Doing what everyone wants you to do and realizing you are not happy.
About six months ago I hit a point in my life where I finally realized that I had spent many years doing the things that seemed to be what everyone does, and what everyone expects us to do, and what everyone may so call the recipe to happiness and success, and for the first time in real life, I realized that those things weren’t making me happy.
I am not talking about the decisions that most people in the world make. I am not talking about alcohol or partying hard and then realizing I was left as empty as the day before. Some things I already know that are not good for you.
For me, it was living a life inside of a mold. That mold that everyone expected me to fit with. Those expectations from the middle class, suburbia type life, of what the average perfect mom should be. Like the constant smiling mom that always says “Yes” to her kids and that should never complain about her life and just spend her days cooking casseroles, and driving a van and living in a simple cookie cutter neighborhood, and the list could go on.
As a mom, I see sometimes that there seems to be a mold, particularly where mothers constantly apologize for everything and have to be very careful about everything they say.
I see moms who often feel the need to explain everything lest someone might think anything bad about them and what they are teaching their kids.
For me it was as if a light switch came on. I realized that for so long I often was hurting over the years, even though I was doing such a good job at being the perfect and kind mom that everyone expected me to be.
In reality never before did I realize that perhaps it was because that type of life that the world seems to have painted and seems perfect from the outside, truly doesn’t lead to happiness for me, nor for my kids.
I’ll compare this to exercising a muscle and doing it with the wrong form. You exercise and have pain that usually is supposed to lead to stronger muscles in the long run, but what if as a result you get an injury? But you are excising and your muscles are supposed to be getting stronger!
But you realize instead you suffer injuries in return and you are not getting the results you expected. So it’s time to make the necessary changes to have good form and obtain the desired results.
Life can be like that at times. We are doing something and we have been told we will be happy in return. But we are not. Yet others told us we would be.
Others seem just so happy doing what they are doing. Yet this does not work for us. This is not the right thing for us. At least not the way we are doing it. So we need to switch things up. Do what works for us instead. Find the right form to get the right results.
I remember when my husband had one of his first jobs. We were getting paid well. The job was hard, but we were doing great.
Yet we weren’t happy. He was gone often 12 hours a day 6 days a week. I remember when my second child was born and I realized that she was changing in appearance each single day. Each day she was growing and reaching new milestones. And my husband couldn’t be there for those milestones.
We weren’t happy. Everyone around us was doing this kind of job. But we were miserable. We were out of state, away from our home, doing this type of job.
So we packed our belongings and just left one day. It was scary, but that is when my husband started his career as a Real Estate Agent for the first time ever and we were able to always have him work from home and be with us.
That to us was happiness. More than all the money that we no longer were making at first. I felt the biggest peace during those years. To this day, I feel lucky that I have been able to have my husband work from home for more than 6 years now. To this day it seems too good to be true.
I attribute the same thing to the way I parent my kids and the way I am as a person. I was born and raised in Italy, and when I was 13 my family moved to the Canary Islands.
I lived my life heavily influenced by those two cultures. When I was 17 I moved to the US where I was once again influenced yet by another culture. But to this day, I am different than most people around me. I still don’t fit into the mold. I still parent differently than most people would.
For years I have tried and learned to implement things from everything that I have been exposed to in my life, especially different cultures.
But recently I finally was able to make peace with the fact that some things just weren’t for me, and I wasn’t going to apologize to everyone every time I did things differently.
I can be grumpy at times, I don’t like to go on mommy play dates, because to me I call them “Mommy gets to chat while the kids go haywire and play unattended for a couple of hours.”
We are late to Church every single Sunday. We love to travel and take our kids with us everywhere.
We don’t eat candy at our home. We are tough on our kids because we want them to learn to wait for things rather than being given everything and grow up to be adults with zero restraint or zero self control.
T list goes on and on. I didn’t want to necessarily make an extensive list of every personal reason as to why I am different than the typical life mold. Truth is, some of these reasons may work for my life only.
I just wish for everyone to know that we don’t need to all fit in to the 9 to 5 mold. That we don’t need to all dress the same, buy the same decor, smile when we are unhappy, buy the same kid’s snacks, feel the same way about life and parenting and share the same experiences in order to get along, we don’t need to all have 5 kids…. I was actually told that at the grocery store recently.
Someone approached me about my kids and was complementing me and said: “You need just one more. That’s what I had!”
So to everyone that thinks I need to be just like them, and buy just what they have, and put my kids in their same activities and sports, and live in their neighborhood, and buy that house, and drive that specific car, I can finally peacefully say, “No thank you!” I want to do me and I hope that everyone else can feel free and empowered to do what they feel is right for them.