I want you to pause before you read this…think of all the expectations you have:
For your partner/spouse…
For your children…
Even the people you encounter in your day-to-day life…
OK - now think about your expectations for your average day (not even a great day – just a day you won’t be disappointed with – a day when your head hits the pillow you feel content with your accomplishments).
How do you feel? Excited or completely and totally fucking overwhelmed!?
What we expect from ourselves and from others constantly gets in the way of enjoying our lives and gets in the way of connecting with others on a deeper level – of truly loving and helping people.
OH – you don’t think so?
Your in-laws are on their way over right now to visit…your house is a mess, kids aren’t bathed, etc. How are you feeling right now? Are you excited to hang out with them, are you going to have a great time catching up or are you low-key freaking the fuck out? STOP.
Your partner/spouse comes home from work – they seem disconnected, they aren’t jumping in to help with the kids and are rambling about their day – or saying nothing at all. You are overwhelmed from your day too, so you can’t really take on more right now – you just need to get dinner on the table. STOP.
Your friend comes over to hang out – how many times do you apologize for crumbs on the floor, laundry in the corner, your kids not being perfect…? STOP.
You go grocery shopping – are you trying to rush through it, trying to wrangle the kids, attempting to stay out of everyone’s way, shrinking yourself so you aren’t a bother? STOP.
THESE ARE ALL EXAMPLES OF BULLSHIT EXPECTATIONS. Houses get messy, people have bad days, kids misbehave (especially in the damn grocery store) – SO WHAT?!
How about this one? It’s your time for self-love, your one time a week (if we are being honest – once a month, at best) to take care of YOU. So you are going to hop in a warm bath, listen to some calming music, light some candles and drink a glass of wine. IT. WILL. BE. EVERYTHING. Before you can do that – two of your family members need to poo (you only have one toilet) and now you realize the dryer is running (it’s loud and broken) and there aren’t candles anywhere to be found. UGH! BUT when they’re finally done - you can go relax in your poo-smelling bathroom with a loud ass dryer in the background and use a kid’s nightlight to try and create SOME kind of ambiance.
This is exactly how I began my “me time” this past week…it could have absolutely ruined the entire moment – and I almost let it. Instead of being upset, I decided to make the best of it.
I ADJUSTED MY EXPECTATIONS. Read that again.
I poured myself a glass of sangria (from Costco – it’s AMAZING), a bowl of kettle potato chips and dropped some more essential oils in the tub to help with the smell. And that dryer noise? It’s good for white noise to block out Shane and the kids and it tells my brain that I’m being productive, while relaxing. OH – and the kids’ nightlight projects planets on the ceiling - PERFECT!
So here is all I’m saying. JUST STOP – for real. STOP with all the “I’m sorry”s, the “I should”s, the “I would love to, but I can’t because… (Unless you’re lying because you don’t want to go – then by all means - make up a bullshit excuse). Usually the people we give enough of a shit to impress are people who will love us no matter what, anyway. Sometimes they are the people who have seen us at our worst. And if you’re hanging out with people that would think less of you because you haven’t met some ridiculous expectation they have of you – FUCK THEM and FUCK THAT (that’s an entirely different blog post though).
LOOK - I grew up in a clean and organized home, we did daily chores and cleaned the whole house every Sunday. These are not bad memories of expectations, my brother and I were some of the only people who knew how to cook, clean and do our own laundry when we went off to college (and teaching others how to do these things helped me earn side money to buy weed – I mean…books).
I enjoyed cleaning the house with my mom. We would rock out to anything from the Steve Miller Band to Whitney Houston and GET.SHIT.DONE. I am not, in any way saying that maintaining a clean home is something you should not strive for – it’s just something I no longer kill myself to accomplish.
When the toilet looks dirty – I clean it – right? BUT I’m not going to miss out on a fun event or not allow visitors over because of a little pee on the floor (I have an 8-year-old boy – maybe it’s YOU who needs to adjust your expectations).
AND - I always have a “meh” birthday, Mother’s Day, etc. I realized this year, it is because of my expectations around those days – not because my family and friends don’t show me love, but because I’ve built up a ridiculous image in my head of what those days are SUPPOSED to look like. STOP. IT. NOW.
Sometimes we have an idea of what something is SUPPOSED TO BE and what it ends up being is even better.
I was interrupted during my bath SO many times…
For those keeping track
# of people who had to poo before I could take a bath: 2
# of people who “needed” me so badly they just decided to join me during my “me time”: 2 (see Instagram pictures - @andreamcbrown)
# of magic tricks performed for me: 1
I could have gotten upset (and honestly guys – I normally would have thrown myself a little pity party), but I chose not to. I let S&P join me in the bathroom while I was soaking in the tub. S came in first and was upset from something her brother did – he later followed…
Here is the point – because I adjusted my expectations and went with the flow (and had sangria and potato chips) – I was able to say “good mom” stuff to them when they needed me. They both felt heard and I diffused a fight and taught a life lesson (I mean, I think I did anyway – we shall see).
So here it is - I challenge you to change your thoughts surrounding what’s expected of you and what you expect of others. As always, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts, ideas, experiences – I’m always here. Always listening.