Expectations of self

Yesterday I had a crappy day.
It felt doubly crappy because I was really pumped to have a good day. But it just didn’t pan out that way.

You see, I went on an excursion with Master 4 and his kinder crew. The weather was stunning, the location awesome, the anticipation large and I had high hopes that we’d be creating beautiful memories to savour for years to come. In fact, I thought this day was seriously going to rock. And so did he.

But instead it was just really shitty. And we both cried a lot, shouted a bit (him more than me – I do have some modicum of control when in public!), and really didn’t like each other for a good few hours. I kind of sulked, he got really uppity and it was pretty darn miserable. It will go down in my books as a huge parenting fail and one of the first conscious moments for remorse from the 4 year old.

I won’t fill in all the blanks, but needless to say my expectations were not met… and in the quiet of my pillow cuddle, with tear-stained cheeks in the safety of the dark, I was forced to reconsider whether I had been unrealistic in my expectations.  All I had wanted was for him to play and respect me in the same manner as he did at home, to join in the group activities and to give everything – even the scary tube slide – a go.  I wanted to get grinning-selfies, peekaboo-pics and laugh in the sunshine with him. But instead of being his bestie I became his worstie. And he didn’t join in – he stuffed around with his new bestie. And he didn’t take my hand and give it all a go, he screamed and shouted and told me I was mean to make him do something he was scared of. It broke my heart and his spirit and pretty much annoyed the hell out of anyone in a 200 metre radius.

So as I put my big girl pants back on last night, stopped pouting and being cross, and let the sadness wash over me then start to dissipate, I realised that our expectations are often not met – by our families or our businesses, and in particular by ourselves. I wanted so much for everything to be like a storybook and yet, why?  I’m not stupid or unaware – I’ve already been there done that with another 4 year old. I know stuff doesn’t always work out beautifully, (in fact I know there’s a high percentage chance of it NOT working out beautifully when it comes to 4 year olds!) and yet as my hopes for the perfect memory-making day were dashed I behaved like a spoilt teenager. I was SO disappointed I could have cried like a …well, like a 4 year old…..

It’s weird how our behaviour sometimes surprises us. It’s kind of odd how we sneak up on ourselves and do something that makes us feel uncomfortable, awkward, outside of ourselves.  We’re in control of own behaviour and it shouldn’t happen like that, right? I mean I’m a sane, grown woman, with an educated mind and a rational sense of self. What the hell happened?? Thankfully these moments are pretty rare for me now (believe me, I did HEAPS of sneaking up on myself when I was in my 20s and 30s…) but it does still happen.

I guess as I mature and check in with myself more regularly it is less and less likely to occur (unless of course I start to lose my marbles….at which point I reckon I’ll just embrace ‘loopy’ and not worry too much about what I say or how I act!).  What I do know is that I’ve become really good at not letting my business sneak up on me anymore. There was a time when it would bite me on the arse because I was just not aware, not in control and not conscious enough of my own impact. Now, I am very mindful of where I should offer advice and when I should back off, where I can add big value and when I should leave it to another expert, and what makes me tick and hum and flow.  I’m also really cognisant of who I want to work with, who I can help and who I should just let go…..THIS state of ‘knowing’ and subsequent control has only occured after many years of working at it – with plenty of help from others and lots of work by myself, ON myself.

If only there was a sure-fire manual to help heal the heartstrings of a mother’s momentarily dashed hopes and dreams for her crazy-beautiful 4 year old….

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