Lately I've been thinking a lot about expectations. Expectations for oneself, other adults and children. Are they positive?
I know that expectations have let me down many times before. The mister and I no longer go to festivals with expectations as we were being let down constantly. Since making that choice we have enjoyed every festival we have been to, in fact they've been right up the top. I also know that expectations have let me down with friends and family as I'm sure their expectations of me have let them down too.
I have high expectations of myself and I constantly let myself down. I expect myself to be a better parent, I lie in bed every morning saying that today will be different, that today lufflump and I will spend the whole day doing crafts. I beat myself up that the house is rarely spotless, that washing is rarely folded and put away, that the benches have crumbs on them and the floor needs to be mopped. Lufflump will have an apple and orange for dinner and I'll hate myself just a little bit more because I didn't cook even though he's quite happy with his healthy dinner.
I have unrealistic expectations of lufflump and I shouldn't. I expect him to eat what I serve ALL THE TIME. I expect him to enjoy doing crafts when we do them. My expectations of him cause me not to go out in public with him alone. I can't control what he does and I don't want to be that frazzled mother people pity or despise in shopping centres.
You know what I realised the other day? I had a 'aha' moment when I realised that toddlers can't control their impulses, they don't have patience or understanding why they can't just have what they want EVERY time. Adults, however, can but we shouldn't expect that toddlers can. Much of my anxiety comes from what society expects of parents and children. The expectations are irrational and damaging.
I never used to care about living up to stereotypes before children. Now being and looking like a young mother (who out some could assume is a single mum) I am anxious about living up to the 'stupid young, naive mother' stereotype. I don't want to experience a meltdown in the shopping centre by myself, because that's not what society expects of a good mother and child. I'm fine experiencing a meltdown with the mister there as one of us can escape with lufflump or we can work it out together. At least that's the expectation anyway.
These may be my problems, my expectations but it's not just me. The stares people give the parents of crying babies in shopping centres. The shaking of the heads at the toddler screaming for a lollipop. The tsk tsks towards a stressed mum running towards the toilets with a wet pants child.
When lufflump and I used to catch the bus to daycare we used to play in the shopping centre before it opened. We'd go up and down the escalators, look at the sliding ads and make funny faces in the glass windows. Once an old lady gave HIM a death stare, he was running a few steps ahead of me giggling. She stopped and gave a two year old a death stare for being a toddler. Who gives a toddler a death stare? What are her expectations of children? Sit down and shut up? Is that still people's expectations?
|This face does not deserve a death stare!|
If lufflump was a few years older and noticed he was copping a death stare how would he have felt? He wasn't doing anything wrong, how does that help his self esteem? No doubt it would confuse and hurt him. How do you explain that to a child? All because of some lady's ridiculous expectations of children.
My point here (sorry for the random rant) is that maybe we all need to reassess our expectations, of ourselves and others. Maybe it will help my anxiety, maybe it will save a parent from feeling like shit, maybe it will help a child's self esteem, maybe it will save a life.
Do you have high expectations?