I’m someone who suffers from the odd case of over expectations.
I’m quite bad at it, I suspect I have been this way for most of my life – disappointed by a Birthday or Christmas along the way, definitely with men through the years…demanding that they know what I MUST be thinking at any given time and especially, worst of all when it comes to parenting. I have an idea (based on no fact or realistic reasoning) in my head about how things SHOULD happen, or go, and when they inevitably turn south, I tend to throw my eyes to the heavens, have a tantrum or sulk off into a corner licking my wounds. It’s a terrible trait to have…really silly and childish, and one that I am slowly recognising and working on. It must be getting older…huh.
These holidays I have seen this behaviour come up again and again especially with the girls. It’s holiday time! I REALLY want to have a break because, you know, I’ve worked bloody hard through the year – doing stuff for everyone in my family, thinking for them, thinking 5 minutes, 1 hours, 1 week or months ahead for them all. Doing my own work and running the house and all that comes with that. I REALLY want Rob to have a break for all the same reasons. I REALLY want the girls to have fun, and be relaxed, and rest (I always really want them to do that). I REALLY want Rob and I to have time together as a couple, occasionally recall why it was we fell in love all those years ago now. SO many wants. So much expectation.
Funnily enough, all the same shit comes with you when you go on holidays. The girls are still tired and even though you have worn them just about plain out, they will STILL refuse to go to sleep. You’ll still fight over stupid stuff with your partner, the kids will fight with each other, and of course your visions of reading books disappear as you still clean up after the family, still filling their plates with food at mealtimes, still dealing with supermarkets…same stuff, different scene.
My biggest holiday problem I have uncovered these Christmas holidays is my utter despair with the kids when they don’t appear to be grateful for ANYTHING. Christmas is a particularly bad time as they are overindulged with so much, by so many people. It seems completely unfair to them that you won’t buy them one more thing, just because they want it. They can’t seem to appreciate the trip to the beach, the effort it goes to to save up and go somewhere nice…it just seems to pass them by. Of all the things, THIS is the stuff I seem to have the most holiday expectation about. I have visions of my kids sitting back in a restaurant sipping their lemonade saying “Thank you SO much Mum and Dad. This is just lovely. HOW LUCKY ARE WE?!” Because, you know, we are.
But what I have come to figure out, is that it’s just another unrealistic expectation that I have placed on a situation. They are just kids…little ones at that…they don’t know about sacrifice, or hard work. Not yet anyway. Of course they appreciate all the things they have in their lives (they are not spoilt brats, they really aren’t) and it’s ridiculous of me to ask too much of them. This happened on more than one occasion last year when I would despairingly say to Rob “Maybe we should just go home? I mean, they just don’t CARE.”
And they do.
And as soon as I let all MY shit go, all MY expectations things get better. If I want to read books and not cook? Ask someone else to do it for you! If I want to spend happy time with the kids. CREATE them. If I want to spend some time with Rob as an adult couple? Get someone to mind the kids so we can. It’s pretty simple really isn’t it? It’s just taken me almost 37 years to work it out. And you know what? As soon as I stop throwing my toys out of the pram, and let some of the expectation go and just be? I’m happier. The kids are happier. My husband is certainly happier. And the funniest thing of all? You get unasked for compliments from the kids. You get ALL of the things that you were after in the first place. Instead of wondering why people can’t read your mind and getting the shits about when they can’t…TELL THEM.
This year we have a big trip planned overseas where we will be gone for almost 4 weeks. I’m REALLY excited about it. It’s been years and years in the making and planning, and it’s finally going to be here. And my challenge is to just be. Let it all unfold how it does. I’m going to stop myself from saying to the girls “You don’t even know how lucky you are…I didn’t get to go overseas until I was 21! TWENTY ONE!” and I’m going to let their stories and adventures happen as they do. As they come. Because they are theirs. Not mine.
Of course knowing me, I will lose my shit 137 times along the way. But I’m going to try. I’m going to really try.
Do you suffer from the odd case of over-expectations?
Ever fish for gratefulness and compliments from loved ones?