As an over-thinker, expectation vs reality can be a huge source of stress and anxiety for me. Back in the day, it would be the expectation of going out, looking fabulous of course, and having an elegant and sophisticated evening with the ultimate goal of finding a husband. Vs the reality, which was me blind drunk and sweaty, singing my heart out to Toto’s Africa and spraining an ankle.
These days I’m a happily married Mummy of two, so my neuroses now focus on my family (lucky them!)
Like every other family, we’re so busy – there just aren’t enough hours in the day to fit in work, housework, kids, healthy cooking, exercise, family, friends, time alone, time as a couple, hobbies and the latest box set.
So when it comes to “quality family time”, I feel immense pressure to come up with unique experiences, ensure everyone has loads of fun and to create wonderful memories for us all. In my head, I imagine all these perfect scenarios and summon up images of us all, holding hands and skipping along, through my rose-tinted Mum glasses.
And don’t get me wrong: we have a great time together. With my wolfpack is where I always want to be, no exceptions. But perfect doesn’t exist. When inevitably one child cries because he has a muddy welly, and the other child cries because he dropped his Cheddars, and the husband gets a massive grump on because both crying children are now asking him to carry them, I feel like a failure. That I’ve let myself down, my family down, that the kids will grow up deprived and my husband will resent us.
It’s a tricky anxiety to combat too, given the glossy media driven world we live in. Awesome Mummy bloggers like Hurrah For Gin are doing wanders for us in giving us big doses of reality and helping us to stay sane, but supposedly a (photoshopped) picture is worth a thousand words…
So finding joy in the little things, the fun in the small moments, the laughter in the tears is something I’m really working on now, for myself and for my family. Because you never know when the world will end because you tried to give a toddler a banana.