Friday, January 6, 2012


A lot of emotions in life, whether good or bad, seem to come from expectations. We get disappointed because people don't meet our expectations. My friend didn't do what I thought she would, my husband didn't meet my needs when I expected him to know them, I excepted more or something different than what happened. Something goes as we expected or better and we're happy. When struggling with a difficult relationship where I felt disappointed, someone wise in my life asked me if I had communicated my expectations with that person. Did they know I was expecting that of them? What were they expecting of me? How often would having that sometimes scary, yet simple conversation, save us from a lot of heart-ache.

Some people may not know this about me but I'm a bit of a closet perfectionist. Okay, maybe not in some areas. Clearly I don't have the need for a perfectly tidy bedroom or organized office. But I do have high expectations of myself in other areas, especially in the relational, emotional areas that are less visible. I don't want a good marriage, I want a GREAT marriage. I don't want to be a good mom, I want to be a GREAT mom. While those are good things, sometimes my motivation is off. I want to be better than someone else because secretly it makes me feel better about myself. People judge and put others down because they are insecure, myself included.

I think it's good to want to be better but it's also important to be realistic. I've been thinking about this a lot recently as it relates to being a mom and chief operating officer of our home. Sometimes I need to let things go because they are not important. It's one thing to want things in order because it makes life run smoother and reduces stress. It's another to do it to keep up the facade of having it altogether. Sometimes I just need to get down on the floor and play with my kids. I'm not a perfect mom. Sometimes I'm lazy and tune out with TV when my boys need me to engage with them.

We're now in the stage when being a parent is more than about feeding, diapers and cuddles. We now need to teach them life skills, how to treat others, how to behave. It's a huge responsibility. And I KNOW sometimes my expectations for my boys are too high. I believe that it's never too early to start teaching. Start as you meant to go on. I believe so many parents don't expect much of their kids and it shows. But my boys are only a year and a half. Developmentally there are so many things that they don't get but I need to celebrate their little accomplishments. I expect that we'll clean up our basement playroom before going upstairs. I teach that to my boys by modelling how to clean up and bringing them back down when they try to make an escape. We sing the clean-up song and try to make it fun. It's amazing how quickly they learn, but I can still only expect them to put a few things away at this point. Sometimes I want them to be capable of more than is realistic and I really have to watch myself. It's easy to focus on what they can't do instead of celebrating the things they can and how far they've come already.

I expect a lot of myself and other people. Don't we all? I expect my husband to love me, to be kind and faithful, to help out around the house and be a good dad. But sometimes I catch myself pointing out the one thing he didn't do, while not acknowledging the million things he did do. I know how crappy I've felt at certain times in my life when it's happened to me and yet I still do it. I guess the key is that when I realize it I need to make amends and try to change my actions. Expectations aren't a bad thing. They are good and necessary, but they need to be communicated, managed and realistic. Something I'm definitely becoming more aware of and want to work on.

** Side note: Sometimes my perfectionist tendencies come out or don't come out in my blog. I find myself not writing about something because I'm not sure how it will come across. I want to take more risks, not worry about who will think what or how eloquent it is. I had no plan for this blog post, just started my ramblings. It's not perfect but it's me and that's good enough! :)


Tish said...

I like this post. Honest. Thanks for sharing.

the smiths said...

We are alike in many ways, my friend. :) I have been known to expect a lot from my girls (especially Ro as the oldest), and I've been known to ruin dates and weekends because I expected WAY too much of my hubby. Love and communcation are the key, as you know. Side note: can you tell I'm catching up on reading your blog?