Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Dear Friends

When I think back on what used to stress me out, I can't believe I'm the same person. Hosting parties would turn me into an anxiety-ridden maniac, and even the thought of planning a camping trip with my husband and two boys was enough to send me into a tailspin! Thankfully, somewhere along the way, I learned to adjust my expectations to fit reality, and this has helped me with so much more than hosting dinner parties. By figuring out what's really important to both me and my family, I've discovered that I don't always have to dot every "i" and cross every "t" to accomplish what needs to be done. That's why I was more than surprised when Expectations, with a capital E, tripped me up recently. Last week my husband had outpatient surgery. For days before he went in I decluttered and cleaned the house, planned what I would cook (especially important since cooking is not my strong suit), stocked the refrigerator and pantry, went to his pre-op appt., and took notes. In short, I did everything I could to be ready in my little "I'm June Cleaver" fantasy.

Surgery went well, and once we got home and he was comfortably ensconced on the couch, I started making my homemade chicken soup. Before too long the soup was ready, but when I looked at the mountain of dishes I had created, my heart sank a little, since of course my energy was plummeting too. Who would be doing those dishes? Well, my very own self-turned-into-June-Cleaver of course!

I won't go into the gory details of what happened over the next few days, but suffice it to say that it was more of the same. No surprise that I was spent, exhausted, and in a pretty icky mood. Now I hope this doesn't come across as complaining, but after doing dishes, walking dogs, making meals — and trying to do it all really quietly so my husband could rest — it finally dawned on me that perhaps my Expectations were just a teensy tiny bit unrealistic. Since the "time fairy" had not magically doubled the hours in my day, why did I think that I could do what I normally do plus what my husband does, which is, fortunately, a lot!

Thankfully, I stopped and went into the garden. Raking leaves and filling trashcans was just what I needed to bring my shoulders down from around my ears. Then I settled into a long, hot bath and finally curled up on the couch to finish a book.

Well, it's been a week now, and my husband is doing great. While there's still a mountain of stuff to be done, I learned a thing or two from this experience: to take some shortcuts when you're so busy that your head's spinning, like ordering take-out instead of making The Best Chicken Soup Ever. And when you're taking care of someone else, you need to take some time to take care of yourself, too.

If you find yourself similarly juggling lots of things in the air while trying to meet those Expectations that might just be a tad out of reach, take a deep breath and chop those expectations back down to manageable size. You'll be so glad you did!

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Offering Wisdom to New Moms

From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

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