Your mother comes to visit, and she expects your house to be clean. Your in-laws come, and they expect your house to be clean. You have friends over for dinner, and they expect your house to be clean. You get together with a new acquaintance so your kids can have a play date, and she leaves in a huff after your son pushes hers.
Yesterday we had a potluck at church, and everyone there expected me to be in the kitchen, smiling as I took food, cut the deserts and dishes that hadn't been cut, find spoons and spatulas for various dishes, and the list goes on.
And often times as mothers, we're supposed to live up to these expectations while the our kids our off playing quietly in a corner. Heaven forbid they get up and run around, or that they get bored and leave that perfect little corner, or that they get mad and start fighting with one another.
So how do we handle everybody else's expectations while still mothering our own children?
1. Focus on your priorities.
Priorities can open up a whole other discussion, but as a wife and mother, your first priority should be your husband, and the next should be your children. You only get one chance to raise your kids, and then they're off on their own, making decisions based on the principles they learned throughout their childhood. So next time someone calls needing you to make something for the bake off, ask yourself if you can feasibly do that task, or if your kids will suffer by being shoved off into some corner.
2. Be polite but firm.
When some well intentioned person (or even a vicious one) starts lecturing you about how your raising your children wrong, or your mother-in-law visits and goes immediately starts washing the fronts of your sticky cupboards, be polite and gently remind that person that keeping them happy isn't your primary goal in life.
3. Don't feel guilty.
Realize that some expectations simply won't get met, and don't feel guilty for putting your family first. You're accountable to God for how you handle your family, not for how many times you make the nosy neighbor across the street smile.