Skip to main content

Unrealistic Demands and Expectations

The other day I decided to ask Galen and Kole to join me on my daily jog.  I normally like going solo because my jog time is well....my time.  My time to mentally escape.  I usually go for a nice hour walk, stroll, jog.  I listen to my favorite podcasts, and enjoy escaping in my thoughts. 


On this particular day the boys came along.  They didn't disturb me with the many questions they usually have.  They didn't do much talking with each other either.  They rode their bikes quietly a bit ahead of me. There were a few things that caught my attention during this quiet hour.  

I realized that I tend to get very focused on a task at hand, whatever that task may be...usually household chores or de-cluttering.  I have this thing about wanting everything just right before I can truly enjoy things.  I know it sounds pathetic but I usually play that mind game of when the house is "straightened" or clean then I truly feel a sense of accomplishment and enjoy "life"  There is this perfectionist side of me that controls my emotions but never completely surfaces.  So I'm a free spirit with perfectionist quality. If that is even possible?  

Not to go into a psychological analysis on how my mind works but I can give you a glimpse.  And come on now...we all struggle with some sort of complex.  You might say you don't but you do.  

So anyway...this "perfect woman" lives in a corner of my mind.  She tells me that I have to follow certain agendas in order to feel good about myself. Yes...I struggle with that side of me.  When that "perfect woman" tries to control my emotions, I tend not to enjoy the moments in my life.  I start feeling a little anxiety.  The feeling that I have to quickly get things done.  I feel like life is flying by and I have to get moving and doing!  Just picture White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and you'll know what I mean.  

If I could only stop and breathe just for a moment. 

Here's the thing though...I'm always good at making mental notes to "stop and smell the roses", to stop, breathe and take in the very existence of the present moment.  But that's just it...it's only for a moment that I do this and quickly jump back to my agenda. God forbid I get behind...the ugly, perfect woman starts to surface.  And that's when I pull out my Kava tea.  And no this isn't an advertisement for Yogi tea.  Well...if they want to send me a few dollars I wouldn't mind it at all.  :)



So back to the other day...

As the boys were ahead of me I stopped right in the middle of my jog and looked around. I stopped to listen.  I heard birds chirping, squirrels rustling through the leaves near the road, and in the distance...my boys.  I thought about the ugly perfect woman that gets so caught up in the plans and agenda.  I thought about when we start our travels how that will look like.  Will my location become just another place? Will this ugly perfectionist follow me on my travels?  Or will I truly enjoy my surroundings and the moments.  

The adventurous, care-free, free spirited part of me day dreams about what my travels and adventures will look like.  Will they be like my imagination?  I always like to imagine what it will be like to be in the midst of an amazing place.  I often think of myself exploring Mayan ruins.  Or hiking in and throughout Colorado. Or watching the sunset in Costa Rica while enjoying a glass of wine. 

my imagination
another imagination to become a reality
imagine
I snapped out of my imagination to truly take in where I was.  I stopped and looked around at the trees.  I took in what was surrounding me.  I breathed in the air of the beautiful November day in Florida.  I thanked God for where I was at...at that very moment.  I took a deep breath.  Watched my boys on their bikes and thought of their current lives.  


They seemed so relaxed and carefree.  There was nothing that bothered them.  I reflected back to my youth of playing in the cornfields of Iowa hours on end.  Riding my bike to Mr. C's to play Pac Man.  Swimming in our community pool until I could feel my stomach growling because of hunger.  Satisfying that hunger with a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich on white bread.  Those were the days.  

My thoughts then veered off to thinking on kids in general.  I started thinking about children who may be filled with anxieties and stress they don't necessarily need.  I read a book a few months back called Race to Nowhere: Beyond Measure where it discusses the stress our kids are placed under just for the sake of grades, athletic aptitude and after school activities that consume their time.  Yes...as parents we can justify and say these activities are needed to help them in the future.  When in high school the demands become ever more consuming. Their time is spent making sure the grades are sufficient enough to get into a good University, taking the SAT, applying for scholarships. The amount of stress, anxiety and depression some of these kids are experiencing is unreal.  All for what?  Yes..we can say it's for their good and future success but is it really?


There was a paragraph in the book which I can't necessarily quote word for word but it talked about where a study showed that stress and anxiety levels of most children were much greater than their working parents?!  Why is that?  Most kids usually have to follow the schedule dictated by the parent and school.  

