Missy of Literal Mom is someone I love to chat with, because she’s A) hilarious B) relatable and C) so very kind. She writes about “literal parenting“, or thinking about what the way you parent, when you parent your children, and that even at our very best as parents, our kids are going to lose it sometimes. She also answers questions that readers have, like this one about kids’ potty mouths.
I love reading Missy’s blog because even if I’m having a day when I don’t feel like a very good mother, I feel like I can get back to the place where I do. And that’s priceless, you know?
When reality doesn’t meet expectation
Disappointment filled me for many years.
. . . Going to a birthday party expecting fun and instead carrying a screaming child home over my shoulder who couldn’t handle the stimulation of the party.
. . . Expecting an easy trip to the grocery store for a few things and instead getting a stubborn preschooler firmly planted in the ground, refusing to walk on her own.
. . . Being ecstatic to pick my kids up from school for some major family bonding time and having them instead go at each other from the moment they come back together all the way home in the car.
. . . Thinking I was fully prepared for a meeting and instead getting blindsided by someone frustrated and using the meeting to vent.
All of these moments (and truly, there are 1000s like them) have one thing in common -the reality of the situation didn’t meet my expectation for it.
And when that happened, every single time, I would be disappointed.
I used to bemoan my feelings to my husband and he would listen, then say, “you just didn’t set your expectations right.”
And I wouldn’t listen to him and I’d get myself right back into the same problem as before.
Disappointment. Resentment with how so many situations turned out upsetting for me.
But somehow, over time it clicked.
I finally internalized setting my expectations correctly so that my reality wouldn’t be a disappointment.
So instead of heading to a birthday party expecting it to be fun, I would head in with the knowledge that birthday parties are extraordinarily difficult for some kids and I would be more sympathetic to my daughter’s reaction to them.
And learned that there’s no such thing as a “quick trip” anywhere with a child and the more you rush a young child the more they’ll balk. Especially in a crowded grocery store.
I remembered that even though I may have been alone all day missing my kids, they’ve been surrounded by kids, teachers, rules and have been been working their minds all day. They’re tired and stressed and just need to relax. While my day with them is beginning, their long day is ending.
And I found that the less I tried to control a meeting for the desired result, the better I could handle the twists and turns a meeting of 18 people could take. And that was the way it should be.
Life is one great roller coaster of ups and downs and twists and turns.
That’s one expectation I can fully count on.
But in my life’s roller coaster, I don’t like to climb the highest highs and shoot down to the lowest lows. It’s too much for me. I like my life’s roller coaster to be a mid-sized coaster where the ups, downs, twists and turns, while still surprising, don’t make me throw up.
Because life’s roller coaster is one you don’t get off of, is it?
Sometimes I still get caught with my expectation pants down. And I get disappointed again.
But I’m better at saying, “darn – I didn’t set the right expectation for that one. Next time I will.” All thanks to him – my husband.