Social media is filled with messages for families – how to be better, look better, do better. Some of it is well-meaning and helpful. Still, the onslaught of unnecessary, impersonal advice is often overwhelming. We get burnt out and burdened by all the things that society tells us that we should be. Those feelings can lead to fatigue, depression, and unfulfilled potential for moms, dads, and children.
How can we maintain high expectations for ourselves and our family members while also giving grace to everyone? Can we allow ourselves to relinquish some control, fight against weaponized incompetence that may be used against us, and hold space for setbacks that are sure to happen? While it may seem counterintuitive, setting goals and high expectations can lead to a positive, fulfilled life for everyone in the home.
Let’s break this high expectations discussion down by family roles.
It’s not fair to expect either adult in a relationship to carry all the work alone. In most families, the women (even those who also hold jobs), handle most of the housework. Men are capable of doing household chores, providing wholesome and productive childcare for the little ones, and contributing to the family finances just as much as women.
Talk to your partner about what he wants out of the relationship and family life. What special skills and talents does he bring to the table? What scheduling conflicts impact his routine? Answering these questions will help you set realistic and reasonable expectations, while also giving you insight into his daily habits, major goals, and motivations.
By expecting him to be involved with household work and family life, you are ensuring that your kids have a present father and you an all-in partner. You’re also showing him that you plan to treat him as the capable, responsible adult that he is. It’s a vote of confidence in him and his abilities that can come in no other way.
Of course, it is important that communication is open and both parties remain flexible. Careers, responsibilities, dreams, and needs will change over the years. Dividing up work will look different for every household, and it may not be a 50/50 split every time. When one partner is down for sickness or travel or any other reason, the other has to pick up the slack.
Still, maintaining high expectations for your partner will help both of you learn cooperation, communication, compromise, and compassion. It’s important that women expect their partners to commit to sharing all the ups and downs of life. Moms shouldn’t have to do it all on their own.
You can have high expectations for children without becoming a harsh disciplinarian or giving your kids people-pleasing or perfectionist complexes. High expectations can help them develop new life skills and talents and let them know that you believe in them.
Let your children help with chores around the home. Of course, make sure they are age-appropriate and that the kids have the necessary supervision. As they get older, let them babysit their younger siblings or care for a pet. Encourage them to take on extra activities at school or church, and help them find a job when they reach the teen years. Kids may push back against these responsibilities, but ultimately it will be for their betterment. Setting these standards early in a child’s life can help him or her feel secure in their role in the family and bring the family unit stronger.
As you set big goals and expectations for your little ones, let them know you’ll be there for them every step of the way. You’ll have to teach them everything they need to know, from how to fold socks to how to change a diaper. When they mess up, give them a hug and encourage them to try again. Work alongside them so they can see your example and strive to emulate it. These efforts will take patience on the part of the parents, but the kids will learn work ethic and self-sufficiency while also feeling the confidence and love behind their parents’ teachings.
You are a strong woman and you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Set goals for yourself. Try new things. Whether you have corporate ladders to climb, educational ambitions to chase, or new skills you want to learn, you can do it!
Holding yourself to high standards doesn’t happen overnight. Set healthy habits, like eating well, going to bed early, getting outside for fresh air, staying active, keeping your home tidy and organized, and practicing self-care to unwind from day-to-day stresses. Make notes and charts to keep you on track with your goals, use calendar apps, and find mentors who can help you and cheer you on in whatever endeavors you choose to pursue. You don’t have to be perfect at anything, but making strides in a positive direction can only help you with your big goals! These activities will also set a meaningful tone for your home and will give your children a great example to look up to.
High expectations don’t come without pitfalls. Always allow yourself space for your feelings, good and bad. Ask for the help you need. Prioritize what matters most in your life. And, don’t beat yourself up when you don’t achieve perfection. You may face a few losses along the way, but reaching for the stars will ultimately leave you feeling proud, grateful, peaceful, and happy! You deserve that, and your family would love to see you succeed in that way!
As you and your family work together to set big goals, remember to give each other grace and allow for setbacks. High expectations are all about learning, growing, progressing, and becoming. As the old adage says, it’s more about the journey than the destination.
Setting high expectations for yourself and others can help you find purpose, achieve great things, and lift others in your family and in your circle of influence. Goals won’t turn your family into robotic, over-achieving perfectionists. In the right setting, with love, motivation, compassion, and support, goals can lead to happy, successful, contributing members of society. High expectations can also bring more unity, togetherness, and love to your family.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out 10 Ways to Create An Effective Goal Setting Strategy That Sticks for more advice, tips, and tricks.
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