You are a planner, I know. You like to know what to expect, whether it means preparing for a test, a job interview or for life's large milestones.
So when you became a mom, you showed up for your first day on the job, with a dog-eared copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting and a very long list of ways that you expect yourself to be, react and respond as a mother.
Some of the expectations were there because you put them there.
Many of the expectations were there because your friends, family and spouse put them there. Some of them may have been added by your culture, community and the vast reach of social media. No matter what the source, you probably showed up to motherhood with a very long list of expectations.
And then parenthood happened.
Within the first days, weeks and years, you might have fallen short of most of those expectations. For a woman who is used to excelling and meeting goals on the clearly marked highway of life, the reality of motherhood with its twists and turns, confusing road signs and occasional detours, can make even the most accomplished woman crumble under the pressure.
Rather than keep trying to meet all those expectations, maybe it's time to revise the list and start spending more time enjoying the scenery along the way?
After all, parenthood never ends. That bears repeating; it NEVER ends - it just changes and morphs in unexpected and wonderful ways.
Your path may take you through some rough and dangerous areas where you don't want to leave the car, but it will also take you to beautiful vistas and exciting destinations. This is a marathon and not a sprint - why not enjoy all the moments along the way without so much pressure?
Coach Me Quick Tips for Honing Your List of Expectations:
1. Identify the 10 most important expectations you have of yourself as a mother.
Make sure they are achievable. Eliminate "always" and "never" statements. Having an expectation that you will NEVER yell at your children is unreasonable. Having an expectation that you will model respectful behavior by apologizing if you lose your temper, is reasonable.
2. Take a short inventory of the 10 expectations you are committed to.
Ask yourself why you have those expectations. If any of those expectations are there because someone else thinks it's a good idea, reassess. Make sure that your list of expectations is truly you. This is your list, not your sister's, mother's or spouse's list FOR you.
3. Make a commitment to review your expectations annually.
You may do this on your Birthday, Mother's Day or demarcation day of your choosing. But set aside some time to think about who your children are, how they have changed and how you have changed. Which expectations continue to resonate with you and which do you want to delete or revise?
4. When you fall short of one of your expectations, acknowledge it.
If you need to repair a relationship with yourself or your child, take that action. Then forgive yourself and recommit yourself to your list of 10 expectations.
Remember that just by being conscious of what you are doing, you are miles ahead of the pack. Your children are lucky to have you and YOU are so very lucky to have them.
Expect to enjoy it all!