I've been thinking a lot about expectations for a while now. I've actually started a blog post about this before but never finished it, so I decided to start over.

First off, a follow-up to the last post about exercise. That grand plan didn't last long-- only two and a half trips to the grocery store (the half was when a friend gave me and the kids a ride home after it started raining and because I'd forgotten to use my inhaler before leaving the house). I got frustrated by not being able to get my Moby wrap to work JUST RIGHT so that I could have both hands free to push the stroller and then it was one excuse after another and we just haven't tried again. I need to find some other exercise to do, but I am being more careful about what I eat.

So, expectations. They can serve me or mess me up. When I first started thinking about this, it was in the context of nursing newborns and being a stay-at-home mom and the things that really throw people off in those two efforts. Nursing is a good example of what I've been learning, overall, about expectations-- if I expect my newborn to eat well, sleep for three hours, wake up, eat again, etc. etc., then I could be totally right. Then on the other hand, I could be miserable when that same baby eats for five minutes, then ten, then sleeps for an hour, then eats for fifty minutes, then sleeps for thirty, then eats for ten minutes, then sleeps for three hours...and so on. My attitude and response can vary from "What is wrong with this child I'm not doing this anymore go to sleep go to sleep go to sleep" to "Oh, hey, that was a good hour-long nap."

The only difference between those responses has nothing to do with the baby. It's all to do with my expectations. Newborns sleep weird. They eat for weird amounts of time. They want to eat a lot. That's normal.

Another example: My toddler wakes up at 5:30 am and plays happily for ten minutes, then descends into thirty minutes of being set off by EVERY LITTLE THING. That Duplo guy doesn't fit there-- fall apart and cry. Truck won't stay exactly where I want it-- fall apart and cry. I could go on. So, I can be moaning and whining to the two-year-old, "Stop whining. You know what's wrong? You need to sleep longer in the morning. You get up too early," or I can remember: He ate dinner at 5:30 the night before. I stayed up for another five hours and had a snack, and I can go longer without food. He's probably miserable because he's hungry. Also, despite tiredness, why do I expect the two-year-old to stop whining when I won't?

And finally, I unsubscribed from a bunch of email lists today and deleted some apps that were all about shopping. I signed up for them so that when we do have a little extra money to buy presents or to get things that we need, I'd be aware of sales and have coupons. But really, it was just making me focus too much on material things. My expectation was becoming that "We should have more freedom in our budget right now" instead of "the Lord will provide when we need something." And He has always been faithful to provide.

All this to say that expectations are something I'm working on. I'm not saying I should expect my kids to be terrible and for our budget to always be tight, but I shouldn't expect the opposite of those things either. My expectation and hope should be in the Lord, not in the circumstances of my bank account or my kids' actions. That's so hard sometimes, but it's so important.

What do you expect right now? Where can you see that your expectations for a situation or a child or a spouse or anything are making things seem way worse than they actually are?

Here are some other areas that I find myself frequently having to adjust my expectations:
-when and how I clean my house
-the time I have to write and where to find it
-how my boys handle going to bed at night (right.now. they are sick and overtired and not sleeping)
-how Adam and I handle conversations when we're tired
-how much sleep I need and when to get it
-what uses of my free time I will find fulfilling
-how much free time I have (lol)
-the kind of time I need to spend with God to not be a total grouch to everyone in my family
-how well my infant sleeps during the day
-how long dinner should take to make

Those are in no particular order. I guess I was freewriting a bit. Anyway, expectations. You have them. Are the ones you have right now helping or harming?