There is such a short time to enjoy childhood.  If you truly think about it, it's a mere 14 years.  That's if you consider a child is of age 4, then into the teen years to the age of 18, when they are considered an adult by today's standards.   Once they become independent adults they have years upon years to become "adult like".   Unnecessary stress placed on our kids eats at their very soul.  Demands that shouldn't exist in their daily to do list.  Kids should be stress free and care free.  Enjoying their childhood, riding their bikes and playing with neighborhood friends. 

I then started thinking of these same kids becoming adults.  They become adults molded by what is expected of them.  Most don't know how to take a moment to enjoy their very existence.  I was listening to a young man share his story of how he lived that expected life. He finally realized he was full of stress, anxiety and depression.  He was in his freshman year of college, excelling in his academics as expected but wasn't happy.  He realized he couldn't continue living this way and something had to change.  He went to see a career counselor at his college and she asked him what he wanted to do.  She asked him what his fears were. He answered saying he was afraid of being a beggar on the streets.  She as him what is the best thing that could happen if he took a leap of faith. He said he would meet interesting people and maybe write a book.  He realized that he had to go for it.  Take that leap. This young man quits college, saves a little money and spends months hiking through central America.  The amazing thing that came out of it is a memoir and now is speaking in high schools throughout the country encouraging kids.  This young man has no need to worry about becoming a beggar.


Now why did I even go into all of this.  Oh yes...my thoughts.  I think on topics like this almost all the time. I struggle between my "created demands" and enjoying the moments of reality.  I do see my life changing.  I see myself getting rid of those things that take up my moments.  I don't want to be consumed in creating a "perfect environment" because the "perfect environment" is in simple laughter, kisses, cuddles on the couch, going on fun adventures, and just living as simply as possible.  This is the life I want to create while guiding my children to live theirs.

Comments

momto9 said…
" I don't want to be consumed in creating a "perfect environment"~ Oh how this strikes a cord with me!! And that mindset leads to a much much happier life...more so than if we have all our to do list completed perfectly. Great post I enjoyed it!

Popular posts from this blog

She is Here!! Welcome Ana Karisa!!

Just a quick update to let you know we had the baby!!  Yay!!!! :D Here name:  Ana Karisa (pronounced  A-nah  Ka-ree-sah  ) Born: January 30 at 9:15 PM Weight:  7'2 oz  19 inches  Beautiful little girl.   Here are some pictures and when I start feeling normal and not so much like a milk cow, then I will post the details of what took place on Delivery day. ( Ana about 5 minutes old) (Here she after her check up--about 30 minutes old)   (Coming home!!  1 1/2 days old) We came home yesterday late afternoon, and I am lacking much sleep.  I really haven't slept since last Saturday.   She is nursing a lot right now to bring down my milk.  I've been nursing around the clock.  Almost every hour.  I am doing this because she has been hungry and I need my milk to come in as soon as possible.  I am showing signs today of it coming in.  She is not so fussy and more content.   It is so easy to forget about those newborn days.  It doesn't matter how many babies you have h

Kara Faith Palmer has Moved to Heaven!!

Sharing with you all that Little Miss Kara Faith Palmer has moved to heaven! Her move became official at 7:00 am right as the sun arose at her 7 week old birthday. She passed in the arms of her mommy and daddy comfortably and in peace right where she was meant to be In their loving arms. Even though she had her disabilities She is perfect in the eyes of those who love her Unconditionally I miss her I think I will always miss this little one She will FOREVER be part of my life I never carried her But walking through this with her mommy impacted my life in many many Ways She is so beautiful And I know that TODAY She is walking through the field of flowers laughing running playing It was hard for her mommy and daddy to let her go To live is Christ but To die is Gain She is in Her new home now with the BIG DADDY GOD and one day soon We shall see her again!! We all love you KARA FAITH PALMER 4 EVER The night before her passing we got a chan

Meet Sweet Kara Faith

My sweet friend Nancy from Mom Just Like You , delivered sweet Kara Faith on January 8, 2010 at around 6:45 AM. Nancy's husband Stu calls me around 5:30 AM to let me know Nancy's contractions never let up and she was going to be delivering their long awaited miracle baby Kara. It has been an emotional battle these past 4 to 5 months for Nancy and Stu. Kara was diagnosed with Alobar HPE on the same day they found out they were having a baby girl, their 8th child, third daughter. Their heart was broken not knowing what the future held for them. Nancy leaned on the only source she had in her life: The Lord. I have been friends with Nancy for 5 plus years now (we met on MOMYS). When I found out Nancy was going to have a special baby, immediately my mommy heart was aching for my sweet friend. I went into deep prayer and intercession for them. I was grieving along with them, but deep down in my heart I knew God was and is Faithful. As I prayed one evening at worship nigh