The Trap

Monday January 17, 2011

I'm a Dickens fan with the rest of them, but don't let his title fool you. Expectations are not always great. Too often, especially for moms, expectations are a trap.

Motherhood is great and wonderful, but there’s an awful lot of the reality of motherhood that is NOT easy and, let’s face it, not really wonderful.

I posted a poem -- a verse, really -- last Friday. Here it is again:

"I'd rather be a mother than anyone on earth
Bringing up a child or two of unpretentious birth...
I'd rather tuck a little child all safe and sound in bed
than twine a chain of diamonds about my [carefree] head.
I'd rather wash a smudgy face with round, bright, baby eyes
Than paint the pageantry of fame or walk among the wise." (Meredith Gray)

I won't deny it. If given a choice of only one thing to do in life, I really think I'd choose to be a mother.

But that doesn't mean it's easy or idyllic.

Some of us have an easier time than others with the infant stage or the toddler stage or the teen stage. And that's where expectations creep in.

For example, I figure this should be as easy for me as it is for Ashley over there. It's not, so I must be doing something wrong. The lack of confidence creeps in, begins to take over, and Mom Guilt ensues.

In my head I have expectations, and I'm not meeting them. It's at this point that we moms need to realize we're not necessarily doing things wrong. Expectations have distorted our view.

Expectations say, "I have this all figured out. I know how it should go, and on what timetable." We have the baby book or the letter from Mom or the email from a well-meaning friend tightly clenched in our hands, and we can't just can't surrender it.

But peace only comes when you look past the expectations -- yours or someone else's -- to the One who's holding out His hand. So, open that tightly clenched fist and offer it to the One who loves you and your child more than anyone else.

He offers peace in the midst of the expectation trap. His truth will shine a light on that ruse and guide you out of it.

I'm going to wax poetic about expectations tomorrow -- and the way out of the trap. If you like that kind of thing, be sure to stop by.

What about you? Can you remember an expectation you held tightly to? How did you find your way free?


Jessica Morris said...

Thanks for stopping by and your kind words :)
I checked out your book and am adding it to my wish list - it looks great! And wow! so cool you were able to write a book on the subject of mothering boys :)

Karen said...

Oh, yes. I remember saying, "My kids will never act like that." ha!

Jean Wise said...

Laura, this could be a book. We all struggle with misleading expectations.

rjerdee said...

I find I have few expectations...possibly because of the way I was brought up. That's odd, I suppose, but I usually let life unfold before me...the only time I'm disappointed is when I plan a party or dinner too carefully and it doesn't come off as planned...

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting topic. I don't think anyone can be completely free of expectations when becoming a mother. However, I was only 22 when my first child was born, so my expectations were very low. I think that helped to simplify my emotions about mothering.

Heidi @ Decor & More said...

What a great reminder, Laura. I definitely get caught up in my own (or other's) expectations. I should look to Him more often.
Happy Monday!

Faith said...

I had high expectations but I think it was because I was 33 and 39 when I gave birth. the 2nd one was definitely a tougher birth, tougher child, tougher personality, yet at the same time, by then, i was much more flexible with my expectations and I learned to "pick my battles". I tend to have high expectations for education and studying and that had to fly out the window when my oldest was labeled gifted and didn't NEED to study. the Lord has taught me ALOT through my daughters....and I have learned to enjoy every single developmental milestone and every single spiritual step and not worry about MY expectations but rather, simply give them over to Christ. I LOVE your blog..I get so much out of it!!

Melissa said...

You've hit this nail square on the head. I know I fall victim to my own expectations--for myself as well as for my child.

Not long ago a friend helped me realize that I was trying to be PERFECT. There's only one possible outcome for that goal!

Susan DiMickele said...

Expectations are my downfall. So tough -- as a wife, mom, writer.

How is life in first-time author land? It's a wild ride of expectations, isn't it?

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