Monday, July 20, 2009

Sell Yourself Short!

I arise at 6 am with a smile on my face, exercise, shower, then gently wake up my children who also smile. We enjoy each other's company over a nutritious breakfast of homemade muesli.

Okay, NOT. There's no smile, hardly any exercise, and homemade breakfast? You've got to be kidding me!

Lately, I've been on this jag of trying to accept that my life isn't going to be like the "ideal" picture that I've concocted in my head. As I've said before, my lawn isn't going to be gorgeous and I'm not going to be so organized that everything gets done and no dust will ever enter my house.

Of course, it doesn't stop me from comparing my life to others when I see moms who bake goodies for the last day of school while keeping their house spotless and volunteering numerous hours at school. (And yeah, they dress well too.)

But luckily for me there is the Internet and my favorite thing to interact with in the morning--and it's not my kids who are probably grouchier than I am--the New York Times where I found this great post on the Domestic Disturbances blog. It's all about getting older, lowering our expectations, and accepting our lives. My favorite image is of Judith Warner spilling coffee down her shirt as she yells at her children to get up. I've been there.

Then I just read this post on another NY Times blog called Happy Days, about how the Danes are the happiest nation on earth. I really don't know how you can measure happiness but there you go. Anyway, the post explains that the Danes have low expectations so they are pretty happy with what they have. Granted this post is slightly different from Ms. Warner's post but it has the same theme; if we expect less of ourselves and society, we'll probably be much happier.

And, it makes sense: if I stop expecting to get up with a smile on my face, I might just enjoy the morning more.

Lowering my expectations has come in handy in the past, I just hadn't realized that I had been doing it. When I ran the Broad Street Run (all 10 miles of it), my only thought was: let me finish, I'd like to do it in a 10 minute/mile pace but finishing is good enough. Imagine how happy I was that I finished the race in LESS than a 10 minute/mile pace. In case you can't imagine it, I was pretty damn happy!

I think I'm going to sell myself short so that when I meet or exceed expectations, I'll be pleasantly surprised. Of course, I still want to know about those moms who bake all those goodies, make all the beds in the house and still have time to volunteer at school. But that's the subject of another post, which I may or may not write. I could commit to one post about it but don't hold me to it; I'm certainly not going to hold myself to it.


  1. i was going to life never goes that cookie cutter after having kids. the thing is have fun, we can get so frustrated at not meeting the expectations of perfection that it ruins what we have. i need to check out this blog...

  2. This time of year I often get that feeling. I think all week of the fabulous way I'm going to use my weekend off(assuming I get one, which is not the norm these days) and then Friday night arrives and I just want pizza, wings, and bed. Saturday - I just want to do the absolute minimum required to get by. Sunday, I'm already blue about not using my time off productively and I just want to hide under the covers and watch bad movies all day. I don't even get outside to use my weedy yard and patio area.

    So, new expectation: Do what I need to do to survive the rat race, give myself a break, get outside on patio once a month. I can do that.

  3. Brian you are so right! And Wenderina, I can't tell you how many times I've been there on a Sunday, I hope you get outside!