I had a breakdown recently, and to be fair I’ve had a few breakdowns, so I wasn’t shocked when my husband looked puzzlingly at the sight of my tears. In my mind, August was way off in the future where COVID doesn’t exist and the celebrations I’ve missed have happened and the life I put on pause resumed. I’ve lived in this mindset of balancing my ‘power through’ emotions with my need to mourn the loss of the life I expected to be living. I think that’s been one of COVID’s biggest lessons: my expectation versus reality. I expected summer bbq’s with friends, I expected trips to see out of state family, I expected a big party to celebrate my son’s first birthday, I expected to see more people in real life, but it feels as if my expectations have been shattered. My expectations for motherhood can be summed up in similar ways; I can hear the veteran moms laughing now as I chuckle to myself rereading that sentence.
Motherhood has never gone according to my ‘plan’ and I suppose it’s because my child has his own will and personality that I don’t control. I was shocked that it wasn’t mentioned in the parenting manual they sent home with us from the hospital. What a learning curve it’s been in resetting my expectations for motherhood, myself, and now in finding a new normal with COVID.
My focus has been on releasing my expectations as soon as I recognize they’re there. I acknowledge my hopes and dreams for the situation at hand and then relinquish those expectations to allow what will be to be. It has been such a freeing exercise in letting go and learning to go with what is and not what I think should be. Even without COVID, rarely does life go exactly as we think it should. This mindshift has allowed me to enjoy my son’s first birthday with intimate family, his first steps in the quiet of our living room with my husband and I giving him our full attention, and time reconnecting with my husband because we aren’t being pulled in different directions to fulfill social obligations. I’m no expert on this process so I still struggle deeply with missing our close group of friends and watching all of our children grow together. I don’t have all of the answers, but I hope to encourage you from what I have learned.
1. Read an uplifting book
My most recent positive find has been The Energy Bus. I first picked it up thinking I would learn some business principles and then quickly saw how it could be applied in all aspects of life. I now go on walks of gratitude!
2. Enjoy a treat
I know many of us can relate to the sleep deprivation child rearing can bring, so we splurged on a $12 cold brew french press for an afternoon pick-me-up treat. It is the little dose of fancy interruption our household needs to remind us that there is extraordinary in the ordinary. Cheers to my caffeinated friends.
3. Feel the L-O-V-E
We have just binged Love on the Spectrum on Netflix and the heartfelt characters looking for love have reminded us what a playful thing love is.
4. Chat with a friend
I have recently made intentional phone calls like never before because the #90skid in me would prefer a text over talking, but this time being physically distant has made me more intentional than ever. My husband doesn’t have social media, and hasn’t since before we met, so he has been really good at this. He makes a point to actually call his friends to check in on them, see how they are, and hear their voice. I am taking one out of his playbook these days.
My mind seems busier than ever with thoughts that never amount to anything, so I have been taking those thoughts to paper through journaling and in prayer. I struggled with this kind of expression in the beginning because I rambled. It turns out to be one of the most refreshing ways to ramble, rant, pray, and pause to reflect. I encourage you to try it.
These simple suggestions may seem insignificant, but I implore you to give at least one a try consistently. We all could use a little lift, shift, and pick me up allowing us to live in the moment and not in our expectations. Momma, you got this!