Change of Address

This blog has gotten a slight makeover (slight like a trim, not Botox), and taken up a new residence. Come on over!


So Long Sweet Summer -- OR -- The Stupid Expectations We Place on Ourselves

I can smell fall in the air. If I leave the house early (which I almost never do), I have to wear a jacket. Last night I found myself hiking down a butte in the dark, because I'm refusing to believe that the sun sets before 9:00 pm. Do you ever find yourself battling regrets when September hits, and summer is undeniably slipping away? My journal entry yesterday went something like this:

I've been feeling regretful about all of my plans and intentions for the summer that went unrealized. I had such big plans. I was going to become a runner, and work on a novel, and learn to cook a million healthy meals (or at least a few.) I was going to enjoy Em and date my husband and spend time with other moms. And I did some of those things. A small portion of all of them, at least. But I've hardly been to the National Park near our home, we haven't camped once, and the date money I set aside is still sitting in my underwear drawer (planning ahead and getting a sitter is harder than I realized.) I've gone running a total of two times and got stalled on page 19 of the novel. (I know not all of these activities are summer-specific, but summer is usually my peak season of motivation and energy.) 

It appears that my expectations were woefully unrealistic and much too high.
Summer isn't totally over, so maybe I can still find some peace and satisfaction in these last few weeks of my favorite season, and adequately enjoy the sunshine before it is gone. But I can't magically transform into something I'm not. I can't morph into a person who runs every morning and does yoga every night. Who takes motherhood in stride and has perfect faith in the future. Because that's not me. I'm not there yet. So I need to stop placing impossible expectations on myself. I need to be okay with who I am RIGHT NOW. I'm trying to get closer to God, even if I'm only getting there by centimeters. I'm willing to learn and want to grow. I'm still figuring out how to be a mom, and that's okay. I'll probably be attempting that for the rest of my life, as my children reach new stages and need different things from me. I'm trying to be open to change, to possibility. I'm trying to believe that God has great things in store for me and my family. 

Too-high expectations rob of us of feeling successful. They keep our best efforts from being enough. In short, they leave us feeling lousy. Can you think of one impractical expectation you've placed on yourself that you can modify or relinquish?


Stephanie said...

This was good. Thanks for the reminder.
Now here's one for you. I know your blog post wasn't really about this. But...think of all the wonderful things FALL has to offer. It is my favorite season. I have a few great healthy fall recipes to pass on to you. It's soup season, baby! Maybe put your fall decorations up. That always puts me in a delightful mood.

Laura said...

Love your blog. Even though I'm a mother times three, your words are full of wisdom. There are so many things that I'm still learning and re-learning (because my mommy-brain doesn't retain things for long) so thanks for the reminder. And thanks for all your fresh views and insightful thoughts. I need them too.

As for impractical expectations --at this stage of my life I try to keep my expectations low (i.e. "Goal #1: Keep the kids alive.") Then I can be surprised at what I actually do accomplish beyond the basics.
When it comes to mothers, I think the Devil thrives on discouragement and inadequacy. Combine that with the physical, mental, and emotional strain that we as mothers are under each day and that's one potent mixture! Seriously, we women are tougher than we think just to be able to do what absolutely has to be done --anything more than that is a miracle.
I don't plan on anything too ambitious until perhaps the kids are all in school or something --and right now I'm enjoying having the excuse to not even try ... ahem, I mean, I'm enjoying the time I have with them now when they're so funny and sweet and innocent. :)
Okay, so to answer your question --that's actually one expectation that might be a bit unrealistic--to enjoy every moment of their childhood. But I refuse to relinquish it. I merely choose to remember the good stuff and forget the rest (of course that's probably why I keep getting pregnant...). I also choose to celebrate the small things like for example rather than feel bad that I only went on two dates all summer, I relish the fact that I actually managed to escape twice this summer! HA!

Sorry for the novel. I haven't blogged for a while.
Email me if you want the names of a few babysitters there.

Devin and Liz said...

Gina, I just came upon this treasure of a blog. You are amazing with words. Your words are very easy to relate to. This is wonderful and I'm excited to keep reading. Life is too interesting not to be shared with other people... Love you!

Gina said...

Good idea! I was overlooking all the wonderful stuff fall has to offer. I can't wait to make your pumpkin cookie recipe. I probably won't even half it :)

Thanks for visiting the blog! I have thought about your goal # 1, keep the kids alive, a lot lately. Thanks for making me laugh and reminding me to keep life simple.

I'm glad you found the blog! You are right about life being too interesting not to share. Thank you!