Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Re-adjusting Expectations

I think we have expectations from the day we are born. As an infant, we expect that our parents will provide us with nourishment, comfort and love. As we grow, we expect them to also provide us with structure and safety. As teens, we expect that our friends will always be a part of our lives. We expect that our parents will not let us fail, or better yet, will not fail us. When we get married, we expect that our lives will be more complete. We don’t realize that a big part of the happiness we crave is the realism in our expectations.

Someone with low expectations will be surprised and uplifted when good things happen to them. Someone with high expectations may be upset when great things don’t happen. I think a big part of our experience in life is our expectations.

Growing up, I always knew I wanted children. When I had my miscarriage, I never really dwelled on the though if not having kids. I knew that it was something I wanted and I would find a way for that to happen. Luckily, my body agreed with me, and I have three healthy children. I have truly been blessed. Everything I thought of my kids’ lives, it was always in the infant, toddler or elementary school ages. Now that my kids are approaching their teens, I have to reassess my expectations. They are no longer the little kids I have centered myself on. I need to take their personalities into consideration and prepare for what’s ahead. While their lives have been great up to this point, it has been nothing like my expectations. I love the life that we are able to provide for our children.

We also have expectations when we get married. In the beginning of new relationships, we see the happily ever after. What we miss in that sight is the hard work it takes to get there. I have found that for me, communication is a major component of a successful relationship. That is to include marriage, children and friendships. When we fail to share our expectations with others, we are often left disappointed in the outcome of situations.

I often find myself frustrated with the people around me. I don’t know why I expect people to know what I want. I need to be a better communicator. It isn’t fair for me to get upset with my loved ones if I never set forth my expectations and given them an opportunity to do what I was requesting of them. This has especially been hard for me since Mike’s return. In some ways, life was pretty easy when he was gone. I knew that all the things it takes to run our family were my responsibility. If the trash didn’t make it to the road on Tuesday morning, it was my fault. If the sink was leaky and I didn’t call someone to come fix it, there was no one else I could blame. Now that he is home, I have someone with whom to share the burden of responsibility. Unless I share those responsibilities, they are still mine. The thing is I don’t know how to communicate what I need.

I hate to ask for help; mainly because I don’t want to be disappointed when something doesn’t go my way. If I do it myself and the results aren’t what I expected, I can’t be upset with anyone but myself. I don’t think I have ever learned to lean on anyone else. I wish that I could learn to let go, to not expect so much, and to communicate my expectations when I do want things to go my way.

The reality of our situation right now is that Yes, Mike is home. Yes, Mike is able to do more around the house and lift some of that burden off of me. But when it comes down to it, I am the one who is there the majority of time. I am the one who sees and knows what needs to be done. And I am the one who either needs to take care of things, ask for help, or live with things they way they are. I guess I need to take a good, long, hard look at my expectations and adjust them accordingly.

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