The other day I was talking to another, younger mother. She was at the intersection of overwhelm and hell and really concerned that she wasn’t being “spot on” with her kids.
This reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend about 15 years ago, when her kid missed lunch on the first day of kindergarten due to a communication error between home and the school. She still feels awful about that goof up.
At the time, I remember darkly suggesting to her that she lower her standards. “At our house,” I confided, “we call it a ‘success’ if, at the end of the day, everyone’s airway is clear and no one has hemorrhaged out.”
You think I’m joking. I’m not. Now that they’re older here is my new benchmark, “If, at the end of the day, no one has a parole officer or is in rehab, it was a good day.” Truly. I’m the mother of sons. We put condoms in the Wheaties over here. (Oddly, and in spite of the willful irreverence of their mother, everyone of my boys is doing just great, making a strong case for the existence of a higher being, by the way!!!!)
For some reason, we women are plagued (well, actually we plague ourselves) with unreasonably high standards for most of the things we do. I’ve also observed that, even when we succeed at those high standards, we often still feel a sense of failure since “we must have set the bar too low if we were able to sail over it so easily.”
If you look closely, you will see that our masochistic approach to life is not really appreciated by the people we are bleeding out for. So, if that is the case, why do we do it? What are we hiding underneath of our drive to over-achieve?
If you’re exhausted by life, Lower Your Standards. Decide that you will feel successful with achieving at LEAST three clicks below what you currently accomplish. And – here’s the kicker – reveal your inferior intentions to your sisters. Give them permission to underachieve, too.
The sky will not fall. The world will not tilt on its axis. And, maybe, you might even have a little bit of fun living your own damned life.
Photo: Flickr, Spierzchala