Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Decreasing my Expectations

Well, that title sounds depressing, doesn't it? But it's not meant to be negative, and in most ways I think it's even a positive. Here, let me explain.
I am a list maker, a go-getter. On days when I am productive and busy, I tend to feel happy. On days when I don't get much done, well, these are the days that I lean towards feeling sad/lonely/guilty/etc. So, what have I learned from this? My body has learned that to stay happy, I should be busy. I should take on projects, be productive, and meet my expectations. And these things are good. In moderation.
However, in reality, I often over-extend myself setting unrealistic goals of what I "should" accomplish in a day. Goals of cleaning my house, working out, baking, discovering, reading, sewing, knitting, blah, blah, blah.
All of these things are great and fine. But- I don't have time to do all of them every day. Or even every week. I have young kids that need their mama. Young kids that are only going to be young once. And the cleaning, baking, sewing, knitting, etc. can wait. At least sometimes. I am not planning on giving up any of my hobbies. (And unfortunately I don't think I can give up cleaning or laundry either). But, I can lower my expectations and be OK with less.
It's OK for my house to be messy sometimes. It's OK to take a few weeks off of knitting. It's OK if I only work out a few days a week. It's OK if I don't get everything crossed off my to-do list. In a few years, when my kids are older, and don't need me as much, I will have much more time for me.
So, for now, I am learning to lower my expectations of myself. To go easy on me and how much I commit myself to. But, I am not going to kid myself. I will still make a to-do list every day, however, I am working on making my lists shorter. I am trying to find time every day to not do anything except just be with the kids and involve myself in their play. I am trying to force myself to slow down, to breathe, and to relax.
How do you balance your needs and expectations with those of your family? Pin It Now!


  1. Yes, Yes, Yes! There will be oodles of time when your babies are older to do things you want to do for now these little ones need you and you will never regret the time you spend with your family.

    I learned many years ago to relax my high house cleaning standards and to just go with the flow. I now have only one baby still at home, [he is 17] and I am a cleaning maniac and I knit when ever I want. Everything has a season.

  2. Balance, what does that mean :) I think you are right on the money with making that to do list a little shorter. For me, a tidy home is important because I can't relax if there is too much clutter, but my hubby feels the same way, so that means we both partake in regular tidy ups around the house. He will do a little when the little man and I are out, and I will do a little when he and the little man are enjoying daddy time. I love to create, so does my hubby, so we carve out time to do that in our days. We are home bodies, so we don't often commit to too much outside the home, and instead create a space that we can really sink into each and every day.

  3. I struggle with finding balance. I do know if I have time to myself and a quiet hour or two, I am much happier and can let go of whatever I feel must be done. Sometimes I try to do a quick tidy and that makes me as happy as a thorough tidy.

  4. I think we could all do with slowing down a little sometimes, with expecting a little less, with kicking back a bit more. It's one of the symptoms of the modern world too, to want to do it all - be a mum, go out to work, keep a neat house, socialise, ... I often struggle to find the balance because I'm so trained to achieve things. I had a very work-intensive spring and the balance definitely tipped towards work rather than family so I'm trying to right that this summer - spend more time with the family, take the kids out, take time off. I'm planning to take off most of next week and the boys have already been excitedly planning all the things that we want to do that week. I'm excited too. It doesn't feel right when I push myself too hard, too long, and I am longing to just 'be' for a while and enjoy the moment.

  5. How did I miss this post? Glad I went back and caught it because this is something I struggle with. I expect so much of myself and am SO busy (you know from my own blog posts) that I am literally at a point now where I feel bad about myself if I slow down. Thanks for this post because I am examining my own expectations of myself. I really do need to slow down a bit and enjoy more "moments." I don't always have to be running....

    1. Glad I am not the only one struggling with this. Maybe we can remind each other to stop and smell the flowers every once in a while.