The Ubiquitous “They”
Why is it that we are always obsessed with living up to the expectations of the ubiquitous “they”? The omnipresent judgement of whoever “they” are seems to be breathing down my neck constantly. Who is this ubiquitous “they” and why do I give “them” so much power over my life? As a new mom this skyrockets my anxiety.
What “They” Say To Me
“They” say I have to breastfeed. “They” say breastfeeding in public is offensive. “They” say I should stay home and rear the children. “They” say I have earning potential and I’m not contributing to the family. “They” say I need a college degree. “They” say don’t go into debt with student loans. “They” say I need to attend more church events. “They” say I need to budget. “They” say I have to have the best of the best. “They” say I need a house and 2.5 kids by the time I’m 30. “They” say I should be married to a man. “They” say I’m too skinny. “They” say I’m too fat. “They” say I have to stay in style. “They” say I should be rich. “They” say I should donate more money. “They” say I should be the best mom, wife, employee, friend, daughter, sister. “They” say I’m simply not enough.
Who Are “They”
Spoiler alert… “They” don’t actually exist. “They” only exist in your head. “They” are the expectations you have set for yourself. Take a look at your life. What expectations do you have for yourself? For your life? For your husbands, children, friends, homes, cars, wardrobe..etc. Are they realistic expectations? And are these truly your own expectations or what you “feel” like you mom would have wanted or what you “think” would make your dad proud? Do you expect these things of yourself to prove “they” wrong because “they” said you wouldn’t achieve these things?
How To Combat “Their” Expectations
Do yourself a favor. Take a pen and paper and write this down. Write down all of the important categories in your life. Whether it be your career, family, children, style, religion, etc. Take a look at these categories and list out your expectations. YOUR expectations. Not what you THINK or FEEL like someone else expects of you. Then consider the why behind those expectations. Determine whether these expectations are based on what YOU want, or if they are really at the root of a different idea. Do you really want to be a stay at home mom just because your mom was? Do you really want a cookie cutter house because your friend has one and they seem happy? Take a look around and really try to see what is shaping your ideas and expectations for your life.
Maybe you should reevaluate. What do YOU want for your life? How do YOU see your life in 10 years. What would make YOU the most happy? Forget about “their” opinions of how your life should look. How do you want your life to look and what steps are you taking to get there?
We often struggle with keeping a clean house, a family fed with natural, organic foods, a nice house, a fancy car, luxurious vacations, a high paying job with enough freedom to laugh over coffee for hours with no repercussions to your career, and other things that will likely not all happen simultaneously. We think we have to be the best EVERYTHING all at once. The best wife, the best mom, the best friend, the best employee, best Christian, the best citizen, the best whatever! No!! This is simply wrong and completely unrealistic.
You can be the coolest mom with the best cookies at the school Halloween party, but guess what – your house is a wreck and you spent hours researching a recipe so you also didn’t get the oil changed in the car and the heel broke on the 10 year old pumps you borrowed from your friend in college and never returned. AND THAT IS OKAY! Because the next day you are going to have the oil changed in your car, a messy house and a kid full of McDonald’s chicken nuggets. WHO CARES?!?! “They” certainly don’t.
Life is all about balance. I’m here to tell you that you DON’T have to be EVERYTHING all at once. Life is messy. Life is full of unexpected circumstances and radical twists and turns. Right when you think you’ve got life figured out you are thrown a curve ball. Life cannot be planned and it simply is not perfect. This goes for anybody. Even the smoothly styled instagrammer that seems to go all the places, wear all the things and get all the attention. She has issues too. Just because you don’t see them online doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Be The Best You That YOU Want To Be
Give yourself a break. Don’t get so wrapped up in “their” expectations. Be realistic and open your mind to the fact that you don’t have to be everything for everyone all at one time.
Who do YOU say you are? More importantly, who does GOD say you are? You are a child of God (John 1:12), you are not a slave to sin (Romans 6:6), you are triumphant (2 Cor. 2:14). You are chosen, holy, and blameless before God (Eph. 1:4), redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ, (Eph 1:7) and you are accepted (Romans 15:7). Period! Shout these things from the rooftops. Because “they” are wrong about you. God knows exactly who you are.
Take a breath, drink some coffee and keep on truckin’, sister! You’ve got this, whatever it may be!