Sister, It’s Time to Lower the Bar

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I have high expectations. Like here’s the bar, go ahead and raise it a little more, eh, maybe a little more. There. That looks about right – perfectly and utterly unattainable.

I mean, after all, we’re supposed to be able to do it all, right? At least that’s what everyone keeps telling us. So we try. We put on our different hats and juggle all the things. We work, we shatter glass ceilings – CRAP … almost forgot the bake sale coming up, better add that to the list. We volunteer in our communities. We squeeze in date nights and act like we’re not tired. We pack our schedules with activities for the kids. We plan and prep, coordinate and chauffeur.

But I can’t help but wonder, at what cost? Don’t get me wrong I’m a perfection chaser, too. I will bend myself 50 different ways to make someone happy. The very thought of disappointing someone makes my skin crawl. And if someone actually is unhappy with me or I “think” I’ve disappointed someone you better believe I will dwell on it for days. Blame it on societal expectations or my own personal doing, but it’s hard to let perfection go. And every single time I chase it – I’m reminded of all the ways I’m falling short.

But here’s the thing I’m learning. That bar? It doesn’t have to stay that high all the time. I can lower it. Honestly, you can take the whole dang thing off if you want to. It’s OK if the towels need to be folded a certain way and you’d rather just do it yourself than have someone do it incorrectly – because let’s be honest there is a right way and a wrong way to fold a towel.

But what’s not OK is when those things, those expectations that you carry start to weigh you down and cost you your sanity.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It is NOT your job to ensure everyone is happy. So what are you doing? Stop trying to please everyone. Stop trying to get everything just right.

It’s not possible, sis. Trust me. Your perception is just warped. You’re looking through rose-colored glasses and scrolling through filtered pictures.

I know their living room is trimmed with all the Christmas trimmings and she’s sipping her “hot” cup of coffee by the fireside quietly, but it’s an image sis. It’s what they want you to see. Their laundry room? It’s still stacked to the ceiling just like mine. Just like yours. They have dishes in the sink and toddlers who lose their ever-loving minds.

Perfection is a myth, sis. An undisclosed location of ideal. If you’re not careful it will suck you dry. Believe me, I know.

If motherhood has taught me anything, it’s a big dose of humble pie. It’s the reality that I will NEVER be able to do it all and I most definitely can’t fill someone else’s cup when my own is bone dry.

So I’m moving the bar. I’m placing it at more realistic heights. Do I still have days where I go down the rabbit hole? Absolutely, but that need – that constant urge to chase some false idealization is gone.

You control your bar, sis. Don’t forget that.

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This piece originally appeared at They Whine, So I Wine, published with permission.

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Jennifer Thompson
Jennifer is a working mom, blogger, wife, and mama to one rambunctious little boy. Surviving motherhood with a good laugh, dance parties, lots of coffee and a glass of wine. Follow along with her blog for the not so perfect, unorganized and unfiltered working mom at www.theywhinesoiwine.com.