Feeling like you are not a good enough mom? Feeling guilty because of your choice to work or to parent your babies the way you do? Could unrealistic expectations silently stealing the joy of your motherhood journey?
If you’re a working mom, it can be hard to keep up with all the expectations of motherhood. It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else thinks our life should look like. But guess what? Your life and motherhood journey is your own, and there are some unrealistic expectations of motherhood that you need to let go of today! Let’s explore these 9 unrealistic expectations right now as well as 3 ways you can STOPP believing in them today!
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What is an unrealistic expectation
So what is an unrealistic expectation of motherhood? An unrealistic expectation is the belief that your life/motherhood journey should be a certain way. And often, when our lives or motherhood journey don’t look like how we think it “should” look, we feel guilty, ashamed and frustrated with ourselves.
The expectations can be set upon us by society, those around us, and even ourselves. They set before us a standard that is determined to be the ideal and then faults us for not reaching it. Even if it is a standard that no one else is achieving.
Often times, the unrealistic expectations that we set on ourselves are based on judgement of others. Some of us believe that because “so and so” seems like they have it all together, then we should too! But guess what? You can’t define yourself or your motherhood journey by someone else’s standards.
9 unrealistic expectations of motherhood you may have
One of the most interesting thing about unrealistic expectations is the fact that they are often standards that most moms feel as if they are failing to meet, regardless of their status and choices in motherhood.
The good thing about this is if we can all learn to recognize these false standards as just that, false, then maybe just maybe the pitting of one mom’s choices vs another’s may stop and we can all agree that motherhood in general is hard!
Your home has to be clean at
This is one of the top expectations moms feel they should meet because society has put this “standard” out there long ago. For some reason, we seem to think that everyone else’s home is pristine and immaculate because it doesn’t look like the inside of our homes!
But what if I told you, no matter who she is, every mom has a case of too much kid stuff in places it does not belong (even if it is hidden behind the camera on her Instagram story). Our little people make messes, and there are going to be times when you are not going to stay on top of it. There are some ways that you can help keep it neat, but believing it will be Pinterest Worthy at all times isn’t realistic.
Your children must eat a certain way
Children are picky eaters. Point blank and period. I have often been embarrassed that my son was fed basically the same 2 meals for 3 years straight. Sausge, broccoli, and rice. For 3. STRAIGHT. YEARS! Like seriously? But I digress.
They say that the taste buds change every 7 years, and I’m sure before 7 children have like 3 tastes they like, Ketchup being one of them. The point here is that a fed child is a fed child. Try your best to offer them variety, but if you find something that works (especially if its balanced) go with that!
Additionally, an occasional fast food meal, or breakfast for dinner is also okay!
You will love every moment of it
Motherhood is literally one of the best things that has happened to me. It has also been one of the hardest. It has tested everything I know about myself and living. Every expectation I had for the type of mother I was going to be went out the window when I decided that my sanity was more important than the status quo.
The truth is, we will love some moments and hate others. Motherhood itself is not a fairy tale. It’s gritty and hard and it makes you feel like pulling your hair out one minute and fills your heart with the most love the next!
There will be hard moments, but you are strong. Honor those moments that are tough, find safe and healthy ways to express those hard times and keep going!
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There is a right and wrong way to discipline your children
Discipline is a buzz word in many mothering circles. But what is and isn’t discipline to one parent or the next is completely subjective! So many of us worry that the one choice or better, the one moment we lose our temper, we will mess up our children. The only way that you will truly mess up your children is if you give up on trying, and growing, and learning in your motherhood journey.
When we remember that God gave us our children, not to rule over, but to steward them well into the knowledge of him and what is right and wrong, we can let go of this expectation and always discipline by the motto to do our best.
You have to engage your children all the time in activities
Yes, we want to spend meaningful time with our children, but we do not have to fill every spare moment of their day with activities. In fact, children who are given just a little time to be bored can create the most imaginative things to do.
If your child would rather read the back of cereal boxes, be okay with that. If they want to spend hours inside playing with toys, go for it! It is important that we give our children time to be active and engaged in their own playtime.
