Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mother's Day and Expectations

Mother's Day was a little different this year.  My husband had to work all day and one of my sons was grounded to his room all day (except when we were celebrating).  So most of the day was me hanging out on the couch with my other son. 

But the weekend overall was a good one and I felt loved.  This was my first Mother's Day with kids in school so I was surprised when they both brought home all kinds of sweet gifts on Friday.  E had made me a corsage and a beautiful painting of his handprint as a flower.  J-Man wrote an "All About My Mom" paper, which was quite entertaining, made a handprint on a ceramic plate, and a beautiful card.  I loved it all!

On Saturday, my in-laws gave me a much-needed break since Chris had been out of town all last week for a work training.  While Nana and Papa watched my boys, I joined my mom and sis-in-law for a little Mother's Day lunch and shopping. 

And then on Sunday morning, E woke up early to make me cinnamon sugar toast, which he brought me in bed with my coffee.  Chris helped him, of course, but the whole thing was his idea and it was adorable.

We celebrated with my mom-in-law and then with my mom in the evening to wrap up the day.

Do you find that Mother's Day carries with it a certain amount of pressure?  I feel like there's this pressure on our families to just spoil us all day and there's this expectation that our family has to sort of pretend to be perfect for a day.  At my adoptive parent support group the week before, we talked about Mother's Day.  We talked about the big feelings our kids often have surrounding that day as they think about their birthmothers and where their loyalties should lie and as they grieve, once again, their most profound loss.  We talked about our children from hard places and whatever behavioral challenges they are experiencing at the moment and what that was going to be like on Mother's Day.

I really didn't want to ground my son on Mother's Day, people!  But consistency is key in parenting and I had to follow through.  It helped that one mom at my support group had talked about Mother's Day not needing to be this huge all-day pampering affair.  We could just hope our kids tell us "Happy Mother's Day.  I love you."  And that could be enough. 

I purposefully released any expectations that I had of the day before it arrived.  I decided all I needed, all I wanted, was indeed for my kids to acknowledge the day and tell me they loved me.  And you know what?  It made every other sweet thing that happened all weekend that much sweeter, even the little stuff.  And it made every disappointing thing not really matter much. 

This goes for all of life, really, right?  It's our unmet expectations that really cause most of our frustration in life.  If we can let go of our unrealistic expectations, how much less disappointment we'd have!  And not that we shouldn't live lives full of hope.  But sometimes our expectations aren't realistic.  Sometimes we have to adjust them or throw them out and come up with new ones.  I've learned that's a big part of parenting children from hard places.  Letting go of my expectations of motherhood and finding freedom in celebrating what I have instead. 

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