Monday, October 11

No Expectations

I am writing this post a bit bleary eyed and tired this morning. I expected to get more sleep than I did last night...Ella woke up once and Ava twice (around 1 and then 6:30)... Ella is easy, you find her binky, hand it back and she goes back to sleep.

Ava. Not so much.

She is going through this stage where she wakes up shrieking. High-pitched cries for mommy and daddy. Sometimes to just lay next to her for a couple of minutes, sometimes because her leg hurts (she is in the stage of growing pains). Last night it was one of each.

But that is besides the point. The point is that I expected to sleep for 7 1/2 hours or so and that did not happen.

What did happen though is that as I lay in bed (after getting Ava back to sleep) at about 6:55 debating whether to come downstairs to a quiet living room and pray and then blog, or just sleep until the girls woke up, I had a momentary epiphany. I realized that one of the hardest parts of motherhood (for me anyway) is that you have to lay aside a LOT of expectation and that it's sometimes hard to do.

For example:

  • I can't always expect to get a good night's sleep, because even if I go to bed early in hopes of getting 8 hours a child may wake up from a bad dream, or a lost binky, or an aching leg...and the more children you have the greater the chance you may have to get up...often on multiple occasions in one night.
  • As much as I enjoy writing and want to do more of it and have been trying to get up early to do it (like 6:45), unless I get up at like 4 a.m. I can't set out to say "I WILL have an hour of writing time today" because I could get up at 6:45 and one of the girls may decide that this is the morning they want to get up at 7:05 and that's the end of that!

Here are some other things I shouldn't expect but sometimes I do...(which only leads to frustration and disappointment)...

  • I expect the house to stay clean
  • I expect to get a shower in...peacefully, without a fight or a scream
  • I expect the girls to eat what I make for them
  • I expect the day to go smoothly...and for the girls not to whine or fight with each other!
  • I expect to make it to church, or gymnastics, or the doctors on time...and then someone's diaper needs to be changed.
  • I expect to get a run or workout in...and then the day has been so long, and I'm so tired...that I can hardly lift myself up off the couch, much less put myself on a cross training machine at the gym...

HaHa, you may be saying. You STILL expect any of those things!

Well, no, not really, not all the time. But we are human, and we get these little ideas in our heads. And prior to becoming a parent I had a LOT more control over whether or not these things actually came to fruition...the more little people you become responsible for the less control you have...

Several years before I became a mom I bumped into an acquantaince at a work related function. He had always been a bit of a quirky guy and Scott and I had never completely connected with him, but I had heard that he and his wife had just had a baby and so I asked him how it was going. His response, which I thought strange at the time,  makes WAY more sense to me now. He said:

           "Having children makes you realize how selfish you are."

            Alrighty then, I thought to myself. 

In my little naive, pre-parenting world I was expecting a, 
         "Oh, it's wonderful. We LOVE being parents. Our child is the cutest thing on the face of the   planet and we stare in his face and coo at him and each other all day long." 

I wasn't really expecting a curt, removed answer about selfishness (I think I may have blogged about this encounter once before...if so, sorry to be obviously struck a chord!). 

This morning...bleary eyed from a choppy nights sleep...and with Ella (at this very moment) calling my name from upstairs (even though she NEVER gets up before 8 and Ava finally fell back to sleep!) I can honestly say I GET it. 

I am selfish. I'm working on it. It's one of the big things I really feel God working on in me. 

When we become parents, in our selfish little minds, we think it is for US. That we were blessed with these children to bring US satisfaction. And while they are a blessing it couldn't be further from the truth that they are here to solely bring us joy! 

God places them in our lives to take care of them. To raise them. To help them. To mold their lives. And, in the process of all that I think God blesses us with them to mold our lives...not in the ways we expect...but in ways outside of our control, ways we were not expecting. He refines us into less selfish people. He pushes us to places in which we have to give of ourselves when we don't feel like we want to give any more. He shows us how to love. Unconditionally. Without expectation. 

The same way HE loves us. 

WHOA...I think my epiphany just expanded....

Off to lay down my expectations and discover what God has for us today. 


  1. Without expectations you'll never be let down! Wish it was that easy but I know it's not. I think God is having fun with you Lis!

    I'm still laughing about your earlier post, especially the poop on the floor! Ahhh! Good thing they're so cute!

  2. thanks Lin...I say that every day...about them being so cute that is!!!

  3. Oh sleep deprivation! My soon to be five year old has just started sleeping through, so one down and one to go. I hear you on expectations. Have none, then blessed and nicely surprised you will be. Every day is an adventure and we get to write about adventures too. It must be so dull in an office after being at home.

  4. So true about the expectations! Last month I was at a meeting with about twelve moms who have little ones, and remember complaining to a friend with twin 3-year-olds, "I only got six hours of sleep last night, and he woke in the middle of the night, too." Afterwards I thought, man, I am living in a completely different sleep reality than two years ago! Good thing no mom of a newborn heard my lamentings. Still, my toddler is a real physical and mental drain, even with a bit more sleep.
    I've sort of embraced the phrase "This is a season of life" as a great source of peace, and I've said it to friends about cutting back on activities/ vocal and instrumental groups this year. It was a level of activity that worked for me pre-kiddo. (Off topic) My personal prayer and goal is for self-discipline, and that with a bit more time at home, I will use it to get more cleaning done around the house.
    I know the Lord is a refiner, and I hope His flame continues to give me a good lickin.' A cattle prod, even!


Sharing thoughts is a valuable part of the motherhood community. Please share your thoughts, suggestions and ideas based on posts.