Last week I was watching an episode of glee, which, if you’ve never seen it before, talks a lot about being who you are without being ashamed. One ‘kid’ (high schooler’s all played by people in their mid to late twenties) wants to be a dancer, but his dad doesn’t want him to be. When his mom sees him dancing, and the kid tells his mom that dancing is his dream, she tells him that growing up she had a dream, but her parent’s expectations led her to give up on it. She tells him that she wants him to follow his dream, and loves him.
This got me thinking about what expectations I have for my daughter. Honestly, other than being happy and living her life centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ, I don’t really have any. I mean, I’m not insistent that she becomes a doctor, or an English major like me, or a teacher or anything. I want her to be whatever she wants to be, and to do what makes her happy.
This all got me thinking about expectations, and how harmful they can be to us. We have expectations for others and all it does is either disappoint us or harm the other person. Let me give an example. I always expected my husband to work full time, and go to school full time, while still being a very present parent and making time for the things he wants to do (unrealistic, I know). I would put so much pressure on him to get a job until one day we had an honest conversation. He is only human, and could only handle so much. We made a decision according to our goals and what he could handle. It was wrong of me to expect so much of him, and to pressure him with those expectations.
We also put expectations on ourselves as well. I expected to be done with college by now. But having a baby has required me to do less classes than I planned, and that’s okay. I’m still pursuing a degree, and I’m not giving up. Expectations can be harmful to ourselves and others. It can create such a stressful environment, to the point where we feel like failures. As long as you try your best every day to fulfill your goals and your responsibilities, you are never a failure.
After I had my daughter, my mom gave me a cute quote that hangs in my kitchen. It says: “Let whatever you do today be enough.” I live by this quote as some days I can get a lot done, and some days I don’t. But I’ve learned to stop putting an expectation on myself of how much to get done. Take things one day at a time, drop your expectations, and see how much stress is reduced from your day.