There is a unrealistic demand on us in life to give 100% of ourselves to everything we take on.
My job expects 100%. Actually, if I want the best raise I can get each year, they expect 110%
My home requires 100% of me. Between daily upkeep and ongoing work on the yard and inside from purchasing a foreclosure, there is never a shortage of things on my to do list around the house.
My marriage requires 100%.
My kids definitely require 100% of me.
And what about me? How much of myself should I devote to myself?
So, if you do the math… I am trying to cram more than I have to give into every aspect of my life. This is impossible, which results in the dance. If you think about it in term of glasses full of water, I (as do most of us) end up continually transferring the water from container to container. Today, my job needs me to be 100% present, but my kids are sick, so realistically I have to keep some water in that container. Actually, I always have water in that container, even when they aren’t with me.
Then when I get home, I pour the water back into the home and kid’s containers, maybe borrowing a little throughout the day to apply to one of the other areas as needed.
The end result, we never actually have 100% of the liquid anywhere and inevitably some of it ends up spilling.
Depressing when you think about it that way.
I have been struggling with this a lot lately. I have such high expectations of myself that the pressure I put on myself to try to fill all of my glasses consistently is exhausting. I think the key is to try to get other people to add their water to your glasses. I think that truly happy people figure out a way to tap into and contribute to some sort of communal well. This is something, I will admit, that I struggle with.
When it comes to my kids, I am slowly learning to ask for and allow other people to lend me some of their water from time to time. I am immensely grateful for grandparents and good friends (you know who you are). And hopefully, I can do the same for them when they need it.
I am not good at asking for help. I have always been independent, opinionated and stubborn. I know this about myself. Mostly, I value it as I feel it is part of why I am also strong. But, while I can easily see where others might need help and am usually more than happy to offer that when I can, I am not as good with this with regards to myself. Usually, I realize I am completely overwhelmed only after I spill my hypothetical water all over the counter.
I also want to be clear that I am not writing this in an attempt to have a pity party for myself. I genuinely do love my life. I have a job I enjoy and feel like I am pretty good at. I love living in Anderson Twp and Cincinnati in general. I have pretty amazing kids and a loving solid family. I have a husband who I enjoy being around, when we get the time. I also signed up for this. Lately, there have been a lot of posts on social media about motherhood and not getting a break, etc… and while true… this is what I wanted. I knew there would be sacrifice. I didn’t know how great the reward would be.
But, just because I am blessed and I am eternally grateful for the gift of my life and my children… does not mean I don’t get frustrated. Or that I don’t need to continue to work on finding a healthier balance among all of the demands in my life. So, really I am writing this for no other reason than to simply be honest. If life were easy, we would never learn or grow. If parenthood were easy, everyone would take it for granted. If success was easy, it wouldn’t hold any meaning. Above all else though, I think I need to learn to keep it real – or realistic as the case may be. Easier said than done, but I like to think I will come out on the other side with a smile on my face and some great things to show for my life.