When Expectations Don't Meet Reality
I don’t even know if this is possible, but try and think back to a time before you had any babies. Maybe you were pregnant (or your wife was) or waiting for your adopted/foster child. What did you really know about babies, how to take care of them and then how to even raise them? Probably not a whole lot to be honest. Don’t worry I didn’t either even though I’ve worked with children my whole life. But what were your expectations for your baby and what your life was going to be like with that baby?
I’ll tell you what mine were. I expected that of course there would be less sleep happening, but I had no idea what that would feel like. I expected to feel an overwhelming love that was difficult to even talk about, but I didn’t. That took a while (with both my girls). I expected to be able to hire any babysitter that came along, but then had a difficult time leaving baby alone that first time. I expected to have a flexible baby that could go anywhere and travel at the drop of a hat, but in reality I was the one who was inflexible with her nap schedule and became a bit homebound.
I can now consider myself a seasoned mom since my girls are 4.5 and almost 3, and I have realized that it is okay that my expectations don’t meet up with my reality. I love that saying that “everyone is a perfect parent before they have kids” because it is so true! So many times I found myself saying “when I’m a parent I will never (fill in the blank)” or “I will always _____.” Then reality hits and you realize that you are way too tired to have a hot meal waiting for your partner let alone yourself. Having “me time” is nearly impossible and when you do get it, you spend most of the time scrolling through pictures of your baby on your phone and can’t wait to get back to them.
Once I reminded myself what a newborn, infant, and toddler are capable of, I was able to better manage my expectations of what my days and nights would look like. A newborn will wake every 2-3 hours overnight to feed because they need that food to survive and grow. An infant may wake frequently to eat, get a diaper change, need medicine for teething pains, or need a cuddle for separation anxiety. A toddler may wake because their imagination is running wild and is becoming afraid of the dark. Now that I know to expect that, I feel much better about my reality that my girls may need some parenting in the middle of the night and that is okay.
Do you need help aligning your expectations and reality? Our sleep programs not only improve your child’s sleep, but yours as well. Contact us for a complimentary discovery call to see how.
I’d love to hear your expectations versus reality comparisons! Comment below: