Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The pot holes in Great Expectations

         Recently with the guidance and recommendation of a local therapist, I have been meeting with a brave, hurting group of parents that are beginning to learn the ropes (and marathon style life) of therapeutic parenting.

Our first support class began with a conversation about expectations…and the need to recognize why sometimes being the parent to child that struggles with behaviors or special needs can make us feel so lost, sad and frankly desperately angry at times.

Simply put, whispered into the depth of our truths;
“This is not what I thought it was going to be.”
“They are not who I thought they were going to be.”
“I am not who I thought I was going to get to be.”

Damn expectations.
Those daydreams that were used to fill the time when our arms were empty for them, and our hearts felt like they would burst in the wanting, to love a child, to parent a child, for the relationship that was to come and how amazing it would be.

Sure there were to bumps and bruises to be expected, maybe a cast, or a broken window or two…

Not what is here.
Not who I have become to be in the moments I don’t recognize myself.

Author Brene’ Brown did a humans study on forgiveness.
I am paraphrasing her glorious work when I say, “that in order for forgiveness to occur, a death has to happen, something needs to be buried….so something new can be reborn.

I remember watching that and my jaw dropping open.
“YES, I yelled at my computer screen! YES”

In order for acceptance and the ability to move on from what I thought my parenting experience was going to be, I needed to grieve the child I thought I would have.
I needed to mourn who I thought I was going to be, I needed to tell them both how much I loved and wanted that day dream, and then I needed to kiss them good bye, and bury them, in order to fully face what is here and now and to come.

Admitting  this isn’t what I wanted, that I am not amazing, as much as I am just present.
That this is hard and messy, and there are days I long to lock myself in my bedroom in pajamas, binge watching Netflix, and eating an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting, doesn’t make me a bad anything, it makes me human…

cuz that’s what we get.
That is who we are, we are human.
... and as humans we see snippets of people’s Instagram, and create a whole life for them in our heads. We see humorous Facebook posts, and think, “gez, nothing bad must happen over there”…
We see crafty pictures on Pinterest and  believe  the myth that nothing but a perfect family walks the hallowed halls of that amazing Craftsman’s style bungalow.


Because, no matter the person, no matter the day or year, bank account or body type we all mourn something. We all have expectations blow up in our faces.   So.

Whatever it is that you needed to do today to get you and your kids through the day?

Going to the drive through at McDonalds because you didn’t have the energy to make dinner?
YOU are an amazing parent!

Slapping bandaids on yourself  after walking a child through an angry rage/
YOU are an amazing parent !!

You screamed at your kid to “GO AWAY”…because you just couldn’t be whined at or fought with for one more second?
YOU are an amazing Parent!!!
…and tomorrow is another day.

We are not our daydreams.
We are not a picture on Instagram
Our Craftsman bungalows have broken, kicked-in  doors and swear words written with crayon on the walls.

and in the wise words of Stitch, from Lilo and Stitch.

“This is my family. It is small and it is broken,
but it is still good.

Yeah, still good.”

~In tandem with the local parenting support class, my amazing friend Christine Moers and I are offering a live "Coffee Hour" with Christine and Lindsay online via Skype group on this very topic of "Expectations" through April 1st.
If you are interested in the details, and would like to join us, please check put these links, and we will see you there!
March 31st: https://onlinecoffeehourmarch31.eventbrite.com

April 1st: https://onlinecoffeehourapril1.eventbrite.com


  1. This is a great post. I just keep lowering my expectations. For my kids and myself- and we are all much happier😉

  2. I just heard this phrase... Expectations are planned resentments. I thought it was so true.
    Great post!

    1. Wow. I love that phrase so much! <3
      Thank you f ir sharing it!

  3. This is true of marriages as well as parenting.

  4. Yes. I'm guilty of wanting the perfect I see in other people's social media posts, forgetting that that's only a small snippet of their actual reality.

  5. Oh, I can recognise this in me. I think I should have had room to mourn more the life I did'nt get to live the life I did get

  6. Yes. You get it. And Lilo and Stitch get it. Thank goodness there are people out there who get it. My dive into therapeutic parenting started 20 years ago - didn't know that was what I was embarking on lol, but who does? We have all survived - wow it feels so good to say that now - with a lot of Mac Donald's drivethroughs, S'Mores poptart breakfasts, mom-bath time outs, days I wished I could do-over. But we are a family and we are intact and we are attached. Yay!

  7. Thank you for your words...both here and in person this past wknd. You are real and encouraging (thank you)!