on lowering your expectations

like with regards to how clean the kitchen should be. or how much school needs to get done in ONE day. or with dresscodes.

tight high-water pants are in style when you’re 5, right? especially when accompanied by red rubber gardening gloves and rubber boots. i almost think people expect that from us homeschoolers. like it’s ok that we go out in public this way because, well, “they do homeschool.”

or what about when somebody drops by for an unexpected visit and every pan is dirty. they must understand that we had to make that pumpkin spice bread because it is the first day of fall. and what better way is there to learn about the letter S than by using spices. besides i ran out of dishsoap and didn’t want to make a special trip just for one thing. especially when i knew i had forty-two millinon errands to run this afternoon.

i cried off and on a lot today. i don’t normally do that. and i don’t even know why i am admitting it out loud.

i cried a lot because it was one of those days when i wasn’t at ease. i felt panicky and overwhelmed. i hate bioglogy and geometry. i don’t want to teach it. not to someone who asks me if he can get a tongue piercing right before we prayed the rosary. i mean it. we were all seated together. rosaries in hand and this brat asks me if he can pierce either his tongue or his chin. i had to hold myself back from going directly to the kitchen for the ice pick. (please don’t call cps on me. we really don’t even own an ice pick.)

and so today i am resenting motherhood. and i am resenting that i am resenting.

this really is a rant. and you should ignore me.

i think i became a little bit panicky yesterday after a very dear friend called me to ask for prayers for a friend of hers. she thinks i am some sort of prayer warrior *scoff*. when really i am just a big chicken. anyway, turns out this friend has terminal cancer. probably just 3 months to live. my hands shake just typing those words.  this friend probably wouldn’t want to harm her teenager the way i do. she just wants to hold her children as tight as she can before she has to let go. for good.

imagine penciling that into your planner. first day of fall. trip to the pumpkin patch. thanksgiving. first sunday of advent. death………

but isn’t that really what a life of faith is all about. and motherhood. letting go. and letting God.

three months to live sounds like a death sentence. but then again, without any real certainty, none of us knows the hour or the day. of our hour. or our day.

so don’t listen to me. don’t resent motherhood. and don’t bake pumpkin chocolate chip spice bread. at least using my recipe. i didn’t care for it. maybe it was because i used nutmeg instead of all spice. silly me.

and do stay away from ice picks and the like. love your children. pray the rosary. every. day. and enjoy life. it is so precious.

because i think God’s expectations are much lower than we think.

ps. i mean regarding dishes. wrinkled tablecloths. and rubber boots and such.




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13 thoughts on “on lowering your expectations

  1. When you are the weakest is when you need to be the strongest when it comes to your teenager. My son still wants to do strange things like that to himself, but we say no consistently. I’ve stopped explaining and just say “NO”. I may sometimes add, “When you are eighteen and earning a living, you can pierce and tattoo your arse to China and back, but not on my watch!” Some day, he may do these things to his body, but he won’t while he’s on my watch. I can sleep at night. If he sneaks off and does any of it, boy it’s going to hurt like heckola when I rip out the “ring” or “burn off” the markings. I won’t apologize either. And, you know, after a while, they do stop asking, pleading, and driving you nuts. Once, I had to ask him if he loved himself . . . does he love and respect our rules/wishes. It’s not easy to hear the answers, but it gets him talking. They want to fit in and be like everyone else and yet, they want to be unique! It’s not baffling or anything new . . . I once walked in those tortuous shoes of being a teen . . . I was left to make many decisions on my own and I hit the legal age wondering how I got there so fast. They’ll get there IF we make sure they do – so be the mom. Hang in there. And, imagine this old mamma giving you a HUGEST HUG evah!!

  2. Oh, and I regret the two extra piercings on my left ear . . .it garnered me nothing but lezzie-be-friends questions (yuckola). And, I still do not have a tattoo. However, I feel old enough to get one now. I may get a HI themed one to remember being here, but if I chicken out I’ll probably end up with a tiny black dot. 🙂

  3. You could call the show “worlds strictest parents” or something. He he he.

  4. Powerfully beautiful. Thank you.

  5. What a wonderful post, Regan. You’re my girl! These feelings mirror my own–hating that I can’t be all that I want to be, getting weepy and/or crabby about it, despairing that my kids are never going to become holy and neither am I, feeling like a big impostor and hypocrite, and occasionally realizing that either my children or I may not be here tomorrow and clinging with all that I am to them.

