Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Old Habits Die Hard

It would appear that I need to revisit the topic of boundaries. Determining, establishing, and enforcing all seem to be an ongoing issue for me. As my best friend has told me before, "You are just too capable!" Sometimes I wish I wasn't so capable. Then, maybe everyone wouldn't expect so much from me.

On the topic of expectations, there has been a quote running through my head rather frequently as of late, "Expectations are the surest path to disappointment." See, not only do others have expectations of me, I also have expectations for myself as well as expectations of others. It seems that not only can I disappoint myself, I can also bring disappointment upon myself by expecting things from others.

My family can be SO demanding, and I really struggle with this fact. It is difficult for me to balance my needs with the needs of those around me. It is overwhelming. There are always so many things beckoning for my attention. There's the house, the kids, my husband, church, community, business, friendships, extended family members, personal interests, and self maintenance. That's just the short list. As a mom it can be quite overwhelming when you realize just how many hats you really wear. Sometimes a reevaluation of commitments is in order. With the addition of our new little guy I find myself in serious need of reevaluating my commitments and priorities. This is a good and healthy thing for us to do from time to time.

I have come to learn over the years that we can be our own worst critic. Sometimes the greatest pressures put on us are self inflicted. It is a good idea and even necessary for us to cut ourselves some slack time and again. As Americans our lifestyle can be so out of balance. Priorities can get way out of focus, and the wrong things become important. As a perfectionist this was a very difficult lesson for me to learn, but my family aided me well in the process. I am pretty much the only perfectionist in my home. This means that I live with people that are not bothered by crumbs on the counter or a floor that doesn't sparkle. Layers of dust go unnoticed, and a dirty refrigerator is the last of anyone's worried. Let alone a mirror covered in streaks. Seriously, this goes unnoticed by everyone. Everyone, that is, but me.

See, I notice these things. The difference now is that I don't let them stress me out. I have grown to realize that quality time with my family and fostering close relationships wins out every time over having a home that could grace the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. Although, deep down inside I would love to have both. Despite my natural tendencies I have learned to not let a very lived in home ruin my day or ability to spend time with my family. Certain things will never change, though. I do still need to clean the kitchen before I cook or scrub the tub before I soak in it, but that's on me. What a different world it would have been had I learned this flexibility when all of my children were young.

Now, for a reality check. I do have commitments looming. In some way it is necessary for me to put a new plan in place. Life as I know it has been redefined. There is a new little man in our lives that takes precedence over all. It is time for me to learn how to put him first and still honor my commitments. Being out of baby practice does pose it's challenges when it comes to accomplishing things like bookkeeping, tax preparation, Adventurer planning, bulletin editing, and volunteer commitments. It's still a juggling act. The balls are just different and falling in a new direction. The trick is learning what to catch first, and I'm well on my way to figuring it out.


redkathy said...

You aren't the only one who cleans the kitchen before cooking. My house sounds a lot like yours. Everyone who visits always comments how they feel at home! So, a lived in house must be a good thing. I do everything, literally. Not sweating the small stuff does make a difference.
Have fun with that baby and ask that family to pick up some slack. And, say no once in a while, it's ok not to do everything that is asked you know.

Tina said...

RedKathy - You do have a point. People do seem to feel more comfortable in a home that is lived in. The BHG homes don't invite you to put your feet up and relax. It was difficult, but I have learned to say no more often.


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