I spent an entire day in tears.
I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t bring myself out of it. Nothing my husband said or did made me feel like less of a failure. None of the positive self talk I tried made a difference either.
Right now I’m supposed to show up every single day as a work-from-home wife, mom, teacher and friend.
But I am falling short.
On this particular day, the sky turned dark in my mind and all I could do was cry: ugly cry, silent cry, I even cried with my eyes closed trying not to cry.
I knew it was time for a conversation with the big guy upstairs.
Technically, my bedroom is upstairs so this metaphor is on point 😂!
I sat in the middle of my bed, hands folded in my lap, and I talked to God. I explained my feelings, my anxieties, and my fears – all having more to do with my aptitude as a wife/mom than any threat of coronavirus.
After I unloaded all my frustrations and worst case scenarios, I asked Him for help. Then I just sat there… Waiting for a feeling, a mental picture, or vivid thought.
Out of the quiet came the phrase, “release all expectations.”
Honestly, I was looking for a tactical solution. I was looking for an answer that would help me do all the things better myself. But God wanted me to release my expectations to Him.
I needed to let go of all the expectations that gave me false sense of control and simply do my part with what I’ve been given.
So how do we do that?
One thing at a time… and in no perfect order. For now, let’s just start with the big 5 that most of us are struggling with in the present moment.
The top 5 expectations that must go.
My kids will succeed at homeschool / online learning.
Reality: Everyone, teachers included, are new to this. It’s going to take time to work out the kinds and we’re going to need to give and receive grace when things don’t go as planned. We will all get through this regardless of how well homeschool / online learning goes. It’s not all or nothing. They will be okay.
I can be just as available for my co-workers, clients, and friends as I was before.
Reality: Everyone’s schedules have been uprooted. If communication needs to happen at odd hours, it’s okay. All hours are odd hours these days. The important things is we stay connected– not when or how it happens.
I should have more time than ever to do XYZ because everything has been canceled.
Reality: Now that everything is canceled, we are under more pressure than ever to stay afloat. This is mentally exhausting which means productivity in general might be lower than usual temporary. We’ll all find our new normal and things will get better.
I should be bonding more with my family like Karen on Instagram.
Reality: We still have to do all the things we used to do and in some ways we’re doing even more. We can be intentional about connecting with everyone in our house on a daily basis, but we don’t have to be a smother to be a good mother. And remember, social media is a highlight reel. You’re not going to see Karen’s low moments.
I should be sanitizing and safeguarding more.
Reality: We’re doing the best we can. We can’t obsess over “what ifs” or we’ll start to spiral and that’s not healthy for anyone. Let’s be responsible, but also rational.
- Which of these expectations do you need to release first and foremost?
- How can you practice actually releasing this unrealistic expectation?
- What will you do to prevent creating unrealistic expectations in the future?