No Expectations Challenge: Days 16 & 17
Back in the days of new motherhood, I was super strict on following a schedule. The kids ate at specific times during the day, they napped or had quiet time from 1-4pm daily (no matter what) and bedtime was promptly at 7:30pm. We lived and breathed by this time table and I was rigid on sticking to it, paralyzed by the fear of what would happen if we veered off course.
As you can imagine, we didn’t go that many places and if we did everything revolved around the kids’ schedule. All the parenting books say that kids thrive on routine and mine totally did. So did I but I was really uptight about it. Now that they are older I have loosen the reigns a lot but naturally we follow the schedule I set so many years ago that they know when to eat, rest and go to bed on their own.
If something out of the norm took place, I scrambled to try and gain control of the situation. This lead to me not being flexible even though I put on a good front on the outside. I expected days to flow a certain way and when they didn’t I had a mini panic attack. My nerves would begin acting up and my stomach would have giant knots of worry.
There was a lot of pressure to stick to the schedule with no wiggle room. No spontaneous trips to the park or changing plans at the last moment. My type A, organized personality shined through but so did my need for it to be perfect.
Motherhood and life in general is far from it as it should be. I didn’t leave much space for error and if I failed at this then it opened up a whole slew of self disappointment. I would get irritated at my kids if they didn’t take a 3 hour nap or couldn’t fall asleep exactly at 7:30pm.
Didn’t they know we had a schedule to stick to? Plus, I needed a break.
Over time, I realized how ridiculous I was being and that I needed to breathe. Now, as a seasoned mother, I look at our days one day at a time. I plan out our weeks for activities, but if someone gets sick or a last minute sleepover occurs, I don’t let it get under my skin.
While there are certain routine items I like to do everyday, it doesn’t matter when they get done and if God forbid I miss a day I remind myself that it’s not the end of the world. It is not a fail. Things come up and I am much more relaxed when I am able to go with the flow of the present moment.
The kids are in school, so my mornings have become my own to do with as I please. There are still moments where uptight mom makes an appearance and I try to get her to relax. Telling her, we are not always in control of our circumstances but we can control how we react when things don’t go as we planned.