Ten years ago, I had a lot of expectations of what pregnancy/motherhood would be like.
I expected that I would get pregnant reasonably easily. It took 2 years and IVF.
I expected that a heartbeat at an ultrasound would equal a baby. It doesn’t.
I expected that since childbirth is something women are “built for,” I would bounce right back. I didn’t.
I expected that breastfeeding would come naturally and be easy. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Anyway, you get the point. In the game of expectation versus reality, I lose. Every time.
The point of all of this is that my daughter—the light of my life—the center of my universe—the miracle that I went to hell and back to give life to—still can’t sleep for shit.
I expected sleepless nights. I did. I remember hanging out with my 4-week old baby in the middle of the night while she frolicked happily in her swing and I propped my eyelids open with toothpicks and feeling like it was okay because this is how it’s supposed to be. Tiny babies don’t sleep through the night. I can handle that. And I did handle it.
Then, I went back to work and had a nervous breakdown because it turns out that it’s really hard to function in the corporate world when you’ve been sleeping in two hour increments for 16 weeks.
Ten months later, I am still getting up with this child 3-4 times a night. Then I get up and head to work so I can adult for 8 hours. And then I come home, feed my family, play with my child, put her to bed and start the whole process all over again a few hours later.
This was not my expectation. Not at all. At this stage in the game, I anticipated a kid who slept through the night and that I would somehow be a model employee and a parenting magazine cover-worthy mother while also maintaining my status as a kick ass wife.
Hello reality. Meet my bitchslap.
I have given up on sleep. I have given up on parenting magazine covers. I have given up on ladder-climbing (I’ll just doze here on my current rung for a bit). I’m actually working a bit on the wife part, but let’s face it—kick ass is probably a level I won’t be reaching anytime soon.
I think I’ve reached a point in my life where it’s time to start lowering my expectations. A lot. At 25, it’s healthy to have high expectations—but if I don’t lower that damn bar a bit at 35, I’m just going to end up with a broken hip and arthritis.
So here we go. My new batch of lowered expectations:
Screw sleeping through the night. I expect that my child will wake up at least 3 times after 11 pm.
Screw losing the baby weight. I expect that my jeans will be tight because I am using sugar as a crutch.
Screw being a model employee. I expect that I will be late 4/5 days a week.
Screw the healthy organic food for my toddler. I expect that my child will refuse to eat the meals I have lovingly spent hours prepping and accept that there may just be a crap ton of frozen pancakes in my future.
Screw having a social life. I expect that I will continue to dodge social obligations out of sheer exhaustion indefinitely.