Moms tend to expect a lot not only of their children, but of themselves as well. Sometimes we set such lofty goals for ourselves that it’s almost impossible to achieve them. A day spent working, helping with homework, doing dishes and straightening up the living room may seem inadequate because we didn’t also make chicken Marsala for dinner and reorganize the family photos.
You’d think that someone like Michelle Duggar, with her full household of 18 kids at home (and one adult married son), would set her bar even higher than the rest of us. But, she says, just the opposite is true!
In her new blog post on the family’s website, the experienced mother says she and her husband, Jim Bob, learned early on that setting expectations only leads to disaster.
“As a mom I could have an expectation of a clean house (or a semi-clean house) so I can at least walk down the hallway without tripping over toys, or the expectation of a good night’s sleep of eight hours,” she writes. “Whatever our expectations are, our pastor has explained, may be way up here in the clouds, but our actual reality may be down here with what we’re dealing with, and everything in between is frustration.”
So rather than setting themselves up for resentment, the Duggars (as you might expect) take a spiritual approach to their daily hopes.
“[W]e realized early on in our marriage that we needed to give those expectations to God – we needed to yield our right to a clean house, to a full night’s sleep, to whatever it is that we think we deserve or we should have – and say, ‘Lord, I’m not going to have these higher expectations that may never get reached,’ ” Michelle says. ” ‘I’m going to give this to you, Lord, and if you allow anything to happen, that’s good.’ ”
Relinquishing their expectations, she adds, intensifies their sense of gratitude. It also allows her and Jim Bob to give their love and praise freely to each other and their large clan, because they’re not weighed down with anger or resentment over what they think their children should do or be. Michelle is careful to point out that giving up expectations doesn’t mean they don’t set goals for themselves.
Sounds like an easier-said-than-done approach, especially for parents who are used to setting the bar ever higher for their families and homes. And if you’re not as devout as the Duggars, this method might not sit well.
But whatever you may think about the controversial family, any strategy that helps reduce the constant state of Mom Guilt can’t be all bad, right?
What do you think? Is this a method you use yourself – or plan to?
[Photo: via PacificCoastNews.com]
Read more of Shana’s writing at Momsperiments.
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