Does Mother’s Day fill you with dread or a sense of contentment?
Years ago, I decided Mother’s Day was not one of my favorite holidays. Do I sound strange? My husband was baffled. What’s not to love about breakfast in bed, a day off from dishes, with hugs, kisses, and gifts being showered upon you? The reality is I wanted to be cherished, but I also kind of want to be left alone. Which somehow felt wrong.
The thing is, for me, Mother’s Day had become a day to celebrate the perfect life. And my life was anything but “perfect.” The day was riddled with guilt and unmet expectations. I know everyone means well, but how fun is it to celebrate motherhood when your life feels like it’s continually falling short?
When I became a mother I had this idea of what my life would be like. We all do to a certain extent. Our expectations come from many different places. From the examples of our family growing up (or lack of example), from movies, social media, the people around us, and our brains.
When I became a mother I had this idea of what my life would be like. Sometimes our life is all we expected and other times it is not.
Sometimes our life is all we expected and other times it is not.
The irony of having these expectations is they do not magically change how our life is. Unmet expectations only create disappointment and resentment.
So am I saying we shouldn’t expect anything from our life as a mother?
You can expect whatever you want. But if motherhood doesn’t meet your expectations… why not stop expecting?
When I stopped expecting my life, my family, my husband to be a certain way – to be different than the way there were – I saw everything in a whole new way.
And do you know what happened?
I stopped focusing on the things I wished were different and started noticing what was good. I saw the funny, good-hearted man I married. The kind, hard-working, and loveable children we were raising. I saw the people they were becoming instead of who I wished they already were. My new perspective showed me hope and promise where before I only saw what it was lacking.
It turns out my life is more amazing than the imaginary one I dreamt up in my head.
If you find yourself in the same predicament, may I suggest a different way of thinking this Mother’s Day? What if you tried to not have any expectations about the day? How would it feel if your life, or anything, in general, didn’t have the shadow of expectation hanging over it? See what it feels like to focus on all that is good around you. Who knows, it might feel so good you’ll want to try it every day!
In the comments share three specific things you can do to make your Mother’s Day Different this year.
Have you ever felt the frustration of unmet expectations quickly turn into intense negative emotions? If you’re interested in learning more about expectations, you might want to check out this post.