My biggest fear about getting married was that I was going to have to cook dinner every day in order to be the perfect wife. I was terrified. Rarely did I actually cook a full meal for myself, let alone another person. I felt like if anything made me not cut out for the job, that was it. Naive, I know, but that was my biggest hangup.
Luckily for me, my husband is really easy going and doesn’t make me feel bad when I only have enough energy to make macaroni and cheese from a box. However, when I do cook meals, I like to cook meals that are well balanced and a bit healthier than carbs on carbs on carbs. So, I just went grocery shopping (and stayed under $100, woohoo!!!), and I’m setting a goal to make healthier dinners for at least 4/7 days this week. The other days account for when my husband has to work evenings and I can survive on zucchini and sweet potatoes.
I know a lot of people, wives, husbands, friends, mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, whoever you may be, can get hung up on the smaller things because they seem so important to us. It can be an extremely heavy weight on our shoulders to feel like we just don’t measure up to what we think the expectations are.
My question is, who decides on those expectations? Who decides that we aren’t good enough?
For me, the thoughts that I have to cook dinner every night in order to be a good wife comes from my mother. She’s NEVER ever in her life said that to me, she’s never even implied it!! And, let’s clarify, we had plenty of leftover or fend for yourself nights when she didn’t want to cook, too. But my mom is my greatest role model, and she showed her love through her cooking for my dad. He always got his food first, and she would always cook according to what he liked or wanted that day. So, growing up with such an amazing cook for a mom, inadvertently taught me that in order to be as wonderful a wife and mother as she always has been, I have to cook dinner!
(these are some of the meals my mom makes, she’s perfect, I know)
Your committee members may be different, but the important thing is recognizing that you have a committee made up in your mind deciding what you should/shouldn’t do/feel/be. And they are not always right!!
My mom would never call me a bad wife for not cooking dinner! She would point out the good things I do, like keeping the house clean and organized, or always doing the laundry so everyone has clean clothes. My committee in my head is completely fictional, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to ignore.
I had a friend tell me a story a while ago of when she was a new mom (she has four beautiful kids, now). On the outside, she comes off as the most put together person I have ever met, but she will not hesitate to tell you that she lives in sweatpants, no makeup, and a messy house because that’s what mom life is like for her. When she was a new mom, though, she lacked a lot of that confidence that she has gained over the years. She felt pressure from her committee to be perfect – to keep the perfectly clean house, to have the perfect body after baby, and to always have dinner ready when her husband comes home. Finally, she cracked, and her husband came home to find her crying in the corner of the kitchen because she just could not make dinner that day. Her sweet husband picked her up off the floor, comforted her, and proceeded to make dinner himself. In everyone else’s eyes, she was still a super mom and a super wife. Her husband did not love her any less for coming home with dinner not being made, things scattered throughout the house, and a mess of a wife on the floor. But in her eyes, she was a failure.
Friends, what can we do to change our mentality, to stop being such perfectionists and people-pleasers? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out. But it starts with recognizing that there is no such thing as perfection in anything we do. There’s just not. What we might think is perfect is an absolute disaster to someone else. We have to find a balance in our own lives of trying our best and being okay with being less than perfect. I promise your husband will still love you if you don’t put eyeliner on every day. He married you for more than your perfect wings, ladies.
So this week, as I try to make dinner every night, I’m going to remember that it doesn’t have to be a spectacular event every night, or else I’ll just get burnt out. I’m going to do my best to get a balance of proteins and vegetables, but I can already promise you that one night, we’ll be making frozen pizza at 9pm because I just won’t have the energy to do it all.
Learn to love yourself and learn to give yourself credit for the effort you put in. You’re already the best thing in someone else’s eyes, so don’t beat yourself up over a few flaws or mistakes. You’ve got this.