This week was a rough one. My expectations were high.
I planned to start a new strength program. I wanted to cook dinner for multiple friends who just had babies. And I hoped to schedule playdates with friends.
None of that happened.
Between Lucy’s 6-month vaccines and teething, sleep wasn’t very popular in our house. Couple that with a 2-year-old testing her limits and independence, plus a visit from the in-laws, I am done.
My nerves are shot. My emotions are frazzled. And I am completely frustrated.
Let’s be clear: I’m not frustrated with my children. They are 6 months and 2 years old. They are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.
I’m frustrated with myself. Even more than frustrated, I’m disappointed in myself.
Blog posts I wanted to write were left in draft form. The house is a mess. I barely got enough food to cover the main meals, and more than once this week I just skipped lunch entirely because I didn’t have leftovers or the energy to cook something for myself (fortunately, the 2-year-old can live off of microwaved hot dogs so we’re covered there).
Honestly, I don’t really care about that so much. What’s bothering me is my response to it all.
Instead of taking it all in stride and tapping in to some deep pool of patience, I came apart. I began muttering obscenities under my breath when my 6 month old woke from her nap after only 30 minutes, when I knew she needed to sleep longer. I bristled and appeared visibly annoyed when my 2-year-old came whining for more Moana songs.
That’s not fair to them. I know this. And yet I still can’t help that physiological response.
And then I read this blog post on unmet expectations being the main cause of relationships failing. Not just marital relationships. All relationships.
In this blog post, the author writes about how when we place expectations on others, and then actually observe how those others behave, it inevitably leads to frustrations.
His equation: EXPECTATION – OBSERVATION = FRUSTRATION
He writes that when he comes home from work, he expects his wife to have dinner on the table and for his 16-month-old daughter to be perfectly behaved in her high chair. What he observes is an unholy mess of a house, spouse, and kiddo. He writes that he’s learning to let go of these expectations in order to let go of those frustrations.
A great lesson for all of us.
But how do we do this for ourselves? Do we lower our expectations for ourselves? Is that essentially lowering the bar, giving ourselves permission to slack off or quit all together?
I honestly don’t know.
I’m a pretty stubborn person so I don’t think giving up on training or writing is in the cards. Certainly I won’t be giving up on my family.
But I think that means accepting that some weeks will be tough. Maybe it means hiding out in the bedroom to have some mental health time while my husband takes care of the kids (exactly what’s happening now).
These days are typically few and far between. And I can’t recall them ever stretching this long before, so I’m hopeful we are almost through this rough patch. And I very much believe that we need the rough times to appreciate the good times.
Until then, I’ll keep reminding myself that the days are long, but the years are short. That Rome wasn’t built in a day. And that the strong will survive.