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I was talking with a friend today about how I was feeling frustrated lately because this pregnancy has been really slowing me down. I just can’t get done in a day what I’m used to doing. We were talking about how it really all has to do with expectations – especially the expectations we set for ourselves and how there are times that these expectations just have to be lowered.

This is a topic Kenny and I have talked about a lot since we became parents. Kids do that to you, don’t they? Force you to LOWER your expectations. I remember our first vacation with Ellie. She was two years old and we took her to Maui. After that little adventure, we stopped calling it a “vacation” if our kids were coming along. We call it a “family trip.” Vacations are a time to relax and rejuvenate which just doesn’t quite happen with little ones. BUT, we found that if we approached these “trips” with a different attitude, without expectations of relaxing much and just planned on spending quality time with our kids (even if that means passing up dining at fine restaurants and snorkeling to instead eating chicken nuggets next to the kiddie pool) we have a much more enjoyable time. We actually have a great time. Because it’s all about what you expect.

I remember when Kenny first started working as an attorney. The first few years were really hard for me. Six o’clock in the evening would roll around and I would “expect” him to walk in the door. Every minute passed six I would get more and more frustrated that he wasn’t home yet. I spent a lot of evenings feeling annoyed that I was without a husband and picked on because I’d taken care of kids from sun-up to sun-down. Over the years I’ve really learned to lower my expectations. Attorneys sometimes put in long hours. It’s just part of the job. Thankfully Kenny now has more control over his schedule and doesn’t work as many late nights. Still, I NEVER plan on him being home at a certain time. I ALWAYS plan on putting the kids to bed. Then if he walks in the door at six o’clock, great! It’s a bonus. If not, I’m OK and happy to have him home whenever he gets here. Expectations. They really can make or break your attitude.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t ever set high expectations for ourselves. That we shouldn’t push ourselves to be or do better. Just that there are times in our lives when it helps to realize that you can’t do everything. And that it’s OK. I sometimes have a hard time with this. I think women and mothers in general have a hard time with this. We’re hard workers and want to be everything to everybody…and still have time to organize the kitchen pantry and do a blog post. :)
I am a list person. I make a to-do list each night of what I want to accomplish the next day. I’m used to bustling around, happily checking things off of my list all day long. Lately, I’m not making much progress on the old to-do list. Taking care of my girls is really all I have the energy for right now.

I know that one month from now (when I’ve once again entered life with a newborn) my to-do list will say: take a shower. And it will have been a really good day if I’m able to check that off.

Expectations. They really are what it’s all about. And this post is to remind me that now is a good time to start lowering mine.
xoxo, Erin
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23 thoughts on “Expectations

  1. I loved this post, Erin. Very true. I think our expectations will determine our happiness for sure.

    ps. I’m in need for a vacation, and not a trip. ;)

  2. You are not alone. Heavenly Father is just getting you ready for this baby!!!!! Don’t worry. You are doing a great job at everything you do!!!

  3. I always felt like during pregnancy, especially the last trimester, I would have one GOOD day, (meaning normal energy), and then one day of LOW energy where I had to take it easy. I just counted on that every other day thing so I wouldn’t panic when I looked at my list.
    When I had #4, I had a friend tell me that I would always be happy if I lowered my expectations…and sometimes you have to go REALLY low…like those family “vacations”.
    Great post Erin.

  4. you can always think of it as “shifting” your expectations…instead of lowering them. Really, they are morphing into a new reality, not an easier- less quality one. Does that feel better? It does to me. ;) I can now feel (at the ripe old age of 40) when a change is coming into my life..and I settle with it for awhile, watching how it will come to pass.
    By the way…found your blog through Project Life Tuesday…I am an OC gal, and you’ve totally inspired me! You got me moving after a looong standstill,and I have enjoyed your blog. Thanks!

  5. Great post, so true. I recall Steve teaching gospel doctrine class one week and somehow it was on marriage (he became the expert for the week :D) and said ours worked because I had no expectations of him … anything was a bonus! That was a bit of an exaggeration to get a laugh but your post reminded me of it. Thanks!

