Have you ever gone to a movie everyone is raving about and walked out of the theater thinking it was less than stellar? Have you ever gone to the hottest new restaurant in town only to leave thinking it didn’t live up to the hype? These are examples of how expectations can ruin everything. Unfortunately, it’s hard not to have expectations in life especially when having expectations are often a good thing. You expect people to treat you with respect. You expect to have a successful career. On the other hand, having expectations regarding parenthood can be a dangerous thing. If you’re not yet a parent, there is no way for you to fully understand the level of responsibility, work and energy raising a child will demand (not to sound condescending, but its the truth). Deciding to start a family with your partner is an exciting and optimistic time. Unfortunately, many of the romantic notions that go along with making this decision have no basis in reality. For example, thinking that having kids will bring you and your spouse closer, expecting to make a seamless transition into parenthood or trying to plan how things will pan out with your child that has yet to be conceived. By having such expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
When your expectations are low, you’re bound to be pleasantly surprised at least some of the time. And by low expectations we’re not talking about slightly lower than your pre-kid standards, we’re talking about Titanic low. “Expect the worst and hope for the best.” Sounds depressing, but may be a genius approach to parenting. These are words our friend lives by. She is a stay-at-home mother of two, who by the way, loves being home with her kids. Living by this motto allowed her to transition smoothly into parenthood, celebrate small successes along the way and be ok with the status quo while things were tough. It is what it is and being mad about isn’t going to change a thing. Acceptance of your current circumstance is key to weathering the storm while you’re raising young children. That doesn’t mean I don’t condone you bitching to your fellow NSZM’s when things get rough…this is a given. Before you have kids you are in control of your schedule, your home and your time. When you become a parent you’re in control of nothing. If you make a plan and expect it to go smoothly, you’re setting yourself up for failure. When you have kids make a plan, expect the plan to get screwed up and hope that it doesn’t. That way if things don’t completely go to shit, you’ll still consider it a success.
Signs That You Have Lowered Your Expectations Too Much:
- You put on your pajama’s at 3pm. You may have been up since the ass crack of dawn with your toddler, but 3pm is still considered daytime by any standards.
- Your child’s daycare calls and says your son has a high temperature and severe ear pain. Both you and your husband work and you are in the middle of giving a college lecture to eighty students so your husband agrees to get him. When you check in with him several hours later to see how your child is doing, he hasn’t even picked him up yet. You ask, “where are you?” He replies, “home.” Your response, “I’m confused. Why are you home while our sick kid is still at school?” Apparently having low expectations is contagious!
- You get undressed at the end of the day and realize your shirt is on inside out and you don’t even care. Oh well, shit happens!
- When you had your first child you were ready for anything and everything short of WWIII. Your diaper bag was always with you and filled with everything from wipes to a bulb syringe. Now that you’re a mother of two kids, your diaper bag never gets restocked and sits nearly empty in the trunk of your car. Two dried up wipes, one diaper and a single newborn onesie even though you have one and three-year-old kids. Caution, meet wind!
- You find this in your fridge. True story:
- Instead of using a backpack, your three-year-old walks around in public carrying a purple Crown Royal bag stuffed with toys. This is on top of the fact that he is either shirtless or in a superhero costume 90% of the time. Standards…how low can you go?