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The Downfall of Expectations in Motherhood



I was stuck in an unhealthy pattern of mothering: just getting through each day.

Another way to put it is that I was simply surviving.

I was weary from the constant bickering and complaining and need for correction that my children were requiring of me.

I had this idea that motherhood shouldn't feel like this. It shouldn't feel so hard. Or take so much energy. Or feel so all-encompassing.

Anybody with me?

I brought up how worn out from mothering I was during a therapy appointment. How I thought it should be easier. It just felt so hard.

Through a series of thoughtful questions, my therapist guided me along to see that it was all about my expectations.

I was expecting that motherhood was going to be easier. I was expecting more comfort and peace.

I was the problem, or better still, my thoughts were the problem.

It wasn't that the kids were doing anything crazy wild or out of control. They were simply being children. Children that needed a mother.

The reality is that motherhood is hard. And busy.

Being realistic about how hard mothering is helped me in a pivotal way.

My therapist asked me how many times a day I felt like I needed to correct my children in some way. He was floored when I answered at least fifty. He asked me to take notice over the next few days and try to see if I was accurate or not.

I didn't count every instance. But thinking I was going to have to intervene fifty times helped me when I had to correct various children at least five times during breakfast.

We find what we are looking for. So when I am looking for reasons to get frustrated that I have to dissolve another sibling argument, I am going to get discouraged. It's all about how we view these daily tasks of mothering our children and how we adjust our expectations of what it is going to look like.

All of sudden I didn't feel like every single correction or intervention was that big of a deal. It was just one of fifty. It was just another time. It didn't feel so earth-shattering or shocking.

Not only that but when I started viewing each interaction with my child as an opportunity to GET to mother them instead of an obligation that I HAVE to do, it unlocked something within me.

Motherhood is not here to make me comfortable and have a life of ease.

I read this from Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday earlier this year:

The best way to release our expectation for a comfortable life is to realize we don’t deserve it and to be grateful for what we do have. A life not focused on our comforts shouldn’t scare us; it should remind us how limited our view is and how much better equipped God is to call the shots for us. I want to be excited for the life God has for me - even if it includes blowout diapers, too-loud dinners, and a lack of massages.
Later Valerie adds, “what we focus on determines our outlook."

Again, we find what we look for.

I want to look for reasons to love my children, not reasons to begrudge them.

It starts with my expectations.

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