  6. Erin, thanks for the reminder. My husband is an attorney as well, and I am still in the “watching-the-clock-and getting-more-annoyed-by-the-minute” phase :)
    I am always happier when I simply plan on giving the kid’s their dinner, bathing them and putting them to bed rather than watching the door and waiting for him to come home and help. It’s just about shifting our attitude and remembering that he is working so hard to provide for our family. I needed to read this!!

  7. So true…one thing to remember too though is that once you have this baby your energy does go back up…well that is if you get any sleep! But at least the baby isn’t sucking the energy out of you from inside! It seems like every pregnancy I wonder how I am ever going to have the energy to take care of them, but I magically have that energy after they are here.

  8. Well said! I am also a “list maker, perfectionist, clean freak…” and let me tell you with THREE, it changes a little bit! You’re smart to figure this out BEFORE the baby comes. I however am just finding this out now that Maycee is FIVE months old!

    I always say, “We can’t do it ALL, we can just do our BEST!”

    good post. (As usual!)

  9. What a great post. I have such a hard time with this myself. I’ve set such high expectations of myself and now my kids and husband too! I think I could benefit in “shifting” some of those expectations. We can only do our best! You’re an amazing person Erin and I love you.

  10. Ah Erin, I am so proud of you! Yes, yes all of us Mom’s feel this in some degree or another, but I am sure that you feel it MUCH more, because you usually get SO MUCH MORE done than the rest of us!!! Tis true, I am always thinking, how does she do it?! Why can’t I be more like Erin?! So I am proud of you for realizing that it’s ok for you to lower your practically-perfect-Erin-to-do-lists for awhile, and just remember, it’s only temporary! Plus I have another idea for you, I’m going to do a post about it dedicated to you. Well see if I can get that done today. You are fabulous!

  11. Oh, you have one more thing to add to your To Do list after the baby comes…..

    1. Take Kole over to Shari’s house.


    2. Go home and take shower

    3. Go to Mall

    I’m not even joking. Can’t wait to get my hands on a newborn that isn’t MINE! :)

  12. Shari isn’t joking. We talked about it today. She still loves newborns. Just not one she has produced beyond what she has!! :)

  13. Erin, I couldn’t agree with you more! It’s nice to know there are other moms/women out there who can relate. We all need each other b/c we understand each other. :)

    I too am a list person. It’s hard on those days when practically nothing on my list gets done b/c its just one of those days when the girls need me more or life happens. Ya know what I mean?

    Oh, and the watching the clock until the husband walks through the door thing? I completely understand. Sometimes it’s better for me to just have a general idea. Otherwise I too can get caught up in counting the minutes & get annoyed when he’s just 5 or 10 minutes late (as silly as that sounds).

    Okay, enough from me!

  14. Expectations get me in trouble. a. lot. At this point, it doesn’t take much to make me happy. “Wow! You took out the garbage with me only having to ask 3 times?? good for you!!”

  15. Great post! Found my way here through Clover Lane…seeing your pregnancy pictures makes me want to be pregnant!! Best of luck and keep your expectations low!

  16. Well said Erin. We really do have to be realistic about the stage of life we’re in. I was with a friend yesterday who has a 2 month old. The mom had her hair in a pony, little makeup, and was late getting to the library. You could tell she was thankful to have made it at all! Your words were the exact thoughts in my mind yesterday.
    So, I’ve been thinking of you today!! Happy Birthday Erin!! I KNOW you will MAKE it a great day.
    Love you!

  17. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIN!! Here’s wishing you a day filled with rootbeer and Cadbury eggs. Unless of course those are yucky to you now. which does happen.

  18. I just found your blog from a friend- I love this post. I think it is a good example how we grow as mothers and change. I too have lowered my expectations over the years as my husband gets higher and higher on his climb up the corporate ladder. Days get longer and longer. That combined with 4 kids and a business that I run from home, well life can get a bit insane.
    Things are so much smoother when I relax and go with the flow. Although it is not always easy to do!

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