Releasing Expectations and Embracing Gratitude

We have expectations, expectations of ourselves, our spouses, our children, those around us. We expect that the day will unfold a certain way. We plan and prepare as best we can so that everything will get done, everyone will accomplish what they need to accomplish and things will go the way we expect.

Expectations can be good. They usually move us in the direction we want to go in. They may bring about certainty and edge us toward sanity.

But expectations can be the thief of gratitude. When we cling to these things, when we hold to them so tightly and allow ourselves to be disappointed when they are not met, we lose the opportunity to be grateful for the way things unfold in our world. We miss out on the chance to experience unexpected beauty. Things rarely go exactly as planned, no matter how much we prepare. And especially walking through this world with little ones in tow, this is even more true. And it's ok. It's perfectly ok.

Instead of allowing ourselves to be disappointed when life doesn’t roll out in front of us the way we expect, instead of feeling like something is lost, is there a way to shift our perspective? Can we instead ask what the gift is in the situation? Can we embrace gratitude for what is and look a bit deeper for the beauty?  Can we release the hold we have on our expectations and allow the universe to unfold with its own plans, letting go of how we think things should be so that we can embrace the wonder in how life actually is.

The Truth About Gratitude in Motherhood

We are told to be so grateful, to cherish every moment, to love every single inch of motherhood. Babies don’t keep, and soon they will be walking. The toddler years fly by. Suddenly they will be off to school and driving and staying out late and heading off to college. We are told they will be all grown up in a blink. In some moments, this sounds like great news. But mostly we just feel it looming over us, like a scary, unfamiliar event that is about to happen, one that we know is coming but can’t begin to prepare for.

So we try to cherish it all, every moment. And then milk gets spilled on the new couch, we find marker on the wall and we realize we’ve been walking around all day with spit-up in our hair. We showered yesterday and probably weren’t going to get another one in today, so this is very bad news.

None of these are the moments we would like to cherish. And the ability to find gratitude here may completely lost on us. We are perfectly ok with these moments flying by.

But there is something very important to remember about gratitude in motherhood: this is a journey, and without the downs, we wouldn’t fully appreciate the ups. And these little ones who are on this ride with us, they are figuring it all out for the first time. They are looking to us for guidance to help them shape their lens of the world. How will they react to situations? How will they see others? How will the respond when life gets hard? How will the celebrate the beautiful moments? We are helping them to shape this in everything we do.

So celebrate the happy moments, cherish those times when motherhood is easy and beautiful. Then breathe deeply and embrace the hard times too. Find the learnings in them, find the chance to show your child something new, something important. Teach your child how to navigate both sides of this world with grace and gratitude. What an amazing gift to give them.

Gratitude: An uncomplicated, life-changing practice

It’s proven yet so many of us neglect it, disregard it, ignore it. It will make you happier and sleep better. You will become more resilient and forgive easier. You will experience less anxiety, less depression. It is good for your children, good for their teachers, good for their schools. And the effects on your body are just as impressive: stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, reduced symptoms of illness, and more. 

It is simple. It is GRATITUDE.

Yet so many of us overlook this important thing in life, we breeze past it and say we are too busy.

This simple word, this uncomplicated idea is life-changing, and it is such a powerful tool that we need to welcome into our lives and the lives of our little ones. We work so hard to prepare them for the world, to give them the tools they need to grow and thrive. We research and analyze and second guess so many decisions that we make for them. This is an easy one, and this is a powerful one.

So over the next 2 weeks we will be digging into gratitude. We will be diving deep and giving you some amazing tools to use in your life, in your home, in your busy days to come. Stay tuned mama!