Growing up, we’re all given expectations.
Brush your hair. Do your homework. And for God’s sakes please do not jump in any puddles when you’re dressed for church.
Well, I’ll be honest. I hated brushing my hair. I was chubby and my little arms never could reach to the back of my head, leaving me with an almost unmanageable nest of twists and knots that would seemingly never be unraveled.
And I really, really liked jumping in puddles. Saddle shoes and poofy dresses always seemed to have that effect on me.
But as I mentioned last time, I feel like I more or less met – nay, exceeded – my parents’ expectations as a child. And as such, they spurred me on to continue making a positive impression on those I might meet even after grandma’s handmade dresses went out of style.
If they ever were in style. I’m not sure.
I suppose that’s neither here nor there. But now, as I’m stumbling through my mid-twenties, I’m realizing that it’s not others who are holding expectations for me.
But let me explain. I’m writing this post after watching a couple episodes of The Conversation. And while I realize the amount of ridicule I’m opening myself up to by writing a blog post inspired by a show that airs on Lifetime, to me, it’s worth it.
And if you’ve ever seen an episode, you’d know why. This show is entertaining, inspiring and to be honest, downright frustrating. To insert the old adage of “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry” is a bit of an understatement, although not untrue. This show makes me think, makes me reflect and makes me wish I was just a little older so that maybe, just maybe, some of the wisdom these women have learned over the years would seem more applicable to myself.
I guess you could say that’s exactly the point. It’s supposed to show all of us who are still stumbling and bumbling around that we’ll eventually get it. That we’ll eventually see life is one big wonderful party and all we have to do to attend is put on our happy faces and go.
But I think more than anything, it’s showing that I still just don’t get it. Which is precisely why I’m writing this post.
I honestly do not think that any woman, in her twenties, really truly gets it. I think that some women are better at riding the waves. I think that some are better at rolling with the punches and making opportunity out of obstacles. But in the end, none of us really get it.
And it reminded me of exactly what I said when I started this blog in the first place. That there’s a great big pile of unknown out there and we’re all just sort of hanging around here until we figure it out.
And more importantly, I need to remember that’s OK.
That not knowing is part of the game. That when we’re children, our mothers tell us what to do; when we’re older, we tell our children what to do; but it’s in this middle ground, in this place where I’m not someone’s mother or someone’s daughter 24 hours a day, that I genuinely have no idea what’s supposed to happen.
And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
There are a lot – and I mean A LOT – of sources out there where you can find all the tips in the universe about how to be a better ______. How to be stronger, faster, skinnier, smarter or a better wife and mother. There’s Pinterest to lead us to believe that in order to be a good mom or wife, we have to learn how to make everything clean, everything tidy, with cute organized labels, all while baking the perfect pie and serving dinner on coordinated platters.
Please. I’m all for improvement and things looking nice, but come on. We all remember that Martha went to jail, right?
If Martha can’t do it, how are the rest of us supposed to run the perfect household?
The honest answer? We’re not. Twenty somethings are going to question every decision they make. Mothers are going to question whether they are being the best version of themselves for their children. Business women are always going to wonder whether they’re undervalued.
And we’re all just in it here together.
So it’s important we keep ourselves (and each other!) grounded, fighting our own battles and recognizing that no amount of crafty DIY ribbon can wrap up our life and no perfectly flaky pie crust can make us into better women.
For me, I need to recognize that these outlandish expectations are a product of my own mind and no one else’s. In fact, I hope that others will realize that we’re all our own toughest critics, that none of us really know what the hell’s going on, and that we’ll all figure it out eventually.
We’ll all get where we’re going when we get there. We should probably just lighten up about it already.