It is always good to introduce different activities throughout the week, but trust me, they do not need to be constantly engaged.
If you do not keep your children in extracurricular activities they will not be well rounded
That brings me to the next unrealistic expectation and that is the idea that children who do not have full schedules will not be well rounded. I am not sure when this idea started, but I would like to end it.
There are many wonderful benefits to having extracurricular activities in our children’s lives, but research shows that the number one predictor of success is how well their parents support them academically!
By this I mean helping them with homework after school and encouraging reading at home. Aside from this, allow your children to pursue interests, but also give them a sense of balance. Teach them early that there can be harmony between their work and busyness and their rest and slowing down.
You have to be the one doing it all
When I had my daughter, I immediately began to work around the home as if I was supposed to be able to do everything. I took on all of the responsibilities despite my husband trying to help because, I am the mother. I felt as if I was supposed to be able to do everything.
I know women who feel like they need to be in charge of everything and do everything. I believe we do this because we think we have to prove our worthiness as mothers, but it is a lie! We are not supposed to do it all.
God has put men and women together for a reason and in marriage that means both parties get a say and the chance to do the work.
Mothers who work are not as good as those who don’t/or vice versa
This is a hard one, because many of us working moms covet knowingly or unknowingly the life of the working mom. Many times it is because we have embraced many of the above stated unrealistic expectations. So we believe that the reason we are not a good mom is because we are not at home all the time.
So we live out our mothering experience from a place of lack. Only seeing what is missing from your motherhood story and not the beauty of your story lived out authentically.
The lack causes us to not be content with how God has made our lives, but instead we are always wanting more.
It is helpful to remember that your kids do not care about the labels society puts on you, they just want you to love them!
You have to know what you are doing
Plot twist, non of us know what we are doing. We’re all winging it! All of us are just doing the best we can and learning along the way. You are not failing because you made a choice and the results were not as expected.
All we can do, is love on our babies well and keep trying our best!
I want to encourage you today, that if you are feeling weighed down with pressure or guilt about your role as a mother, I am here for you!
I have come along side moms for the past 2 years now and the biggest thing is helping them find their story in their current season of life. It’s there, and its beautiful, and once you embrace the mom you were created to be, motherhood gets so much sweeter!
How to know if you have unrealistic expectations
So, now that we know what the unrealistic expectations on moms are, how do you know if you’ve been living life believing them?
I want to share with you three different questions that I ask the women in my Facebook group when they share their stories.
1) When you were a little girl, what did you expect your life to be like when you grew up?
2) How is your life right now different than how it is ‘supposed’ to be according to those expectations from childhood? How has that been a challenge for you?
3) What are three things that you believe you are not doing well as a mom? Why
Being aware of these is the first step in recognizing the unrealistic expectations you may be holding on to. Additionally you want to make sure that you do not hold any limiting beliefs that can also keep you from experiencing a more authentic motherhood journey.
How to overcome unrealistic expectations in motherhood
In order to overcome unrealistic expectations you have about yourself and motherhood you first have to recognize them in your life. Hearing them is the first step, but you have to take an honest account of how you are living and the way you are walking out your mothering journey.
Secondly, you want to speak affirmations and life into your motherhood journey. This starts with seeking the Lord and really understanding who he made you to be. Walking in that person allows you to be confident in who you are and what you stand for. It also gives you confidence knowing that God does not make mistakes! You are exactly the mom you are supposed to be for your babies!
Lastly, in order to overcome unrealistic expectations, surround yourself with others who are walking out their authentic version of motherhood. Surround yourself with mamas who can remind you just how amazing you are and how normal your struggles in motherhood are.
Let the unrealistic expectations go
Motherhood is hard. It doesn’t matter if you are a single mom, stay at home mom or working mother-motherhood can be tough! The expectations of what motherhood should look like are often unrealistic and cause us to feel guilty when we don’t meet those standards. Recognizing that these expectations may not actually work for your life is the first step in living an authentic journey as a momma. Join our Facebook group for encouragement on navigating this season of life with grace!