I mentioned how my partner didn’t give me what I needed during my first couple of Mother’s Days. I should have never expected him to roll out the red carpet, flood the house with flowers, be able to READ MY MIND in order to complete all the little chores I had arbitrarily decided were beneath me because it is Mother’s Day. Why should I have never expected those things? That’s not his MO. That’s not what he has ever done. That’s not his instinct. I’d never expected in any other situation before (birthdays, holidays pre parenthood, etc ) that he would treat me with such extravagance. I never set that standard. Why in the world did I expect that would suddenly happen a month after becoming a mom? Who was I to feel such entitlement? Let me put it another way. Say you’ve been living with your man for several years, and for several years you’ve come behind him and picked his clothes up off the floor. You set the expectation that you’re going to pick his clothes up from wherever he decides to discard them throughout the house and then place them in the hamper for him. You can’t then get mad several years later that he’s not picking up his dang clothes. You can’t expect that he will start doing that for himself. You don’t expect to be that woman who picks up her guy’s discarded clothing from the floor? Well don’t. Leave his clothes on the floor.
Most of the time – in any life situation – if we just manage our expectations. Take a little look at how life has been functioning prior to whatever situation is coming up .. and then build our expectations from that point – THEN we won’t be left feeling so empty or let down.
Ask For What You Want Alright, so you’ve got those expectations under control. Did you find that maybe you want a little more than what you’ve found you can expect? You did? Cool – ask for it. Yup, sometimes it’s that simple. Ask for what you want from the people who love and surround you. You don’t want to do dishes or laundry all day, but you also don’t want to wake up Monday morning with a pile of dishes and laundry to do? Ask your people to do that for you. You want to go out to a restaurant and have dinner with your kids + people? Ask them to do that for you. If you want it, ask for it. If you’re not a mind reader, how can you expect your loved ones to be a mind reader?
Make Your Own Happiness Ok, so maybe you asked for what you want and you still didn’t get it? Or maybe you know that even if you do ask for what you want, your people aren’t going to come through? Well girl, do it for yourself. Take yourself out to eat. Cook yourself a bomb meal. Spend all day on the couch binging Dead to Me on Netflix. Scoop up your littles and go to the beach. Lay out in your backyard with dranks while soaking up that sunshine. Look deep inside yourself and figure out what is going to make you happy. Evaluate what will give you joy. And do it for yourself. If you are depending on the people who surround you for your sole source of happiness and joy – then you will continually be let down. No matter how considerate or how much someone may love us – they are still in fact very human and very capable of becoming self involved or simply just making a mistake. Or misunderstanding what would make you happy. Because that’s not their job. Unfettered happiness and joy come from within ourselves.
The truth is – all those people you see on social media sharing their lives.. That’s just a tiny slice of their reality. And you don’t know all the details that went into making that day happen. You don’t know their partner or their kids. You don’t know all the groundwork that Mom may have laid throughout the year to build the Mother’s Day she’s currently experiencing. You don’t know about all the not so pretty moments that also happened during that day. That post you’re seeing on social media? Maybe that was just a couple hours out of her day – and maybe she spent the rest of her day living life as usual.
So, don’t let it get you down. Don’t start picking apart your life. Look for the positives. Decide what you want. And start working toward that for next year. Cheer up Mama. Be the sunshine in your babies’ lives. And if your daughter is anything like my Sophie Grace – force her to give you a hug and kiss – because she’s three and saying, “It’s Mother’s Day – do X, Y, & Z for me” doesn’t hold any weight with her. In a few years though? It will – and I bet I get special hugs and kisses because she knows I expect that.
Being a Mom is something I always wanted, and it’s something I treasure every single day. I’m happy because I’m their mom. What they do or don’t do – doesn’t affect that happiness. They gave my life a whole new purpose. I chose them. I chose to be a mom. I’m so thankful that I have them and that I had to make ten million cups of milk for them during my Mother’s Day – because without them..that day wouldn’t be the same.