Saturday, December 18, 2010

On lowering my expectations



(Picture by Joseph.  He loves me.)


I was watching a movie the other night (while Brian snored romantically on the couch beside me) and in one scene, the characters were going around the room, listing something they were good at. 

One of the characters said, “I’m a good mother.”

And my first thought was, “I wish I was a good mother.”


(Record screeches to a halt)



“Where did that come from, Caitlin?”  I thought.

So I decided to dig a little deeper.


I KNOW that I must be a good mother.  I am.  I am one! 

My kids are happy, my house is livable, I take my kids on outings and do activities and make my own bread for goodness sake!


So then why don’t I feel it?

Why does motherhood, which I think must be the hardest job in the WORLD (if there is one harder, I can’t do it), also have be the job with the least amount of affirmation?  Where is my mid-year review?  My bonus? My pat on the back?


I paused the movie, and thought some more. (Brian, aren’t you glad you slept through this?)

What would make me feel like a good mother?

Seriously, what would I have to do to prove to myself that I am doing a decent job.


This is what I came up with:

- Keep a very clean house

- Play with my children

- Serve them nutritious meals

- Teach them to use their imaginations on their own

- Manners, manners, manners

- Never let laundry pile up so that their favorite clothes are ready

- Clean sheets every week

- Craft time daily

- Mama-taught school time daily

- Outings for education

- Outings for expending energy

- Set routine

- Not have to drag them on errands

- Sing to them

- Less tv

- More patience

- Lots more books



Wow.  If those are my expectations of myself, I might as well quit now.

It is a miracle that I have felt like a good mother for one day in my life with those impossible standards!


So, I have decided to cut myself some slack, and I think you should too.

Let’s lower our expectations, mothers! 

There is no prize for being perfect!!


How about giving our kids clean sheets…every time they wet the bed!

Or not losing our patience…more than twice a day!

So what if our kid forgets to say thank you sometimes?  At least he isn’t hitting…strangers!


Let’s be happy with doing less.

Let’s accept that we are human, and that this is our life that we are living too.

I am an imperfect mother, but I love my children


And that is good enough.


ter@waaoms said...

*pats Caitlin on the back*

there's your reward. :)

You are a good mom. Don't you forget it! I might even ask you to adopt me but that might be a bit weird because I'm older than you. lol. ;)

Maureen said...

Very healthy outlook Caitlin! You will be a happier Momma and you will have happier children NOT trying to reach perfection. You are however, a WONDERFUL MOM and I am one thankful Grandmother!!!

septembermom said...

I'm an imperfect mother too. Thank you for reminding me that love is what it is all about.

Jenners said...

You are a freaking AWESOME mother. We just kill ourselves trying to live up to some insane expectations. I highly recommend the book, Bad Mother, by Ayelet Waldman. It will help you sort through these issues a bit. Here is a link to my review about it:

Rachel said...

You are a great mother! I really mean that. But what I think makes a good mother is a mom who gives her kids lots of kisses and hugs and loves their daddy! Without that, doing laundry, baking cookies with kids, etc, means nothing!

Momma said...

You are one of the best moms I know, Sweetie, no kidding!! Plus you know how to make life FUN for the kids because you enjoy life and experiences with them. Keep up the great work!