Expectation Vs. Reality

Hi guys! Let me start by saying THANK YOU! I have been so overwhelmed with all of the love and support for my adult xanga. The positive feedback has truly made us feel so much more comfortable with sharing the not so perfect pieces of our lives with you, so I want to thank everybody for the views, the shares, the comments, the messages, and the texts. I have been especially humbled and excited about all of the business inquiries, free vacations, club appearances, and modeling opportunities. I am now an official spokesperson for Flat Tummy Tea, Sugar Bear Hair Growth gummies, and Waist Trainers. (just kidding, but the emails and messages from you guys really are so sweet and I do appreciate your kindness and support so much!)

The website I use for this blog allows me to see the views/comments and gives me statistics for each post, which is kind of cool. It says that my most popular hour for views is 2:00 AM. 40% of my views happen at 2:00 AM, guys. Isn’t that so appropriate, seeing as how the majority of my followers are fellow moms? It’s so telling of one of the most continuous struggles of motherhood…
Do I go to sleep at a reasonable hour and get enough sleep to wake up when the baby wakes up bright and early, or do I take a brain vacation and stare at my phone for 4 hours until I end up watching Youtube videos of the world’s biggest pimple or how to contour my face to fake a nose job? It’s so real. And when you choose the latter, the moment you hear your baby on the monitor at 7 a.m. (4 hours after you finally put your phone down) you truly want to die. DIE. And maybe sometimes you go into the nursery, change your baby’s diaper in the dark, put your baby on the floor with some toys, face the wall, and “rest your eyes” on the Boppy for a minute or 45. I’ve never had any experience with this type of scenario personally… I’ve just heard about it from some friends or something. Probably bad mom friends.

So today’s post is going to be all about unrealistic expectations. (For example, a young Barry Bennett fully expecting to grow up and become a dragon).
I know, the topic has nothing to do with the intro… I write like I talk, so who even knows? At this rate it might conclude with my theory about Forever21 being the clothing version of the Cheesecake Factory menu- but that’s neither here nor there.image1

Life is full of all sorts of different expectations. Expectations that are fully met, expectations that are close to being met, and expectations that are so comically far from your reality, that after all is said and done you don’t know whether to laugh or cry about the end result.

Most of the time we create our own expectations from hearing about other people’s experiences. With pregnancy and childbirth, I was going by what I had seen on Teen Mom *shoutout to Jenelle for making me still feel like the best mom on my worst days*, the horrific birthing stories that my stupid coworkers (I’m pointing at YOU Mandy & Beth) used to tell me in the teacher’s lounge to make me squirm, the experiences that the women in my family had gone through, and possibly the most influential- what I had gathered from social media about “momming.”

Because motherhood is something that I had obviously never experienced, when people would ask me “Is this easier or harder than you expected?” The obvious answer would be, “I didn’t really know what to expect, so I didn’t really have any expectations.” But that’s just not true. I think we subconsciously expect what we hope will happen. We want the best possible outcome SO badly, that we actually start to believe that even though it’s not realistic for us personally, we WILL meet said unrealistic expectation. The danger with this is that we, as mothers, are unfairly setting ourselves up for failure right off the bat. (I use the term “failure” lightly, because failing at these expectations is not actual failure… it’s simply experiencing a different outcome- a totally OKAY outcome.)

-Here are just a couple examples of some expectations that were not met for me-
Expectation 1: I will have a #fitpregnancy. I will look like a pregnant Kourtney Kardashian, because we have similar body types???
Reality: I have to put deodorant between my thighs to workout. I pee on the treadmill. I’m actually not a 5’1 Armenian woman.
Expectation 2: Childbirth will be okay. I’m pretty tough. I’m not a giant fatty, so surely my baby won’t be a super lardo that’s going to temporarily destroy my vagina and break my tailbone.
Reality: LOL

Expectations. Ugh. I didn’t realize that I even had any expectations until I was sad about my outcomes. And why was I even sad? (I mean, the wrecked vagina and broken tailbone is okay to be sad about.) I was sad because comparing myself to other people subconsciously brainwashed me into thinking that I was doing everything wrong.

Owen was born with torticollis, so my body must have carried him in my womb wrong.
I didn’t bond the first moment I saw him, so something must be wrong with me.
I wanted him to spend his first night in the nursery so I could take care of myself, I must be selfishly doing this wrong.
We brought him home and he still felt like a stranger to me, this feels so wrong.
I couldn’t breastfeed like other mother’s could, and feeding him formula was so wrong.

