You are expecting a post about thankfulness, right?
Come on, come on … I know you are. Well, guess what? Although I’m am as thankful as the next person, counting my blessings has become an (almost) daily thing for me, and I am not going to write a post about my haves and my have nots. I am – of course – thankful. My home, my family, the ability to not have to go shopping on Black Friday to get that rock bottom deal. There are many who don’t have that luxury, and to not have to brave crowds or parking lots or gridlock, I am thankful. (As an aside, I have found internet shopping and random shopping to be just as bountiful, especially when you add in that time factor.) Rather this will be a post about expectations, both my own expectations of others, and the ones I feel that I carry.
Mothers and wives. We are an integral part of society. The very world spins because of us and yet we are (usually) the last ones to do our thing. Before I get the eye rolls, let me be clear: I am not complaining one bit. I am merely pointing out the facts. We have expectations of the people in our lives. Our kids need to get good grades, our husbands need to do their share around the house, our friends need to be there to listen to us or to do their part in whatever shared activity the children are involved in.
We also have expectations for ourselves. We have laundry, meals, driving, homework doing, out of the house jobs, cleaning, temperature-taking, Motrin to give, tears to wipe and hugs and high fives to provide. And that is just the first two hours of the day. Unless you have a nanny or a live-in Hazel (am I dating myself here?) these are all hats that we as mothers have to wear on an almost hourly basis. As a side note, if you do have a Hazel or a nanny, I suspect it is because you have other obligations, like … being a surgeon, or a corporate lawyer, or something equally as taxing that takes you out of the house. Not really any better, just different. However, being a surgeon or a lawyer or a swim coach doesn’t absolve you of your duties at home. It just adds to them, tipping the scales toward moms carrying huge loads of emotional and sometimes physical burdens.
I am hosting a party. My main goal of this party is to collect toys for the local homeless shelter. I have hosted this party for many years now, and in the past we have collected hundreds of toys for children in our community. Because of the economy though, it has been a few years since we’ve been able to afford to do this party. In the past I have put so much emphasis and so many expectations on myself for it to be perfect – perfect food, perfect decorations, perfect everything – that I have stressed myself out and sometimes missed the point. Coming back to this party after a few years, I have approached it differently this time; I think I’ve gotten smarter as I’ve gotten older. This party is less about everyone’s expectations of me and more about my zeal to spread joy. I’ve done the decorations, I’ve planned the food, and I’ve done both with the attitude that it isn’t really about the decorations or the food (although both will be very nice) – it is more about those children that we will be providing a semblance of a Christmas for.
I know the name and purpose of this blog is to change the eating habits of my seven children, but honestly, I feel as though that is so narrow. When I started out, it was totally with that purpose in mind, but I have since come to realize that as we have made these small changes in our approach to food, it has affected everything. It has become an overall awareness of everything and everyone. Every decision we make affects something or someone else, what food we eat, what we say, how we act. My expectations of myself and those around me have changed. Although I still expect my kids to get good grades (can’t afford college for seven kids without them) and I still expect my husband to help around the house (we are a team, after all), I don’t expect perfection from myself anymore. I only expect me to stop and think about how my actions can help or hurt the world around me, and I expect my children (and maybe a few others) to learn from my example.