My daughter came upstairs this morning while she was supposed to be downstairs eating breakfast. In the moment I heard her footsteps on the stairs I also made an assumption that she left her buttered blueberry bagel unmanned downstairs with our one-year old puppy. In that moment I laid out an expectation for what was taking place. I assured myself that the puppy most certainly got ahold of that bagel, ate it happily and that my daughter would be requesting a replacement. Another expectation could have been that my daughter moved the bagel to a higher surface, that the dog did not smell the bagel and that breakfast was safe and waiting downstairs. In the moment I heard my daughter coming up those stairs I had a choice to make. I had to allow my reality to dictate the situation or I had to deny my reality and built up an unrealistic expectation about a four year old child, a one year old dog and a bagel. Often times in life, we set expectations for ourselves and situations in our lives that are unrealistic.
Expectations are funny things, they can build us up or let us down. Over the last two years I have spent every month expecting to see a plus sign on a pregnancy test and every month I feel betrayed, emptied, let down, unforgiving, lost and angry. In the last two months I have adjusted my expectations; I expect to see a negative sign and feel okay when that reality is true. It is not that I have changed my wants or desires but rather is that I have corrected my expectations and am allowing my reality to be what it is. In both situations it is not the reality that is causing me to react but rather my expectation of reality that affects my mood. As parents we expect things from every moment of the day. We expect our children to listen to us, we expect a break or a moment to ourselves. Expecting things builds up a layer of let-down that is sure to fall upon us when we least need it. While it may seem counter intuitive I urge you to expect less. Expect your children to have a hard time listening or sitting still at dinner time. Expect that laundry will pile up just as it does every week. When you expect your own reality, it becomes less intrusive to your day and less unpredictable.
Rotating how I look at expectations has allowed me to laugh at the absurdity of all that we do in a single day. Rather than expecting everything and feeling deflated when things do not rise to my expectations. I expect the expected, allowing me to feel blessed and thankful for all the precious moments that happen throughout my day.
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.