/This is Lesson Learned 4 out of 5 in response to “Challenge of the Week: 5 Lessons Learned to help You deal with the Chaos that comes with a Baby”/
Let go of expectations
That’s one thing you can actually prepare for (I think :-)). Many of those, “When I’m a mum, I will never”, or “I will always…” will go down the drain. I don’t know why that is, but each and every parent I have ever talked to says that it happened to them. And in many cases it’s actually a good thing, when we find out that something doesn’t work in real life, it’s a good idea to find a better way :-).
But it can be really frustrating at times. For me the topic of expectations is still really big. If I do something especially for the kids, like a special trip, putting a lot of effort into it, I expect them to enjoy it. If they are not over the moon, or particularly if they are showing off a lot of negative emotions, that definitely triggers my difficult emotions ;-).
Your Imaginary Child
Even more damaging group of expectations are those that touch upon who & how your kid will be.
Expectations-wise that’s the worst group, this is where you can potentially bring a lot of disappointment into the relationship with your kiddo. If you have certain assumptions regarding what the kid is going to be like, (e.g. really smart), or what he’s going to do (e.g. play piano just like mummy), and he’s not, it’s a tough call.
You need to ask yourself a question, do you want your kid to live your dream or their own?
How likely is it for the child to be happy if they are always trying to please you and meet your expectations?
So what to do?
“Just” let go of expectations! I know, it’s easier said than done. But If you manage this one, you’ll actually enhance your overall happiness as a human being, and certainly your life as a couple. If you are interested in managing your expectations, here’s a great Podcast by Brooke Castillo.
From my observations, flexible people, who adapt easily to new situations, don’t struggle so much with bringing a baby on board. But if you’re not in that group, and you are quite routed in your patterns and expectations, it may be tough to adjust. The reality is, if you have any aspirations of being a good (enough) parent, you will need to adapt to the kiddo.
If you give up your expectations (or at least some of them) and open up to the whole experience and you try to embrace it as it is, you are going to make your own, your partner’s and your baby’s lives so much easier. Don’t make assumptions, don’t get your hopes up (or down for that matter), just take it all as it is (simple enough, huh ;-)?).
For a concept of good enough parent, you can have a look at our article: My 5 steps to realizing that I will never be a good mum