During the time I've been a stay-at-home mom, I've struggled with trying to live up to expectations. Are they my expectations of myself, or society's expectations of me? I'm not sure, but I'm also not sure it matters which it is. Either way, I've fretted about living up to certain expectations, and I have especially fretted over feeling like I'm failing.
I remember my last semester of college, sitting in class and dreaming about finally being able to be home with my son full-time. I was excited about spending more time with him, of course, but I also had visions of accomplishing so many other things. A perfect house! Homeschooling! Scrapbooking! Candle-making! Baking! Cooking everything from scratch! Making my own jewelry! Yes, I was going to be Homemaker Extraordinaire! A regular Domestic Goddess!
You can laugh. For that matter, I am laughing... but only a little. Because to be honest, I am still trying to live up to these kinds of expectations of myself.
I sometimes feel like, in other people's eyes, this is the perfect picture of the stay-at-home mom. Someone who is endlessly patient with the children, who keeps a wonderfully clean and perfectly decorated home, who is always cooking and baking, who is creative and crafty.
And some people are all those things, and they are great at it! I'm just... not. I don't like to cook, and I only occasionally like to bake. My attempt at homeschooling went awry very quickly. I spend too much time online. My home is rarely perfect, and even when it is, it doesn't last long because I am home with a toddler. As for being crafty... meh. I like the idea of it, but I rarely have the patience or dedication for it, or the money. I do have interests and talents, but they aren't of the baking and crafting variety. I love to read and write, I am interested in personality theory, psychology, counseling, sociology, and spirituality. I want to go back to school for a master's degree, and in a few years, I want to start a career.
For a while, I was reading several "mom blogs" and I finally had to cut way down on the number I was reading. They were reinforcing these expectations I was putting on myself. Lots of cooking, baking, crafting, homeschooling, and so on. No offense to moms who happen to blog about those things; if you love it and are good at it, awesome! The issue I'm having is totally me. I was putting pressure on myself and telling myself I was a failure for not being all those things I was reading about.
So where does that leave me? Am I a failure if I let go of these expectations? Or am I finally succeeding at accepting myself for who I am? And to address the question from my last post, do I know who I am outside of being a mom? I think embracing my own talents and interests is a step in the right direction.