A few months ago my mother landed herself in the hospital with chest pains and concerns of a potential stroke. I took several days off of work and between my dad, my sister, and our spouses we all juggled filling her shoes. From caring for my grandmother to supporting one another and her, it was a difficult time.
Switching roles and taking on new tasks is never easy no matter the time frame. Even during that time my mom would call from the hospital giving instructions or checking in on us (I know how ironic). Though it drove me insane, I realize that as women we all struggle with this balancing act of our lives and the many roles/tasks we are many times given and/or we assume we have to shoulder. The superwoman complex is hard to shake and in a world where our lives are so easily accessible via technology the standard has been raised to an all time high. You not only work (inside or out) of your home, you cook, clean, care for children (or fur babies), try and still be a great friend, be a wife or invest into your relationship, and try to enjoy your own personal interests. That’s a lot and if you’re a perfectionist like me the expectation to do all of these with excellence puts the pressure on full force.
Which has led me to having these recent bouts of anxiety… I never have been an anxious person, but I’ve found myself waking up struggling to breathe. Thinking of all the tasks I need to complete or deadlines I need to make and I become paralyzed for moments at a time. Recently when I shared this with someone they asked me a question I reluctantly answered: “Are your expectations too high for yourself?“
It felt like a curse word or something extremely blasphemous (seriously)! How could I not have this expectation of myself. If I can’t maintain these things then that means only one thing: I’m failing. I must be failing, because I can’t keep up. Asking for help shows weakness, taking a break shows weakness, etc… I am my own worst critic, despite my good intentions. I believe I can do anything and not only will I complete the task I will exceed the expectation. I’ve always lived like that…and to admit to myself I’m really just tired now is hard.
Separating an expectation from the reality of life is a skill that if done well can really allow you to enjoy this life you’re living. Not everything gets done and the mark is missed more times than I would like. Each morning for the last few days I’ve woken up and looked in the mirror to repeat these words:
I have enough time today to get what needs to be done. Above all else I can be the best wife to my husband, the best mother to my son, and the best version of myself. I can’t control or fix anything else.
Do I still feel anxious…yes. Do I still have ridiculously high expectations…yes. But not as much as I did yesterday. Be the best version of you today, not the best idea of who you think you should be.