You guys… this has to all be so real for so many women. I know in my heart that I am not the only mom to feel like a complete failure when my expectations and reality are so different from the other. I can’t honestly say to expectant mothers and new moms, “Just don’t have any expectations so you won’t experience disappointment.” So I’m not going to. What I WILL say to them are these things that I wish I could go back in time and tell myself- things that I think will be helpful for me if we have another baby someday…
1. You are allowed to be hopeful. Hoping and expecting are two very different things.
2. Your reality differing from your expectations doesn’t make ANYTHING about your experience wrong. Everything about your pregnancy/birth/early motherhood is individually designed for YOU to rejoice in, to suffer through, and to overcome. God knew your short comings, your strengths, and your abilities when he created YOUR baby for YOU.
3. You are not wrong. You birthed your baby the right way even if it didn’t go as you expected, because you brought your baby into the world. You are bonding with your baby the right way, even if you are spending extra time perfecting how exactly to love and care for it. You’re taking time for yourself the right way, because you know that it’s necessary if you want to be the best that you can be for your baby. You are feeding your baby the right way, because your baby is being fed. You are making mistakes the right way, because you are using your mistakes to better understand yourself and to remember why you desperately need Jesus.

There’s a song that ALWAYS reminds me of the beginning phases of motherhood every time I hear it- every time my unmet expectations feel like failures.
“Lord I find You in the seeking
Lord I find You in the doubt
And to know You is to love You
And to know so little else
I need You, Oh how I need You”

BECAUSE AIN’T THAT THE TRUTH?! SO so little else. So let’s reprogram ourselves.
Let’s let this be our only expectation: To grow into better mothers every day, by being  realistic in our expectations and confident in our abilities.

13 thoughts on “Expectation Vs. Reality

  1. Well done Afton. I am at a huge United Methidist Conference and reading your blogs aloud to my friends. I am sooooooo proud of you and Barrt and just live little Owen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Get it guuuuurrrlllll – I love it! You are so funny and so right… next I would like for the details on forever 21 and Cheesecake Factory 👍👍🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Broken tailbone 😦
    Loved this Afton! I formula feed and felt like i always have to justify why to people- why is because my kid is hungry. That’s why.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kelsey I loved talking to you at Meagan’s shower because you were the only person that flat out said to me “yeah I tried breastfeeding for literally one second and it hurt so I stopped”
      I was so relieved to hear you!!!

      Like

  4. Afton, I’m one of those 2-4am readers. Thank you for providing reading material that actually keeps me awake while I’m up feeding Lyla in the middle of the night. Sure, I might startle her every few minutes with laughter and scare her half to death but your posts are so good for my soul!! Keep them coming…please…I hear you’re not supposed to fall asleep while feeding your baby…pray for those moms 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha!!! Thank you Casey!! Oh 4 am feeding- I know you so well! When she starts sleeping through the night you’ll look back and wonder how the heck you sustained that for weeks in a row. You rock!!!

      Like

  5. I love your honesty & wit, especially since I’ve known you since you were born. It’s about time someone is showing the truth to child birth and now having a child, especially a BOY who doesn’t sit quietly and play Barbies. My boys were so inquisitive and most of my friends had girls and I always wondered what was “wrong” with my kiddos, who were never quietly sitting (doing ANYTHING)!
    I used to sit in class on Sun am and wonder if I was the only mom there who felt like she’d just run a 10 mile marathon just getting makeup and clothes thrown on while wrestling two wild animals (19 mos apart) just to get there. The only pleasure I had in all this “woe is me” funk was seeing your mom with two different shoes on. I prayed she did it looking disheveled and yelling, while yelling at dad, spanking one of you girls with a hairbrush and leg wrestling the other trying to get her dressed. I’m still sure all was perfect in your house but a girl can dream…..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Afton. I have ALWAYS looked up to you. In high school I thought you and your friends were the coolest (because you were) . Then I came to college and rush was overwhelming and I loved so many houses but I ultimately made my decision because I thought to myself ” if Afton chose this one I am positive I will love it” and I did! But all that to say after reading this I am even more proud to have you as someone to look up to in life. You are absolutely hysterical and SO genuine and I think people need to hear what you have to say. ESPECIALLY this topic. THANK YOU so SO much for your honesty in a delivery that every single person can relate to. I am not even pregnant but one day I hope to be. And when I am I will come back and read this post but I also found it so applicable for other areas of my life. You’re my hero! Keep this mommy Xanga up

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