I am not sure what adulting and parenting is supposed to really look like, what is ‘normal’ or should be expected, if it’s normal to feel joy and devastation within a 30 second time frame, to feel defeated by kids one day and the next day feeling like super mom….. all while getting 20 minutes away from bedtime to have the ‘super mom’ feeling deflated. Not a pinhole in a balloon deflated, a fork stabbed in a balloon deflated.
Recently I had a day that I did the full blown working mom role, up early, 30 minutes of yoga, made myself a clean breakfast, got ready for work, kids ready for school, off to work early, a full day of work, while running home for lunch to let the puppy out, then running to the store, grabbing kids on the way home, finally getting home at six, making s’more party mix for school birthday treats, shark jello (gummy sharks in blue jello, pretty big deal in this house since the kids never get gummy treats) made a batch of pierogi for ‘childhood favorite food’ Friday potluck at work, load of laundry……. kids to bed. I loved my day, it was fun, good, accomplished. But then I wonder why I feel so quickly emotionally defeated the moment one little thing goes wrong.
I’m pretty sure it’s normal for many things to not go as planned when you have kids. But, as it turns out, I do not handle that well and I do not handle misbehavior well (not even misbehavior, just kids not being adults, because…. they are not adults), some days I feel like I could go from feeling ecstatic, happy and calm to ready to cry within a matter of seconds. I can’t really pinpoint when things got to this point, but I feel it came somewhere along the way that my expectations got increasingly high. I have noticed that overall I am a happier, nicer mom since we have made huge life choices; ridding myself of emotional exhaustion and negative influences has been a life changer, but our life changes also come with higher expectations.
What I do handle well is control, I love control… and success. I love being at work and being accomplished at home and having everything done just as I like it to be, on my schedule, so that I can enjoy my kids without having everything else hovering over me. The problem is that it is just not realistic all the time. I know this, I know that my expectations bring disappointment onto myself. And I know that when I’m so stressed and spending my time cleaning and more cleaning rather than playing with my kids or just ‘letting it go’ I am missing opportunities.
The disappointment that comes from expectations is the downside.
Their are however, benefits to expectations. Expectations hold my boys accountable, teach them responsibility and help them to set standards that will help them through school and life. Expectations keep me on my toes, I thrive on goals, standards and accomplishments. Without expectations, ‘accomplishments’ would be merely moments, with less significance, celebrations or feelings of conquer. Expectations give me standards for my life, for what I am willing to sacrifice and for what value I hold in myself.
It takes balance to gain from expectations without letting expectations wear us down or leading to disappointment. A balance I am working on so that they can continue to help my family to thrive.