Today's Psycho-Babble

(Look at these little guys! Ben was about 3 & Clara 2)


Thomas woke 3 times last night to eat. I was pretty grumpy with him that 3rd feeding. I was thinking, “Hey, we had a deal, buddy!” I’m accustomed to him only getting up twice during the night, not three times. How dare he mess with my precious beauty sleep?

It dawned on me at 5:30 this morning as I was feeding him…it was only about a month ago that I would have traded one of my kidneys for only getting up 3 times per night! So what changed? My expectations, that’s what.

I got Thomas back to sleep, got all nestled back into bed next to my sleeping hubby, and was enjoying my last hour of sleep. Suddenly, I heard “Mama? Mama?”….”Yeah, Sammy?”…“You watch me potty and poop?”…”Huh???”

I rolled over in time to see her little buck-naked body running out of my room toward the bathroom. She’s potty training. She’s figured out how to take off her clothes and her diaper (Because, we all know that 2 year olds must sit on the potty completely naked, right? Come on, tell me it’s normal.) And she likes an audience. Oh, and she has no respect for her Mama’s need for sleep.

I admit it – I was grumpy about it as I rolled out of bed to follow her little naked bum to the bathroom. But then I got there, and she was sitting on her throne so proudly…smile on her face, her head a jumble of soft blond curls…how could I stay mad? I couldn’t. In fact, I took her picture instead. I fully intended to share it with you all…but then I decided that even a 2 year old deserves a little dignity. And she won’t be 2 forever. Someday she’ll be 16 and probably making my life miserable. But I already have ammunition for those days…I’ll just sent out a message to her friends with THIS post.

Anyway…what I’m getting at…and what I’ve been contemplating all morning…is the idea of expectations.

What are the things in my life that make me most irritated, frustrated, and angry? I started to think about it, and I realized…it’s all about my expectations. When I’m pleasantly surprised…I’m happy, pleased, and joyful. When I’m unpleasantly surprised…I’m irritated, frustrated and angry. So my conclusion? I need to change some of my expectations. Some examples…

I look forward to hubby coming home from work. But I get awfully grumpy and irritated when he’s not home by about 5:30. Well, maybe if I started to expect him at closer to 6…I’d just be pleasantly surprised when he rolls in at 5:45.

I work my tail off to try and keep the house straightened up. But can any clean horizontal surface around here stay that way for more than about an hour? No way. I’m pretty sure it’s an unexplored Law Of The Universe…all clutter MUST gravitate toward my cleaned off horizontal surfaces. So…maybe I’d better put a basket there to try and at least contain some of it.

Or one of my biggest frustrations – I expect a 6 year old little boy to actually hit a target when he pees (a rather large target, I might add). Well, I guess it’s just not realistic. I need to adjust my expectations a bit, and just plan to wipe down the toilet rim, sides of the toilet, and maybe even the walls on a regular basis.

And my precious children…I want them to be friends. I want them to be kind to each other. I want them to stick up for each other, encourage each other, share, use nice words and voices. Well…if you have kids, you know how that expectation is working out for me! I guess maybe I should teach them how to deal with conflict, and how to deal with their hurt feelings in addition to how to treat each other with love.

Or how about this baby weight? It didn’t exactly melt off my rear end the minute my wonderful Thomas came into the world. What gives? I was expecting a bit much, that’s what. I’ll just focus on eating nutritiously, getting rest, and exercising as I can. It will come off eventually.

OK…one last one…how about that slow driver in front of me who is driving me plumb crazy? I expect everyone…that means EVERY. ONE…to either pick up the pace or get out of my way when I’m in a rush. Realistic? Evidently not. Maybe I’d better leave 5 minutes earlier next time so I’m not in such a hurry.

I don’t want to live my life being frustrated, angry, and irritated. It’s just a miserable way to live. I want peace. I want contentment. I want joy. What do I have to do to get it?

Change my expectations to fit reality.

Now, I’m not saying that pessimism is the way to go. I don’t want to constantly be expecting the worst. I just want to be expecting…reality.

What is reality? Hubby is going to be home as soon as he can be…sometimes 5, sometimes 7. Babies are going to wake in the night. Two year olds are going to wake me with surprises in the early morning hours. Six year old little boys are not going to hit their target. It will probably take me a good year to lose this weight. My kids are going to bicker. And my fellow drivers…well no one sent them the memo saying that the world revolves around me and my schedule.

I should say this too…there are some things that just plain SHOULD make me angry or frustrated. Things that are real. Things that, based on real world experience, are not going to change any time soon. Things like injustice. Things like lying. Things like people intentionally hurting other people. Things like poverty and hunger. I’m not willing to change my expectations about those types of things. The day I’m not upset about those things…that’s a sad day! I’d rather be motivated to DO something out of my anger about those things than to change my expectations about them.

No, I’m not talking about those things. I’m talking about every day types of things that seem small by themselves, but that pile on top of one another to make a big mountain of frustration in our lives.

I’m talking about taking life as it is, instead of always mentally comparing it to the way we think it should be.

What are some of the things in your life that bring you frustration and irritation? The job? The kids? The relationship? The money? Do you think that changing your expectations about those situations could help? Give it a try…just for today…and let me know if you had a better day for it.

Misty  – (2/25/2008 10:54:00 AM)  

great post. We are a lot a like, though I never realized expectations were an issue for me until reading this post. You are right... And mine need an overhaul!

Leigha  – (2/25/2008 11:55:00 AM)  

This was a good post. What a great reminder. It made me realize what silly expectations I sometimes have, like when someone doesn't do something the way I would have done it at work and I let it bother me.
And thanks for posting a link to my blog! I have always loved the words to "Your Love is Extravagant." Such a great song!!

Hilty Sprouts!  – (2/25/2008 04:41:00 PM)  

Preach it Sister, preach it!
;)
I couldn't agree more.

Jen

Simple Family Supper lady  – (2/25/2008 07:17:00 PM)  

You hit the hot button in my life!!!!! My family would be soooo much better off if I would adjust my expectations a time or two each day!
HEather

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