About a year after my daughter was born, I decided that I was going to start scrapbooking. I could match together cute paper with the pictures and add a few stickers or embellishments here or there. It would be a good creative outlet and I would have albums that we could enjoy for years to come. I started off great, got all the stuff and enjoyed pouring over the pages for hours on end getting them just right. Slowly I started to fall behind. I thought if I group the holidays together I can do three years of Christmas all at once. While that helped, I now have 4 years’ worth of books in various states of completion. The photos, paper and supplies are neatly stacked and have not moved in a number of months. My desire is still there to get them done, we all love looking through the books and remembering. What’s been holding me back is this feeling that I don’t have enough time to do it – getting it all out, organized and put onto the pages is not something that can be done in an hour or two. I picture a day where I have a big chunk of time to lay it all out and get a bunch of it done, but until that day, the project sits and waits.
My scrapbooking project is a very simple example of a scenario that everyone can relate to. You would like to create a photo album/work out/make a new recipe/tackle a home improvement project/organize the junk closet/etc. but you never get around to it because you have subconsciously created expectations around the activity that are holding you back. You may think I’m being over dramatic, that expectations don’t have anything to do with it, but expectations are a sneaky thing and may be present without you even realizing it.
Expectations simmer under the surface of nearly everything that we do every day. We have expectations related to situations -if I go to a restaurant, I can get food. We have expectations related to friends, family, spouses, co-workers, fellow drivers on the road, our children and nearly every other person we come into contact with. And of course we have expectations of ourselves. Expectations can influence your mood, for better or for worse. When something meets your expectations you are happy and excited. When something does not meet your expectation it can make you angry, frustrated, disappointed, etc. Many times expectations lie dormant. You don’t realize they are secretly influencing the things you do, or do not do.
When I started thinking about the scrapbooks I realized I had inflated this expectation of the time I needed to the point where it was insurmountable. I also realized I had an expectation on the amount of effort and “bling” that had to be on every page, which also made the task seem more daunting. In the end, what is most important is that the pictures are in a book that we can all look at and enjoy. Once I acknowledged these points, I had an idea – why don’t I get the kids to help me? Will the pages look the exact way that I would have done them? No, but, they are old enough to do a good job and will be excited that they get to help…….at least that is my expectation.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.