    Like your photos, which often just show a close-up view of something very ordinary and make it appear extraordinary, your post did the same. Life is a great mass of tiny moments, each of them very large when looked at under a microscope. Sometimes overwhelmingly so. We have to extract the beauty of each moment, if we can find it.

  6. Feeling for you. The last few days have been a trial for me also. The trials ebb and flow, don’t they? We just don’t know enough to feel the grace when it comes. We must have the sorrow to appreciate the grace.

    Last year college boy texted me and said he was thinking about getting his lip pierced. He pierced my heart with that one thought. I handed his dad the phone and said I could not/would not deal with it. Thank God his dad can. My husband told my son that he had caused me much anguish. I think he needed to know that — his actions have consequences, besides the obvious ones to his person. I find that my children need to know that their actions affect me, and other people, emotionally. They need to know they can hurt.

  7. What an honest and beautiful post. There are those days when I wake up feeling defeated; when the house is outrageously messy and I know that means someone will stop by; when an entire container of juice spills instead of just a glass and I run to bathroom and cry; when I say something ugly to a child that they are old enough to remember always; when I feel like I am a failure as a wife, mother, teacher and friend.

    You speak so beautifully to our failures of action and of heart. We are, after all, just God’s little girls. He loves us with unspeakable intensity and gladly mops up our spills. Your photos really speak to the simplicity of His beautiful gifts.

  8. Thanks for this post. It really does make me feel less lonely. I have such a hard time writing what I really feel because I have family members who read my blog. If they really knew…. I’ve tried talking in person, it just doesn’t work right now. It’s been a steady, daily prayer to God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Mother Mary to help me through this time. Darn pregnancy hormones!

    We have been saying the rosary – thank you so much for the time-line suggestion – but ‘my’ attitude hasn’t been the best. At least, we are praying.

    Yesterday, I even contemplated a ‘mom strike’. I’d just stop.doing.what.I.do.every.day. It’s so appealing, but I’d need to not be in the house to see the disaster and then, who would end up cleaning it up anyway???

  9. Life is a gift. It also has its trials and we are just human. You are human!! I am not a super mom at all. I just love. I feel called to love and serve. And pray.

    I pray my kids will never ever ask me permission for any tatoos etc…

    Keep praying and I am thinking of you.

  10. First of all, great post and we have ALL been there, believe me, I believe whether certain mothers admit it or not, we have ALL been there!

    Just this week, when yelling at someone to do something I’d told them to do at least 4 times that day, I said to myself “I hate my life” Then asked myself, “You really hate your life?” “Really?”

    Truth is I do not hate my life, I love my life and would not like to change one thing…well, except for the kiddos to listen the first time I tell them something!

    I love my life, as I think you do, we just have anger and get mad sometimes and have all these feelings!!

    On a side note about piercings: My little brother, now 22, had his ears pierced, the really big holes kind (and his tongue which he let grow shut right away) the very same day he moved out of mom and dads home….well, I saw him last week and he had just come from a plastic surgeon’s office and has an appt this week to have his ears sewn shut, then I guess, the stitches dissolve and he will have normal ears again! I asked him if he took pictures so he can show his kids someday what not to do? He smiled a little grin at me and said he had. Kind of funny…at least from a sister’s point of view! My mom is very happy now though!

  11. great post. i think you are swell!

  12. I LIKE jamie’s comment about her brother! LOL – food for thought, huh? at least for those who think that’s a great juvinile idea!

    you are the bee’s knees my dear, the. bee’s. KNEES!!!!

    you need to be PAID for your creative photographic eye! your photos amaze me [went to your flickr acct! – oh, and saw my giveaway there too 🙂 ]

  13. Prayers for you, dear Regan…peace, my sister…no one who loves you will judge you, nor measure you by this day, nor the ones yet to come.

    Good, bad, up, down. That’s the life of faith. All days glorify God, though sometimes it’s easier to see the glory in the rainbow, rather than the flood.

    You are precious. Thanks for sharing your heart…

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