Lower Your Expectations

I did Teach For America, and our mantra could be boiled down to raise expectations, then raise them again. For me and my overachiever friends, that wasn’t a hard rock to swallow.

But now I have two young boys, and I’m finding that the only thing that keeps my head above water is to lower my expectations. And then lower them again.

I was going to get the trash out to the curb and unload the dishwasher this morning: I settled for watching crayons and markers get poured onto the floor.

It’s easy to forget to lower your expectations because a lot of us parents still remember ourselves as highly functional adults, type-A personalities. You might have even used terms like organized, energetic, and dependable to describe us.

But these days I often feel like I would more likely be a successful candidate for one of those Discovery Channel reality shows where viewers look on in horror, saying, “People can’t actually live like that!”

Ah, but we can. [Pan over to Evelyn snacking on a half-eaten waffle out of a towel on the floor.]

I think I’m going to put on some sun glasses and a baseball cap, and take my waffle down to stake out the elementary school.

I’m hoping to see that those parents have wiped the crumbs off their faces and can possibly load the kids in the car in less than 45 minutes.

Is that too much to ask?

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8 responses to “Lower Your Expectations

  1. I can’t agree with you more, or empathize any less. “High Expectations” as a mother of 2 boys is like a recipe for daily failure. New daily expectations run more on the lines of “keep children alive”, “feed children at least once”, “get dressed”, “make floor semi-walkable.” I “torture” myself several times a year and do interviews for Teach For America. It’s a sharp reminder of how my expectations have changed and shifted over the years. It does get better, really. And then the homework starts…. You can keep the high expectations for that 🙂

  2. Lower expectations, and I would add don’t compare yourself to the over-achieving parents. They have just found a system that works for them, like we all do.

  3. Nice post, Evelyn. I could visualize and sympathize with your waffle eating on the floor! 🙂
    I just wrote a similar post (http://thinkingwithvitality.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/expect-reality/) and concur 100%! With four boys I had to step away from the part of me that wanted to keep a firm grip on my label maker and toy bins and resolve within myself that toys swept in a pile and shut behind a closed door is a huge win!

  4. Remember all those words we used to use to described ourselves on resumes? Self motivator, quick learner, team player? Now it’s more like… cat herder, sock puppet maker, and nap dictator. 🙂

  5. We call it recalibrating…

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