Motherhood: Expectation vs. Reality, Part 2

Apparently the ole expectation vs. reality blog from last week really resonated with you guys! It’s funny because every single day can become a recipe for disaster if we let our unmet expectations take the lead in our hearts and lives.

And you know how I always say that I LOVE hearing from you guys? It’s true, and I do. Last week I got a flood of emails on this topic, so I wanted to share some of the other ways that we, as mothers, struggle with this concept of expectation vs. reality. My bet is that you’ll be able to find yourself in these stories!

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Mother of the Year Michele shared: MOMMY / DADDY GETAWAYS

On a recent trip to Austin, Texas with my husband, Eric, expectation vs. reality hit me smack in the face. Eric had to work "some" but I expected that we would have plenty of time to connect, in all the ways... uninterrupted... and my love language of quality time would be filled to overflowing.

The next morning, Eric had to give the keynote at his forensics conference, and I had registered myself for it so that I could listen. I waltz up to the table, expecting a welcome deserving of the wife of the keynote speaker (hello, ugly pride rearing its head) only to find that I did not, in fact, have a tag and I was not even on the list of attendees. Eventually someone "got me in" and allowed me to see Eric's speech - hiding in the back row, of course.

I had planned to join Eric for lunch in the speaker “Green Room” and was met with "plus ones are not allowed to use the speaker room amenities, nor the meal services there." I spent the next hour in my hotel room crying.

Overall, we did have fun together in the evenings and I made the most out of my alone time. The trip was not at all what I expected, as far as connection with Eric, but instead it became about connection with myself!! I shifted my expectations to the reality of the situation, after a day of pouting and pity-party-throwing, of course.

Mother of the Year Alexis shared a couple of her struggles, too: DISCIPLINE

Expectation: I have taught students for 11 years (including special education for at least half of that) and discipline has always been my strong suit. I literally had 10 year old boys with rough home lives following me like ducks in a row down the hall during my teaching years. I will most likely have something in this arsenal of experience to get through to my own kids!

Reality: HA! I’m becoming more and more convinced my 4-year-old is a good mix of ADHD and fierce strong will. Whatever I had in my arsenal of experience has flown out the window by now and been trampled on by one of her ridiculous meltdowns. She is not a duck and will not follow me anywhere as if she was. Whatever worked as a teacher has escaped me as a mother, and is mostly just causing me lots of anger and resentment towards my own kid at the moment.

STAY AT HOME MOM LIFE

Expectation: A perfect fit for our family! The home will be so well-run, the children so happy and the husband will come home to a hot dinner every night. And the mother? Of course, she will be home all the time so she will never feel guilt for a night out with friends or date nights. In fact, it will become part of her regular routine because she is always home! That, along with play dates and joining all the local moms groups, will complete her need for socialization.

Reality: HA! Social life consists of daily chats with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Play dates are hard to come by because, at least in my small town, no one else seems to be a stay-at-home-mom. My husband is constantly working overtime to pay the bills since I am no longer contributing financially, and dinners are never hot, maybe lukewarm by the time I figure out how to cook them with 1 hand because baby is always fussy at this time. The 4-year-old would probably gladly see me go out once in a while so we can get a break from each other, but the baby is overly-attached to the boob and her mommy, so there goes that idea!

Yikes.

Last week, I shared, “We can lament that motherhood is not what we expected it to be, and become more angry, anxious, or apathetic. OR, we see motherhood for the messy, beautiful, soul-sucking, soul-filling gift that it is and take on each moment for what it is.”

I still believe that to be true, but I missed something significant. Remember what Michele said about throwing herself a pity party? I think that’s ok. That’s the missing piece sometimes – allowing ourselves to throw our expectations a funeral, bury ourselves in the tissues and globs of snot, and maybe even a loved one’s shoulder, and invite ourselves into the world’s strangest funeral.

My friend and Radio Theology co-host Daron Earlewine calls this the “death of a dream.” And when there is death, there is generally a funeral. A celebration of life. Followed by a burial.

Sometimes, it may not be until you bury and grieve your expectations that you find the freedom to truly live in the reality. Ann Voskamp has this amazing quote that stirs me every time I remember it, and it’s this: “Joy and pain. They are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living.”

And if we want to do anything, as women, as mothers, as wives, neighbors, and friends, it’s LIVE. Really LIVE. So don’t let unmet expectations keep you from living life as the best version of yourself. Keep chasing down your health, your worth, and your freedom from those pesky unmet expectations.

As always, I’m cheering you on! If there’s anything you ever want to bounce off me, my inbox is always open!

ANDDDDDDDDDDDD I’d love to see your beautiful face at RESET: The Women’s Event that doesn’t suck and isn’t precious. It’s right around the corner, friend! Do you have your tickets? (If not, don’t forget to use the code MOTY20 for $20 off!)

Love you guys!

Lisa GraftComment