Why Unrealistic Expectations Contributes to Unneeded Stress

Unrealistic thinking

Do you struggle with thinking “everyone else is doing a better job at this mom thing then I am?” Or say "Look at them they are so perfect and always dressed so nice!" Then sadly, you look at your crew of misfits and sigh?

It’s easy to analyze everything you do wrong and then think what everyone else is doing is right, wishing you were more like this mom or that mom.

Let me tell you from experience this is an exhausting way of looking at the world. There is no need to add any additional pressure on ourselves then life already naturally creates. We are all individuals with different preferences, different parenting styles, and priorities.

Anytime you look at someone else and begin to lament how perfect they are, negating the qualities you bring to your family, it’s time to take a big step back and reframe your thinking process.

There is no perfect person or perfect life in this world. We are all broken. The people that might look perfect are just better at faking it then you. We all have struggles; they just aren't the same.

Unrealistic Expectations

I want you to stop looking at your life and expecting perfection all the time or really even most of the time. Life is messy and we have to learn to live and thrive in our current stage despite the messy. Why, because that is real life!

When you hold yourself and your family to a higher standard all the time and then don’t meet those standards, you start feeling that you have failed. When you constantly feel like you are failing at life feelings of stress and inadequacy begin to surround you.

Instead of constantly pushing your family on a set of arbitrary expectations, start showing yourself and your family grace and compassion. Life is hard, parenting is harder and some days are just going to suck.

Reframing Expectations

Find the joy in the simple moments, the humor in the chaos. I am not asking you to eliminate all expectations, just take a moment to look at some of the ones that cause the most stress and fights in your family.

Maybe it is letting go of some activities you or your children participate in, or watching how many commitments you make in one day. Consider shortening the list of all the things you think have to be done around the house, or projects that must get completed every day.

Be cautious not to set expectations without considering your circumstances. Different stages of life require different levels of expectations. Age of children and amount of time working outside of the home are just a couple of things that should affect your level of expectations.

Take a moment today and reflect on what brings you the most stress during the day and decide 1) does it really need to be done 2) if it does have to be done is there a simpler way?

Letting up on your expectations and putting them into the perspective of your phase of life gives you breathing room. When you start taking that pressure off yourself, the decreased stress will trickle down to the rest of the family too.

You, Mom, are the heart of your family, and they will feel whatever you are feeling. We, by nature of being mothers, want to be everything to everyone, but that is just not realistic.

Taking a step back, re-evaluating your expectations and making sure your family’s wellbeing is the first priority is the best way to combat the feelings of stress that can surround your day.

Some days you will get this right and others you may not, but consciously observing what schedule works and what doesn’t is always a great next step. Our most fulfilled lives will be when we are engaged and actively looking for what’s best for ourselves and our families.

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