Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Set Up for Failure

Ran into a woman at a party who I hadn't seen in almost a year. She had lost thirty pounds and when I asked her what she did, she said, "I realized that being the mother of twins made me feel like a failure. Once I realized I really was the kind of mom I always aspired to be, I stopped eating to make myself feel better."

Her comment really hit me. We set ourselves up when we're pregnant (and for the next 18 years), imagining what motherhood will be like and then when the spit up covered truth is revealed, we aren't always as organized, creative, patient and loving as we'd like to be. Often no where near - we won't mention the times I've screamed at my children for a minor infraction, served potato chips as a vegetable at dinner and strapped Nicole into her carseat, but forgot to strap the carseat onto the car, causing her to flip over and ride suspended upside down for several minutes, enjoying her new perspective on life - (BTW, hanging upside down made her giggle.) Point is, we're awfully hard on ourselves and we set ourselves up for failure by having expectations of how we should be as parents and inevitably, we fall short. Yes, we should aspire to be our best as parents, but we should also give ourselves room for the variations which come along with raising kids. I got so made at mine one weekend when I'd planned the perfect two days of activities and fun. It was going to be our weekend to be "a real family." We'd go on day trips, eat at interesting restaurants, do crafts, play in the park. No doing laundry, trying to knock something off the household to do list, no sneaking in an hour or two of work. It was just going to be fun family time. What did my girls want to do instead? Sit in their pajamas all day and watch t.v. I was furious. My dream of a perfect weekend planned by a perfect mother was ruined. I stewed over it for about an hour, then let it go and did the laundry.

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