Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Great Expectations

I've been debating quite a bit lately whether or not I should post this. Blogs are really like a diary, published to the world. My hope in this is that as my children pass through trials throughout their life, that they will find that their mother went through similar life experiences and struggled with many of the same things that they will undoubtedly struggle with. Despite the billions of people throughout the world and throughout history, I think our human experiences are more similar than we think, regardless of whether we live in Idaho or Africa. With countless variables in the mix, of course, but at their core, very similar.

I've felt lately like the proverbial camel, with the pieces of straw slowly mounting on it's back. These pieces of straw being different expectations that have been in place either since birth, or that have mounted bit by bit with the birth of each child, each new calling in the church, each new friendship that is formed, etc. Some of the expectations are almost non-detectable and live so deeply in our subconscious that we scarcely realize they're there until we are on the brink of our breaking point.

Where the camel's back was eventually broken by that one last piece of straw, I've recently felt like whirling around and saying, "I'll be da**** if you think you're going to place one more piece of straw on my back!"

Part of me wants to be that good girl that meekly accepts each piece of straw, submitting myself to the will of those around me to keep the peace and avoid uncomfortable confrontation. But I've found myself beginning to resent each and every expectation, be it reasonable or not, because of the cumulative weight of it all. I find myself thinking how nice it would be to "check out" for a while and go live as a hermit, coming back only when all the straw has blown off and my back has fully recovered. I find myself resenting those who expect the least of me and love me the most while trying to appease those that are in the reverse.

As liberating as it is to blow off some steam and let the everyone know how overburdened I feel, it does me no good to yell into the wind. Besides, don't most mothers feel this way? As I said before, this is by no means a new human experience. Far too common, in fact.

I've been working lately on snipping those ties of expectations that have left me feeling like I'm in a posey restraint. Like how I think my relationship with my parents, in-laws, siblings and friends should play out in an ideal world. How I think I should be respected by my children. What I think my church community and neighbors expect of me. It's easy to get swallowed up and lose youreself in trying to play out the expectations others hold for you. The more expectations, the greater the disappointment that will inevitably come be it to you or to them.

Yes, I will probably tick some people off. A lot of them actually, and people and causes that I respect. But that's okay. I won't say "To hell with all of my responsibilities," but I know I'm at a point where I need to set some boundaries and reestablish some priorities. The greatest expectations that I hold for myself are to God, Dennis, and my children. The rest... well they may need to go find themselves a new camel.


Cher said...

i think you write beautifully.
also, i think you are right, everyone can relate to some degree to this.
what i've found that helps is to realize that i just do my best, and if someone doesn't like me for that, then too bad for them. but if i don't do my best, thats' when i start to feel down. so if you feel you are giving 100%, 110% even (with plenty of me time in there), but not everyone is happy, at least you are.

patty said...

i totally know how you feel. I think we have to know our limmits and it seems like you have your priorites straight. I often feel like I am doing a million things, but none of them well. Hang in there!