The chameleon


What else makes it difficult to be a mother?

What if you only had to play the part of a mother? That is complicated enough as it is! It’s a full-time job to take care of everything and everyone around you. Especially when you always want it to be perfect.

You most likely have numerous roles;  that of worker, partner, friend, workout buddy, teammate and maybe even carer. ‘Last but not least’, there is also you. With your own wishes, needs and responsibilities.

If I were to compare you to an animal, you would be to a chameleon that continuously adapts to the situation it finds itself in. Even when you are physically in attendance, that does not imply you are actually present. Because when you are at work, your thoughts wander off and you wonder for instance how you will handle the evening rush hour with your children, whether you are intimate with your partner, you think of everything that needs to be done, you are working yourself to tears, while in the back of your mind you are making your grocery list.

We regularly switch from one thing to the other, handle many things simultaneously (multitasking), but we especially try to remember everything – this demands a lot of energy.

In the previous blogpost (Finding balance) I discussed control and the many negative effects it can have. When you start letting go, you’ll notice that you breathe more easily and have more space. But what choices do you make? What will you let go? And how will you do it?

A lot of the things you do have to do with expectations. Expectations others have of you and the expectations that you think others have of you. And of course, let’s not forget the expectations that you have of yourself.

Are you doing things because you WANT to do them? Because they make you feel good and give you a certain fulfilment? Great! (But I’m sure this does not apply to everything you do…)

Maybe you do certain things because you get something in return – appreciation and approval from others. You could ask yourself, “Is that so wrong?” It isn’t wrong when you only do it once in a while. But when you actually NEED the approval and appreciation of others because you don’t trust yourself (enough), then you do have something to work on!

Do you do things because others expect them of you? Your mother who always did it the same way, your partner who expects you to drop what you’re doing when your child is sick or your friend who expects the same because you are always supposed to be there for each other in a friendship…

Have you had a look at what you actually think of it all? Of what feels right for you? Times change and an important question is whether you are approaching situations from your own values and norms or from someone else’s? If it comes from another person, then you unnecessarily waste a lot of energy by going against yourself.

Do you do things because you think that others expect it from you? Do you ask yourself how you know precisely what the wishes and needs of another are? Have you brought it up? Before you know it, you have filled in something for someone else and you will do something that neither of you will get better from.

And what do you actually expect from yourself? And be honest. How high are your standards? Does everything have to be perfect? Do you have to keep all the balls in the air?

Do you hold perfectionism in the highest regard? Do you run from one thing to another without making time for yourself? That’s actually selfish!!! Because before you know it, you’ve used up all your energy, drained your batteries, made your fuse shorter and have nothing left to give. You break down because you haven’t taken care of yourself and can therefore not do anything for anyone else. Moreover, you become dependent on others. One of your biggest fears comes to life: you can no longer care for others!

How do you get a clear picture of how it all works for you?

You can use the balance you restored with the previous blogpost (It is tough to be a mother!!!) as a starting point. What is the reason you do the things you do? Who do you do them for? What’s behind it all?

The expectations you have of yourself.

Do they contribute? How important is it that you keep doing everything (the same way)? Does the world end when you take a step back? What happens when you let this go or when you do it a different way? (Please be realistic). It is important to put things into perspective!

Make a list of the things you do that you think others expect from you. It is important to check whether your assumptions are accurate. Do others truly expect this from you? Discuss this with other people. I’m pretty sure you will be able to cross out a few things.

The expectations from others.

Of the things that remain, it is good for you to see precisely what you are up against. Do you WANT to keep meeting those expectations? Also take your strengths and capacities into account. You could eventually also look for a temporary solution if you’d prefer.

A lot of expectations derive from beliefs. It would be best to say goodbye to the beliefs that limit or impede the life you want to lead.

Do you want to find out which beliefs limit you and do you want to get rid of them?