The way you handle expectations vs realities, drastically changes once you have kids.
Before becoming a parent, when it came to events or projects, I built up my expectation very high. I wanted “this” to happen a certain way. With a particular outcome. Scenarios were very elaborate with every possibility, and I planned things as much as possible down to the last detail, to achieve the outcome I wanted.
Granted, the reality wasn’t always as expected. But usually pretty close. I could at least deal with the fact that I tried, as hard as I could, and if I didn’t get the expected results, then oh well. Always next time & know I have a better understanding of what to expect.
Then I had a baby.
Over time, I’ve realized my expectations were no longer a viable option, or even prediction of a possible result. Something about a baby did this. Maybe it’s continuously running late for every appointment, no matter how hard you try to be ready in time. Maybe having scheduled babysitters fall through. Or maybe it as just the inevitable fact that whatever I planned on doing that day, that afternoon, that hour, that moment, just wasn’t going to happen due to absolutely anything going wrong (or at least not according to plan).
If you live following your own personal order of things, routine, or way of doing things, unexpected interruptions like this that have a way of throwing everything off balance, can be devastating. You find yourself accomplishing nothing at the end of the day, because first thing this morning the pediatrician didn’t call to confirm tomorrow’s appointment at their usual time to call. You end up waiting to go to the post office, so you can wait for the call. Then you eventually go, but the baby is now ten minutes late for his afternoon nap. Now he refuses to nap, and must be entertained, so you are behind on laundry. By the time you throw a load in the washer, fussy baby contained in the pack & play (He hates the pack & play, so he’s steadily trying to climb out), you have forgotten to take the chicken for dinner out of the freezer-because you usually do this on the dry cycle, (being that the deep freeze is in the laundry room) and now before you know it the husband is home. House is a mess, baby is over tired and not sleeping, there’s nothing to cook and you haven’t gotten anything really done. And the pediatrician’s office has left a voicemail you won’t remember to check until tomorrow.
I think it’s important to take everything in small steps and allow plenty of room for the unexpected. And don’t let your own expectations overshadow what’s really going to happen. That’s when we become disappointed, and sometimes overwhelmed. It seems like a minuscule thing to get upset about, but over time, all the little expectations of how things should be going in your head, can really bring you down when your plans are halted & changed.
If you don’t get to finish that pinterest project that’s going to transform your closet this weekend, because your sister was supposed to come over and take the kids to the park, then save it for another day. If you throw a girl’s night party, and only 3 out of 7 show up (which is completely unfair, since you & your best buds do this every month and they always show up at the other ladies houses for wine and Game Of Thrones) leaving you with entirely too many snacks and dessert prepared. Just let the husband raid the fridge, and enjoy not cooking since there’s more than enough Pigs In A Blanket for even him to get full on. It’s not worth stressing over.
Yes, it can be annoying when things fall through. It can be downright expensive, inconsiderate of your feelings, turmoil for other things set in motion down the line, but at the end of the day; is it worth your sanity?
The answer is no.
Just Go With It
Roll with the punches. Your party didn’t turn out like you expected. Your day of errands was ruined by a sick kid. A blizzard canceled your Aunt’s flight, so no family visit this year. Learn to live with it, and don’t let it ruin the day. Adjust your expectations of how things should go…to how they will more likely go.
Here’s 5 Tips on Learning To Deal With The Realities of Your Expectations
- Stop. Collaborate, and Listen. No, that’s not just Vanilla Ice. When the day is plummeting into chaos, the best thing you can do is take a moment to stop. Get with a friend or partner, and come up with a quick solution to the most pressing issue. Dinner no where near ready? Order out. People don’t show for the barbecue? Donate that extra 20 lbs of food to a local soup kitchen. There’s a solution to every setback and disappointment, but you might be so anxious that you can’t find it on your own. So enlist help!
- Learn from the past. When your plans don’t exactly go accordingly, take notes; Did I maybe invite too many people over? Do I need to be more proactive about confirming appointments? How can I get the kids on a better schedule? If you’ve over prepared for events with lack-luster attendance, maybe you need to rethink your strategy? Remember, if the reality didn’t quite meet your first expectation, you may want to readjust your thinking just a bit.
- Don’t Carry The Weight Of The World. In other words, don’t take on too many things at one time. Because you need to be able to plan for the unexpected. No one ever expects that their car battery might die because one of the kids left an interior light on all night. Or that the line at the bank is going to be super-long. While your schedule might be busy, leave some wiggle room for the unexpected realities of the day. It’ll keep you centered, and when things go awry, it’ll be a nice reassurance that you have plenty of time to square it all way.
- Don’t Believe The Hype! We all see those happy, smiling faces on Pinterest with their perfect crafts, and those Mothers on Instagram with a custom tailored white top that has never seen lint, let alone a snot stain. Don’t hold yourself to their image. That’s not reality. It’s an expectation that a lot of us put on ourselves, simply because we see it. Trust me-those Moms all have a hole-y t shirt buried under pajama pants somewhere…it just doesn’t make the feed.
- Count Your Blessings. Sometimes our realities just don’t live up to our expectations. And that’s okay! What’s important, is remembering what we have-not what we couldn’t quite achieve. So you expected that To-Do List to get done today. Be grateful you have something to look forward to tomorrow. Your paella didn’t turn out like you hoped. Now you can find another recipe! When the baby just won’t give you a break from snuggles-remember that some women are without a baby to hold all night. There’s a silver lining to every cloud.