Today’s guest post comes courtesy of an online writing acquaintance of mine, Erin Hatton.
She’s a blogger and fiction writer, other details about her are listed below but the most important factoid is that she’s a mother of four kids.
She writes about expectations of parents for themselves and their children – a topic that I’ve written about before – but Erin has a unique perspective.
If you’d like to submit a guest post yourself, here are the guidelines.
Growing up I knew a lot about expectations and how to fill them.
I got straight A’s in school, turned out art, music, and writing projects to ooh’s and ah’s, and behaved so well I sometimes got teased.
My husband likes to say I came from the Cleaver family. Most of the time I was pretty happy with this arrangement.
Needless to say, I had some expectations of my own for parenthood. Without admitting so much to myself, I hoped for this utopian home with angelic children that ran on sunbeams and flowers.
Like that was ever going to happen!
What I got was four moody, high-energy children who like to climb walls in their spare time. Literally [see photo insert of my daughter].
Redefining my expectations has been a bit of a journey for me. My son came along with ADHD and learning difficulties.
My daughter pitches battle over every decision and impersonates animals. My twins take the cake with their antics. With each child I’ve had to relax and reevaluate what I can reasonably expect as a parent.
It can be tempting as a parent to throw all expectations out the window. “I’ll let my child be what he will be.” But realistically we have to, and usually do, have some expectations. Here are a few of mine.
I don’t expect my kids to be perfect. I do expect them to do their best.
I don’t expect my kids to be someone they are not. I do expect them to be the best version of themselves they can be.
I don’t expect my kids to like everyone. I do expect them to be kind to everyone.
I don’t expect my kids to be great at everything. I do expect them to try anything.
I don’t expect my kids to be “on their game” every minute. I do expect them not to be defined by their limitations.
I don’t expect my kids to be seen and not heard. I do expect them to be respectful.
I don’t expect my kids to get it right the first time. I do expect them to keep trying.
So there are a few, and I’m continually honing this list day by day.
The point is to find a balance between an unattainable standard and no standard at all.
How about you? Do you have expectations about parenting that you’re finding unrealistic?
Have you discovered a better set of expectations that you’d like to share?
Erin Hatton is a fiction author and stay-at-home mother of 4. Her latest novel Otherworld was shortlisted for the Grace Irwin Award.