So this is Part 2 of Meagan's question about how I deal with the expectations of others. You can read Part 1 where I talk about how driving a commuter bus has it's challenges and how I often find people judge me by the size of my butt! Ha ha! However, what I really want to talk about today is Women.
In thinking about how I deal with the expectations of other's, I have to say that most of my toughest pressure and criticism has come from other women. I know there is a saying that says, "Men: Can't live with them. Can't live without them". I also feel that this applies to women. Women: Can't live with them. Can't live without them.
Women: Can't live with them. My first thought in relation to this is, why is it that we judge each other so much? We are fierce in our support for the roles of women in society but harsh in our judgement of each other in our every day lives. We want society to accept us as equal but we can't simply accept each other for who we are and the way we raise our children in our homes. When it comes to being a mother we are often at our worst. We speak out against other women who are trying their best to raise children and go out of our way to embarrass them when they are doing the best they can. I have even been guilty of doing this myself. I have often judged others and then felt terrible that I let myself get caught up in such crazy thinking.
As women we talk, we gossip, we whisper,
'Did you hear what ... did with her kids?',
'I can't believe she is feeding them ... !!',
'I saw ... today and she had her kids dressed in ... !!'.
The list is never ending.
Now I know not everyone does this and I am being very general here in making this statement but I find that if you are going to be a mother and especially one of a large family you need to be aware and prepared that other women will not like what you are doing and will tell you so if given the chance. Women love to share their opinion. If you have been pregnant you will totally understand what I am talking about. Just think of how many birth stories you heard and how many opinions about hospitals you received! Being aware of this helps me to deal with the pressure and expectations of other's.
Women: Can't live without them. As women we can't live without each other. We need friends who are women in our lives, we need to talk about girl stuff and to share our hearts with each other. We need to chat and share our mothering challenges, our birth stories, how our husbands or partners sometimes drive us crazy and to know that we are not alone in our parenting journey and trials. We know that other women just get it, they know where we are coming from and that makes all the difference when we are having a bad day. We seek out other women who like minded because our heart tells us that is what we need in our life and we know that having great relationships with other women is healthy and necessary.
They are the type of friends who lift us and inspire us. They help us stick to our expectations we place on ourselves and they don't let us quit when the going get's tough. They are a shoulder to cry on, open arms when we need them and a listening ear that never judges. They accept us for who we are and stand up for what we value and against those who may be putting us down.
Even though most of my harshest criticism has come from other women they have also been a source of great support and encouragement when I need it most. I need them when people expect me to be a super woman. Just because I have seven children it does not make me a super woman. I make mistakes, I feel vulnverable, I feel overcome with my parenting role, I get hurt, I cry, I struggle with situations that come up in our family and I worry. I worry if I have done enough to help my kids, I worry I may have destroyed their life already and I worry about if they know I love them enough.
The only time I find that I have trouble dealing with the expectations of others is if I am upset, people often say, 'Don't worry you will be alright'. Well, some days I am not alright and I feel it is unfair to put that expectation upon me. Yes, I know I will be alright eventually, but right now I am not. I am hurting and my kids are draining me and I have nothing left to give myself. I need someone else to give me some strength, I need someone to simply care and to listen. On days like this I find myself saying, Women. Can't live with them. Can't live without them!