expectations reset

Last night I had my home school mom meeting and at the end we shared our prayer requests. I shared that my temper is short some days, and that I hate that I am not filled with peace and kindness every moment of the day. I really want to be.

Earlier in the day I had just come back into the kitchen and found that Hattie had grabbed the bag of pistachios from a high shelf and dumped most of them on the floor. At the same time Alden was up on the kitchen table taking flowers out of a vase and dumping the water on himself, the table, a chair and the floor. And then Elsie ran in the house screaming that she hit her head with the shovel. She had on her rain boots, caked with mud and had run from the back door, on our carpet and into the kitchen where she paced and cried and I tried to console and calm her down. But mostly I was upset with my muddy, wet, nut-filled kitchen floor.

Another mom who has older kids shared very wisely that once she realized that most of her frustrations stemmed from unrealistic expectations. I tested her theory.

I have an expectation that my kids should note the lovely, put-together home they wake up to and then pick up their messes as they play all day. Ivar and Elsie are genuinely great help and pretty good about meeting my expectation. But Alden and Hattie miss the mark. Because they are 1 and 3. Hattie is actually very, very helpful and loves to have a task, so she is learning. She was pleased to pick up the pistachios. But she makes so many messes, it is hard to keep up. Alden is a professional dumper these days. Which is exactly what one-year-old's do. He sees books on a shelf and hustles over to brush them all onto the floor. He sees anything hanging off the counter or table and he reaches up to investigate. I should expect no less.

I wanted to share this today because I already feel a little lighter. My expectations were throwing us all off and I think by simply resetting my expectations we will have a better day. That includes letting go of the floor for a period of time, and deciding in each moment not to get annoyed by how quickly the house is messy again.

So far it's going great. Though I imagine it will be harder when the kids get out of bed...

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