Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Great Expectations



I spent most of the early part of 2016 very pregnant and very excited for the summer. I would spend time journaling about the long summer days that lay ahead. My little babe would be here, full of life and extremely cooperative to anything I wanted to accomplish, my body would be back in peak condition, and I would have no responsibility outside of taking care of our daughter. I pictured myself working out each day and dropping below pregnancy weight quickly - maybe even sporting a bikini before I hit vacation in August. I pictured long walks in the humid free air. I thought about the delicious meals I would make, getting healthy in all areas of life. I saw myself sitting in Starbucks, with sleeping baby in tow, enjoying coffee and investing in relationships that I just didn’t have enough time for before. 

HA! HA! HA! 

We have hit the end of July and the fact that I’ve had a baby is about the only thing that has actually come to pass from the daydreams of March. 

The vast majority of the things I pictured and imagined about Summer 2016 have not been my reality. Instead I find myself in pyjamas most of the day, stuck inside due to extreme heat and humidity, and chatting with visitors over newborn wails. I have become a lover of morning television, I eat infrequently and that hot body I was expecting to get back? Let’s just say I will be sporting a one piece for the rest of the summer. 

My expectations were just a bit outside of the place I find myself now. And honestly? It can feel like my current situation is a bit of a let down, as though I have failed in some capacity. As I scan down my figurative list of ‘to-dos’ for the summer, I see a lot more blanks than check marks. Lose all the baby weight. Nope. Walk daily. No. Invest in relationships. Keep the house tidy. Wear make-up. Apply for counselling credentials. Look into job opportunities. Get more freelance writing work. No, no, no. 

It can be easy to focus on everything that I haven’t done and downplay my actual accomplishments until they feel worthless. 

I think we do this often. We turn our perspective toward our problems and everything that we are not, have not or cannot do. We become obsessed with our failures, beating ourselves up for our unmet expectations. We do this in relationships when we expect the other person to act a certain way and they fall short. We begin to focus on all of the bad, negating any of the good. 

I can find my thoughts drifting while watching morning TV (its not hard to do when watching The View) of everything that I could or should be doing. I can beat myself up for my current place. I completely forget about the fact that I have nourished my baby three times already that day, I have rocked her to sleep, I have cuddled her, changed her dirty diaper, and played peek-a-boo until I could peek no more. I have bathed her and snapped a photo or two. I’ve dressed her and carefully applied lotion to her. I’ve set her gently in her swing so I can sit down for a moment or eat breakfast or try to get back to a few emails before she wakes and needs me again. 

So no, I haven’t done everything I expected of myself before Kenzie came along. But perhaps I have accomplished more than I ever could have imagined back when she was growing in my stomach. 

Our sense of accomplishment is dependent on our perspective. Maybe you are doing more, being more, and loving more than you are giving yourself credit for simply because it looks different from how you anticipated. I encourage you to shed the ‘should’ and ‘should nots’ from your life and begin to embrace what you are doing. Do I want to begin exercising more? Yes. But maybe that looks like bouncing my daughter to sleep or lifting her many times in a day. Do I want to build relationships? Yes. But maybe that means opening up my home, sending a text or having a phone call. 


No, summer 2016 is not what I expected. It isn’t as full or accomplished as I expected. But as I look a little closer, I can see that I have grown and developed, doing things a bit differently than I ever could have thought. And maybe its even a bit better. 

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