The Expectations of Motherhood | Written by Nancy Ray

January 13, 2016

Motherhood is the biggest test of expectations. I expect that after hours of preparing a meal, I’ll be able to sit down and enjoy it hot. But then she’s hungry, too. I expect that when we follow the routine we’ve always followed, she’ll sleep through the night like she always has. But then she’s teething and wakes me several times. I expect to start this week strong after my day of rest – to clean the house and prep food and do laundry, but then I wake up sick. I expect all these things constantly, but I’m constantly interrupted, our plans change, or she gets off schedule.

I love a new year, a fresh start, and setting goals. This year, I have my longest list and biggest (scariest) goals I’ve ever written down. But this year, so far, has not been the strong start I envisioned. It’s been challenging and refining in a lot of ways, because once again – my expectations haven’t been met. I cannot do it all by myself, and that is a humbling, and often times, a defeating thought. When I look at my list of “to do’s” and then spend my day caring for my sweet 7 month old girl without one checked off my list, I realize – I simply cannot do it all. There’s not enough time or energy or wherewithal to accomplish everything.

Let’s be real – expectations are a mama’s greatest enemy! When we expect our days to go a certain way, our children to behave a certain way, our husbands to love a certain way… and then those expectations aren’t met? We give ourselves permission to flail about in an ocean of self-pity and disappointment. And most of the time we go straight to “I’m drowning” instead of seeing the beauty of it all. 

I’m learning day by day that it’s not about my expectations. Not at all. Motherhood is all about my transformation. It’s about letting go of control and being ok with falling short and giving myself a whole lot of grace. That looks like not answering that email, not arriving somewhere on time because she spit up and had a dirty diaper all while walking out the door, not meeting my own or someone else’s expectations. Its humbling. It’s about my surrender and saying, Jesus, I am not enough, but You are. I trust You. Transform me in this. Because at the end of the day, all I can control is my attitude and how quickly I tune my spirit into His voice.

At the end of every day, I am endeavoring to measure it’s success by 2 things: 

1. How closely did I walk with the Lord? 

2. How have I been transformed?

No longer is my success measured in my accomplishments or lack thereof. I’m throwing my expectations out the window and doing all that I can with all that I have. That’s it. And I’m embracing transformation – even when it is hard and yucky and sometimes disappointing. 

Mama, lift your eyes off your expectations and focus on your transformation. It makes all the difference.

Article Written by Nancy Ray, Images Photographed by Elizabeth Tate of Nancy Ray Photography.  

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