Thursday, 3 January 2013

Do our expectations write our stories?

My active January saw a successful day 2 yesterday. A neighbour and friend of mine and I took our babies and buggies to the road decided to swap nap time housework for a nap time walk. A long one.

Cue Mummy chat where we reminisced back to newborn days. 

I have had this conversation with a lot of people and I find all of their accounts fascinating. Essentially it's the same story over and over again. New baby, all consuming transition, no sleep and with overwhelming love comes overwhelming responsibility.

The variable is the story teller. Their perspective. Are they telling you the story of how the new baby and sleepless nights were wondrous and beautiful? Or are they telling you the story of how the new baby and sleepless nights were frightening and despairing?

Now of course there are other variables. But I wonder if any other variable in a new mothers tale is as pivotal as her expectations on the approach? 

Me, I am all about "worst case scenarios". I can't help but plan for worst case scenarios in every avenue of my life. I do it when budgeting. I do it when driving. I even do it when selecting sun protection factors! Essentially what it means is in the run up to everything I am some kind of pessimist. So my new mother story reads as a long list of small mercies and pleasant surprises I found in the early days: 

"...and after only an hour and a half of bum-numbing breastfeeding, she blessed us with 10 blissful napping minutes in her bouncer!"

Note: Do not read that as smug. Do not read that as "wow! I found it all AMAZING!" Read that as "for the love crunchie that woman punished her poor husband with 9 months of relentless 'OMG STEVE THIS IS GOING TO BE AWWWFFUULLLL!!!!'"

What's the alternative? The opposite of pessimist is romanticist. The alternative is we absorb 18 (give or take) years of smiling dollies, Supernanny re-runs, serene Disney princess motifs and softly faded Johnsons baby adverts. Put those themes on to simmer for 9 months and VOILA! Unrealistic expectations = disappointment + despair.

This is not the parenting advice blog. (Oh Lordy! How we would all be in trouble if I started doing that.) But maybe there is a message in my "research" about expectations. Measuring them. Being realistic. Though not to the point of living with a sense of impending doom. 

For me it wasn't ALL great, some bits were awful and some bits were incredible. All the best things have awful bits. 

Writing this I'm reminded of a good read I found in pregnancy... It talks about how it's unrealistic to expect to enjoy every minute of every day but finding one minute a day to really appreciate what is wondrous about being a Mum will tick your "making the most of it" box. 

Lesson

Be wary of your expectations. They may have already written your story somehow.

14 comments:

  1. This is a really profound thought in my book....my mind has a tendency to remember things better than they actually were....a romantic I suppose ;)

    I feel like every day is a roller coaster of I got this...to I don't know what the heck I am doing...this is an hourly theme of my life!

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  2. Thanks for sharing your perspective. It was a very interesting read.

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  3. Hi Charlie, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com), and I’m visiting from Thumping Thursdays.

    I love your "Be wary of your expectations..." line, that is so true and definitely something to watch out for in life! Also love the photo of the baby feet. Sweet!

    Anyway, thanks for posting this. If you’ve never visited yet, I hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…

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  4. haha I love it! I think I fall in to both catagories depending on what day you catch me on. ;)

    I like the checking the "making the most of it" box. that's genius and so true!!!

    new follower from thumping thursdays!!!

    --paula
    www.beautythroughimperfection.com

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  5. Hi! I’m your newest follower. Please stop by and say hi when you have a chance. I'm also hosting a blog hop - if you would like to join us :) Hope you're having an awesome week.

    April from:
    A Mommy's Blog Design http://amblogdesign.com

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  6. A very thoughtful post. I remember those early days, at least the ones where I had some kind of sleep the night before :-)

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  7. I tell my older children that are just having children.. Everything has a season and you need to enjoy where you are at..because this will pass! I am quick to jump to the worst case myself so I can understand how hard it is to count your blessings.

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  8. It's a Friday Flash Blog! Please share your favorite posting of the week and see what others are talking about at http://www.fridayflashblog.blogspot.com

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  9. Love the toes photo! If it's any help and I know how repetitive it is...but once they grow up, leave home, have babies of their own...the only things you will remember will be the funny and happy. Trust me, I'm a grandma!

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  10. My glass is always half empty, so I can really identify with you here. I hate to be disappointed, just hate it. The way to never be disappointed is to have low expectations. At least that's what works for me.

    Thanks for linking up with the GtKY hop! And I LOVE the pictures...especially the baby toes =)

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  11. Such beautiful pictures!

    When I talk about when my 5yr old was a newborn, I remember the raging hormones, the mini-panic attacks, as night drew near and I wondered if she'd sleep decent, etc. The sad thing was that she was a very easy baby...slept through the night at 7 weeks! LOL I have anxiety issues, if you couldn't tell.

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    1. P.S. Thanks for linking up to the GTKY blog hop! :-)

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  12. This is a really good post. And the photos of your cherub just stunning :-)

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