And it coincided perfectly with some really minor moments that made me realize what some people think of me. Routinely these comments would have meant nothing to me but I’m currently branching out into some new things, including a project that I will let you all in on in due course. This means I’m heavily reflecting and measuring values and aligning principles at the moment. It also means my creative juices are quite high, as creation breeds more creativity for me.
I had a moment (is a month or two or more a moment?) like the one described in “The Day the Perfect Mum lost it” a couple of years ago. Except it was not about towels or home baked goods, though I am damn sure that they were in there somewhere.
It was about expectations that I had placed on myself,and had done so for more than a year, which finally came to ahead. Those expectations came from what I thought I should be as a mum and wife. Now I was in a new environment after moving my family 900kms away from what I knew. I had a brand new job, brand new neighbours, the boys had a brand new school. I wasn’t sure what was expected of me but I knew I expected to cope, manage and succeed.
I looked around and saw the exteriors of what the women around me presented to the world and thought – “Oh look, I don’t do that.”
“Oh, I could do this better – like she does it.”
” I need to do XYZ and be excellent at ABC to be a good wife/ mother etc”
“Maybe if I did things like that person does…”
In fact, my narrative and persona had became the ‘incompetent wife/ mother.’ It became part of my vocabulary and part of the armour I wore. After all, if I verbally lowered peoples expectations of me, then they would not be disappointed.
But, because it was like ill fitting shoes, it chafed at me. It was uncomfortable, because it was not a good fit for who I am and what I am.
So I had a ‘moment’, which was as much about the trauma of the move as it was about anything else.
Once the ‘moment’ was over and I was back on track, I reevaluated. I had to declutter my life. I had to stop giving a fuck, especially meaningless, trivial fucks – and I had to stop doing stuff because I thought it was expected of me.
I also stopped acting up to my narrative.
I wore a dress, or a skirt, I turned up to school assemblies, or not, I cooked or baked if I wanted to. Much to the surprise of some people.
For example, one recent comment was, when I had made and brought something to a gathering, “I think you must be surprising even yourself with your kitchen abilities.”
Innocuous, right? Almost a sincere compliment? It was more of a example of how willing other people are to accept your negative narrative.
I started giving myself credit for being a good mum and wife.
Because I am!
I’m great at being the kind of mum my kids need. It may not be the mum and wife you are or can be, but for my family, I rock! Which means that I don’t ‘parent’ my kids the way you would parent yours. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. I’m just doing my best, authentically and sincerely.
And by not giving a fuck and by clearing the decks, I’ve made room for other stuff! I have made room for freedom to do and be me. I give fucks, but only to things and people that I get joy from. That is the value measurement I apply to things and people now.
And I’m perfectly imperfect. Just the way I am. And things are simpler. And it’s the best way to ‘have it all.’ By not trying to ‘be it all’ to everyone, just to me.