Great expectations.

On Tuesday, I hit a wall. It was the culmination of taking on too much in the name of busyness since idle hands are the devil’s work or whatever it was I learned during that one episode of Thomas the Train where the engine froze because someone was lazy and then, they couldn’t get coal to the orphanage. So, ipso facto, if I laze about, this directly results in cold orphans. This simply could not stand.

My conscience was clear, but, my anxiety was on overdrive. I had all of the hours filled, but, nothing planned for dinner or lunch…or breakfast. The cupboards were practically bare. My husband wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy. The kids…where are the kids? And, when I find them, should I ask them if they’re happy? No, I’ll think about that tomorrow. Fiddle dee dee and stuff.

Expectations are ruining my perception of what is “normal”. Pushing me to pick up some imagined slack at the risk of losing other things; like sanity and oh yeah, my children. Seriously, where are they?

I’m placing this intense pressure on myself. I’m buckling under it. I’m placing the same pressure on my children, my husband, my dishwasher. You WILL hold 16 complete settings, you bastard. If I’m here all night, cursing and assaulting you, I’m getting that last sippy cup in. Receive my cup!

These great expectations are rooted in something insane. But, what exactly? Certainly not in reality and with each event and passing moment, I find I’m less in touch with what we can all truly give. What we can all reasonably navigate.

It’s not fair that I expect my children to behave all the time. They are small. My expectations are skewed. I don’t really want them to be pod people. Well, except at the library and, ok, at school concerts too. Pod people at those things would be alright.

It’s not fair that I expect my husband to move the laptop case from the dinette benches to wherever the hell he piles his stuff. I don’t say, “Hey, can you move that?” I just glare at the case. Wishing it would passive-aggressively jump off of the bench and slap him with the shoulder strap as it puts itself away. If I’m not appropriately communicating, does a laptop case shit in the woods? Deep thoughts.

It’s not fair that I expect my mother to be a super-involved grandmother who rolls around on the floor with the kids, takes them out for hot chocolate and tells them tales of family lore while they fight for the prime space on her lap. She was not that kind of mother. Why, oh why do I place these huge expectations on the people I love?

Great expectations lead to resentment. They lead to what-ifs and could-haves and should-haves and guilt and all those other unproductive emotions that then force your better self to call a Waaaaaaambulance which hopefully takes you to the Emergency Room where someone gives you a big shot full of, “SNAP OUT OF IT.”

So, enough with trying to be the person I think I should be. I’m going to try and love this person I am and give the people I love the greatest gift I can give them – loving them for who they are right now while they love me back for who I am right now. Imperfectly and honestly.

No more great expectations.


  1. YEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Yes. I so needed to hear this, today especially. Love it, shared it, made you a pin image because WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A PINNABLE IMAGE, WOMAN?!?! Add it to your priority list. 😉

  2. I’m going to continue loving you just the way you are – more awesome than you realize.

  3. Nailed it!!! I feel this way all the time. Why oh why do we do this to ourselves???

  4. Rather than modify my expectations, we just quit going to the library. I think your solution is better. I pinned Robyn’s image.

  5. My mother was not that kind of mother either, yet I keep hoping she’ll change for her grandchildren, my children. I’m disappointed daily. No more great expectations.

    I recently wrote about having great expectations for reciprocity; I feel like this is the counter-point to my post. I appreciate the different perspective. Thank you! xo

  6. Yes x 10 million. Yes.

  7. Cheri Vanderpool says:

    “I’m buckling under it.” Exactly. And, my kids are at risk of buckling under the pressure I put on them, too. Thank you for this. So much.

  8. Andrea Miller says:

    I too thank you!!!!! It took me so long to realize that my mother isn’t going to be the grandma{her mom} that I had as a child and to this day LOVED more than anyone else!!!!!! She was the best grandma ever and I so badly wanted to live with her and I couldn’t so the next best thing was to spend every possible weekend with my grandparents and this continued well in to my 20’s and they passed away! I hope to be my grandma for my grandchildren that’s the best I can come up with! Plus with my 4 children overwhelming me so much some days that I hope to at least be the kind of grandmother I want to be as I am not meeting my “be the mother that you can be” expectations by a long shot! Thanks.

  9. I have this same problem with expectations that lead to resentment, and I also stare passive-aggressively at piles of crap that never clean themselves up. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles. It helps more than anything to know how many other moms/wives/whatevers out there are facing the same challenges.

  10. I often find that when my expectations are high, I suffer so many more disappointments. It’s better to make less plans and just go with the flow.

  11. Expectations suck. That’s why I always keep mine low. Love you. I think I will pin the pinnable image, too.

  12. So I found you today. Thanks for making me feel better! My mil said to me the other month, just tell them to “Stop acting like children!” This has become my mantra for all occasions. Someone looks at me funny someplace, I look at my kids and say “Stop acting like children!”. Works wonders.

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