As a mom, my expectations of things have gone in to overdrive.  I started thinking about this issue more when my nephew refused to eat his cake at his 1st birthday party this weekend.  I just expect Declan to inhale his birthday cake and rub the frosting all through his hair and look up at me with a toothy grin. The truth is that reality can be so different. Why is it that I (and most women) put so much pressure on ourselves?

Another example? Mark and I swore to be uber social and just bring our son along to our events. We love sports games, dinners out, etc. Our realization? Social outings are based the proper balance of a not-sick, well napped, full tummy Declan.  It's not a quick process leaving the house either. I need a diaper bag stocked with toys, puffs, diapers, A & D, tylenol, teething tabs, a change of clothes, sippy cup, baseball cap, etc. We still try to get out as  family as often as possible but sometimes a PBJ sounds better than trying to inhale Chi.potle while handing my busy 8 month old puffs at a fast pace so he doesn't try to rip everything off the table. 

The other I'm-a-big-fat-failure issue is my home. Before Declan joined our world, I worked a ton of hours and still kept everything in balance...pretty clean house, bills paid, etc etc. Now, I'm home the majority of the day M-W-F and I feel like my bathroom should have caution tape on it, the dishes are constantly spilling out of the kitchen, the laundry is stacked high needing washed. I'm even contemplating trying to budget a housecleaner to come every other week or so and help with the deep cleaning. How is it that I can't keep on top of things? Well...the majority of the day I'm playing with or watching Mr. Active crawl around and pull himself up on everything. When he's napping I catch up on work stuff and try to do a few things around the house. It's just not as easy as I expected.

It's a good thing that expectations do often get met. I expected to adore my child but I never could have imagined the amount of love I have for him. I expected to enjoy motherhood and I very much do. Everything in life is more full filling- family events, church, even errands. I expected my life to do a 360- it certainly did. ;)

It's also a good thing that reality inserts itself when our expectations are not met. In those moments when disappointment sets in, I try to remind myself that there are a lot of things not in our control that we just have let go. My husband is fabulous at this. He's chill about life and all that comes our way 99.9% of the time. We're a perfect combination because I freak out often and he talks me down.

I'm trying to learn to roll more with the punches. If my sink is full of dirty dishes- life will go on. If I feel like there isn't another moment I can juggle my roles as mom, wife, employee...I try to remember tomorrow is a new day. 

Speaking of new days, I'm thankful God designed it just the way He did. If the crap factor of a day is a 10, you get to lay your head down...the sun sets....and a new day arrives. Ah, fresh starts- they're necessary for my sanity. 


Christy said...

Amen, sister, you are so very right! I have made many of the same observations as you. Several months ago I did actually hire a cleaning lady to come every other week. Best thing I could have done! Now it is a worry that I just don't have to worry about. As for going out, we've done that with Andrew since the very beginning. Yup, the boy has a full season of major league hockey under his belt. We have a smaller diaper bag that we use for evenings out and it is always packed and ready to go, except for formula. At the last minute we just add a bottle and then take off. I'm not sure I've got answers for you, but I can definitely relate and can tell you that you are a great mom doing a wonderful job as evidenced by your incredibly happy little man. Keep it up!

Robin said...

I agree with you 300%! I've never been known for my cleanliness, but good God, my house is a pigsty most of the time! Now that she's crawling...!!!

I just have to say that Declan is way cute in that hat. He's a beautiful kiddo!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, especially with your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs (and I witnessed the same cake problem with my nephew last summer). We've given up trying to go out to eat with Evie in tow because she's just impossible to keep happy, and I only clean my floors when company is coming over. Even then, half of the time it's J who mops them. My mom has given me two pieces of advice recently. One is helpful and the other is just depressing.

1. You won't find your balance as a mom until your first child is 2 years old. Don't expect to feel in control until then.
2. "Why do you need 'me' time? Women in my generation never expected to have 'me' time when we were raising babies!"

I hope she was kidding about #2. Seriously. I'm worried she wasn't.

melanie said...

"If the crap factor of a day is a 10, you get to lay your head down...the sun sets....and a new day arrives."

i loved that!! :)

Sam said...

Perfectly said (written). I could not agree more.

Kristin said...

You are so right on...and when you feel like a failure just remember we've all been there...or are probably there right now! :0 It so worth it and I'm so happy too that the expectation of loving our children clearly exceeds what we thought we'd be able to give! LoVe It!

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

bugh. I know what you mean. Just today we had an awful day at the mall (trying to meet a friend to go shoe shopping fo rher wedding in november with kids in tow...not fun).
Even the old people walking around the mall were giving me harsh looks. Like I needed THAT on topo f my toddler melting down. Sheesh.
I am right there with you!

Doripink said...

Perfect post and very well put! I remember when Annalise turned ONE, I got her this little baby cake thinking she would love mushing her hands in it, etc...When I put it in front of her (camera ready) she just sat there and looked at the cake. After about 2-3 minutes of complete non-activity, I took her hands and put them in the cake myself. She just sat there, holding her hands up at me, tears in her eyes wondering why the hell I just messed her perfectly clean hands up. It was a perfect unexpected moment in child-raising.

You're doing an amazing job and Dec's is one VERY lucky boy!

Anonymous said...

you, my precious daughter, are an awesome mom! Who really cares about how a house looks! Yours is so cute and lovable anyway.
The important thing, is that Declan is loved, smiling, and happy. You and Mark enjoy him, and that, is the greatest blessing. I love your home, just as it is, lived in, and comfortable. And my grandson is loved by us all!

KimboSue said...

What a great post. Little Miles is only 17 days old today, but I am already feeling the overwhelmingness of trying to juggle all that I used to do pre-Miles and understanding that some days I just might not get to it and that is just fine by me!

Stacy A. said...

Ashley...I have absolutely no idea what you are going through, and I'm not going to act like I do.

BUT, here's what I know:

1. You are an amazing, beautiful, strong, intelligent, loving woman, wife, mother!

2. Regardless of your expectations, your pile of dishes, dirty bathroom or general lack of social activity do not define who you are or change the love we all have for you!

3. I like how you ended this (stay in that place...it's the truth).

Love you girl!