I've been thinking a lot lately about expectations that other people have of us, and the expectations we have of ourselves.
I read a lot of different blogs where women talk about trying to be the superstepmom, and are getting so frazzled and stressed out trying to do so. It got me thinking about all of the expectations that we deal with on a regular basis.
Let's start with the expectations of others. I'm going to talk from only my point of view because that's what I know. These are the people I feel I'm expected to be:
1.) A good person. In general I'm a good person. I've never been arrested, I do charity work, I am a functioning member of society, I'm very protective of those I love. I open doors for people, I try to help friends and family when I can. I pay my bills, I take care of people when they are hurting or sick, and I'm always there for a friend who needs me.
2.) A good friend. Since all friends are different and have different expectations of what a good friend is I'm different friends to different people. I'm sensitive to some, harsher to others, and some friends I just talk to on occasion and have a good laugh together. Each friend expects me to be a certain way, and I have to juggle which person I'm supposed to be when.
3.) A good fiance. I have to be loving, compassionate, caring, supportive, sexy, strong, independent, a good woman to his kids, and the list goes on and on.
4.) A good future wife. Not the same as a good fiance...this is an expectation of what I'm supposed to be like in the future...like I have a crystal ball. All the talk about how I will or won't be in the future can be draining.
5.) A good "almost" stepmom. This applies to so many people. What the kids think of me, what the BM thinks of me, what outsiders think of me. They all have different expectations of what makes a good stepmom, and yet none of them are the same and almost all of them have standards/expectations that are impossible to meet. Some people think I shouldn't be involved too much, some people think I'm not involved enough, and others just judge everything I do or say that if I happen to have an ounce of stress from my life that's it's all my own fault for being in this position. Like I'm never allowed to have a bad day without being blamed for deciding to become a stepmom. The BM has expectations of me. To this day I have no idea exactly what they are because no matter how much I've done for her kids and bend over backwards I've never heard a peep out of her and she still talks crap about me all the time.
6.) A good daughter. I am expected to still act like I'm 13 at times and not worry about my parents. I'm not supposed to worry about their health or lifestyle. I'm not supposed to worry if they are doing harmful things to themselves or others. I'm supposed to just "do what I'm told" as if I'm not a grown woman with my own life. I cannot do this, and I often break down their expectations.
7.) A good sister. I have 3 siblings. 1 I grew up with and 2 that came along in my 20's. I'm supposed to involve them in everything in my life (even though we don't live near each other and we aren't very close). I'm supposed to want them all at my wedding. I don't want kids at my wedding (other than the skids) and that doesn't make me a good sister. I don't really want to invite my closest in age brother to my wedding because not only do we really have no relationship, but has he even called in the past 7-8 months to congratulate me? No. But I am the oldest...I'm supposed to be a good sister and make everyone else happy.
8) A good worker. I bust my ass for my job. I love my job. I just don't always like the people I'm doing my job for. I am expected to agree to take on additional responsibilities and be a "team player", and go above and beyond to be recognized as a good worker. No matter what I do, I rarely hear a "good job" or "thank you". With the economy being as crappy as it is I'm always worried about what's next.
9.) A good weight. I'm a runner. I have been a runner and active for years. I haven't been working out as much since we moved. A few times a week instead of 3-4 or more times a week, but I haven't put on any weight...I've actually lost weight from stress and anxiety. I've always been tall and fairly thin. I like to eat bad food from time to time, and I'm always judged by people when I do. Like I must only be skinny because I don't eat, have an eating disorder, or good genes. God forbid I put on a few pounds. These people are not exactly in the best shape of their lives and really shouldn't worry about me.
10.) A good dog owner. I didn't even like animals. Don't care for pets and never wanted one. Now I have a dog that I love the crap out of. He's so cool, and he needs me to help feed him and walk him and take care of him. We have a dog sitter for when we travel, and I wonder what she thinks of us leaving him. I'm so glad he can't talk to tell me anything he's disappointed...even though I see his looks of shock when I don't let him on the bed or leave him at home alone for too long.
Those are just a few things that seem to be on my plate on a regular basis. It's enough to make a person go mad.
Over several months I've tried to work on not worrying about everyone's expectations so much, and I've come up with what MY expectations are of myself. Those are the only expectations I can control.
1.) To do the best I can with whatever situation is at hand.
2.) I am a good person, so I don't need to worry about being one and that makes me good to those I love. I am human and not perfect. I'll never be perfect, and if people have an expectation of me being perfect THEY are the ones that need to lower their expectation of me or they will be greatly disappointed.
3.) I will eat whatever the fuck I want to eat, and workout when I feel like it. I don't believe in diets and I exercise because I like it...not because it's a chore. When I feel like a good spin class, yoga, a hike, or going for a run I'll do it. It's really no one's concern. If I get super fat and have to buy 2 plane seats like poor Kevin Smith, then it will be my company's concern for when I travel for work.
4.) I am not a mom of a SD12 and SS14...I am a woman who is becoming a stepmom and working through getting to know 2 kids that I have not had the benefit to get to know since before birth. I am bound to make mistakes and no matter how great I am...they (and BM) will always find something wrong with me so why worry about being perfect. I am doing the best I can. I plan things for the kids when I want to, I am thoughtful of them, I listen to them and their feelings, and I treat them with respect. I provide them with the things they need when I can...ie: clothes, food, fun stuff. Really...what more does a parent do anyway? Parents are not miracle workers and neither am I just because other people think I have to doubly or triply prove myself because I'm "not their mom". I'm not trying to make friends...I'm trying to help raise someone else's kids to be functioning adults who will live a happy life of their own.
5.) As for being a good fiance/wife...well, I've made no secrets that I don't love to cook, and I don't love to clean all the time, and my favorite pastime isn't picking up after people. I do always have my family's back and would kill anyone who tried to hurt them. When I love people I love them with everything I have. I'm faithful, thoughtful, respectful, and a partner who shares in 50% of the chores and expenses. That's more than most women I know, and if that's not enough then there isn't much more I can do.
Basically I have realized that it's impossible to please everyone and live up to their expectations and if my entire self worth is based on what others think of me...I have more issues than just too many expectations.
We should all think about what we allow others to expect of us, and then in turn try to lower our expectations of others. No one person can live up to all the things they are expected to be and do, and trying to do so is just exhausting and frustrating. Everyone needs to free themselves from these expectations. Otherwise what are we doing? Just living our life for other people based on their expectations and not our own. We need to take control of our own lives and if you are feeling like you are losing control...do what you need to do to get your life back!