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Hmmm... WHAT TO EXPECT
“Tell me again how much that watch is that you want,” my husband texted me 4 days before Mother’s Day. I start dropping subtle hints about 1 week in advance of the big day. I knew I was just about to shoot myself in the foot as I texted back, “I checked it out. Too expensive. Don’t worry about it.” 

Men are very literal. If we say, “don’t worry about it,” they don’t. At all! Why was I even remotely shocked when Mother’s Day rolled around, and it became painfully obvious that my husband didn’t worry about it. Even though the watch really was too expensive, I still expected something! I expected him to see through this line of bologna, take this as an opportunity to do whatever he wanted, put some effort into producing a little token of appreciation, and yes, wrap that token himself! And this is precisely where the  wheels start to come off the bus and disaster looms ahead...expectations...

THE EXPECTATION TRAP
Whether we realize it or not, we have expectations about almost everything. We expect our kids to listen, our spouses to appreciate us, to always love motherhood, for the weather to be nicer, for our hair to do what it is supposed to do, yadda, yadda, yadda. Herein lays the problem. We have these expectations, often times without even knowing it, and they can really make a mess of things. Take
for example,  Mother’s Day. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect, I realize I unconsciously expected my husband to say, “Honey, thank you for willingly sacrificing your career, sanity, and social life to raise our children. I know you said not to, but I actually read your mind, figured out exactly what watch it was you wanted, used my bonus from work to buy it, and I wrapped it myself.”

Unrealistic? Perhaps. To my subconscious? No. C’mon, it’s Mother’s Day! This whole day practically sets up our unrealistic expectations for us! When it became painfully apparent there was no card, no watch (yeah, the one I said not to buy), or no pomp and  circumstance, I jumped right on that emotional rollercoaster for the ultimate ride of sadness and self-pity. But as the coaster was climbing its steepest hill, just about to go over the crest and gain its strongest momentum, I stopped the ride. I stepped off. I decided I didn’t want to take that ride that day. I had done it too many times before. I knew how the ride was gonna end.

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Ahhh… ACCEPTANCE
Mindfulness has taught me that I have control…over some things. I can’t control other people. I can’t control situations. And I’m starting to realize how difficult it is to control expectations. But I can control my RESPONSE to these things. 

My mindfulness practice has also taught me if I’m feeling a strong emotion, something’s up. I’m resisting something. The moment I become aware of these emotions is the moment I stop the ride. When I started to feel sad Mother’s Day morning, it was an indication that I was resisting the  “thought” that my husband didn’t appreciate me enough to do something special. At that moment, I realized the only person I was hurting by feeling this badly was myself. I realized that no amount of getting worked up would change reality. All it would do is put me in a funk for the rest of the day. 
 
The thing is, when we step on that rollercoater by reacting to our negative thoughts, we deliberately inflict pain on ourselves. I’ve spent way too many years hurting myself by mindlessly engaging in an emotionally abusive relationship with myself. Ego tried to tempt me a lot that day to step back on that rollercoaster ride. But every time I chose not to respond to its cajoling, I released the hold it had on me.

This is acceptance, mamas. When we recognize our negative reactions and judgments to situations and choose not to get on that coaster, we practice acceptance. Sure, my mind tried to trick me into thinking that I couldn’t possible “accept” the fact that my spouse did nothing for me for Mother’s Day. This was its siren call. However, I’ve learned that “our conditioning would have us believe that not accepting an issue is the same as doing something about it…”(Cheri Huber, When You’re Falling, Dive). But think about what you “do about” a situation that you label unacceptable-- you find someone or something to blame, you rant and rave about the injustice, and get so emotionally worked up you can’t see straight. What does this actually accomplish? Other than make you miserable?


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YOU CONTROL THE RIDE
We all have the power to stop the emotional rollercoaster at any point, but it does take practice. (When you get really good at your practice, you get better about not even setting foot on the coaster in the first place!) When we are standing on solid ground and not screaming our fool heads off on that darn ride, we stay rooted in our True selves. Only goodness flows from this place. Keep standing here, and you’ll find that you allow for wonderful, unexpected, things to happen. That Mother’s Day, when I chose not to indulge in the emotional reaction of my expectations and accepted reality and my husband for what it/he was, I stayed grounded and opened my heart to receive what I desired that day-- love, compassion, and appreciation. The best, most unexpected part was that these gifts came from myself. 

 
 
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As moms, we thrive on being prepared. I swear, it’s in our mothering DNA. Think about how meticulously you prepared for the moment you brought your newborn baby home. When that nesting instinct kicked in, you probably couldn’t stop yourself from cleaning every inch of your house (twice), washing, hanging, and folding all those cute little outfits, and rearranging all essential elements--diapers, wipes, onsies, lotions, and an assortment of creams--in the nursery in just the right place.

Now, think for a moment about why we moms do this. Consider the thoughts that underlie the nesting behavior. We want to create a calm, clean, serene environment for our baby to come home to. And, we want to create a relaxing and peaceful environment for ourselves to come home to. The moment we bring our child home, we want to focus all our attention on our precious miracle, not all that needs to be done around us.

In your moments of preparation, (whether you realized it or not) you were lining up energy for that future event. You were “prepaving” it. Your thoughts and actions in the present moment of nesting were intentionally creating a future event to unfold in the exact manner you envisioned. 


YOU HAVE THE POWER

When we focus our mental energy on what we DO want to occur in the moments in our lives, we become masterful  creators! Think about all the things, circumstances, and moments you  have  already manifested in your life because you focused your mental energy on  creating them. When we realize, 1) we have the power to create the moments in our lives, and, 2) we have knowledge about how to do this, there is nothing we can’t manifest.

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 MASTERFUL MANIFESTING MAMAS

There are countless ways you can apply this powerful concept to mothering and get amazing results. Here are some “moments” in mothering where prepaving really pays off:

*the morning rush
*your response to your child’s meltdown
*the witching hour (5-6 pm)
*responding to your child’s night waking
*nursing
*disciplining your child
*your commute/ shuttling kids to their events (how you want to feel during this down time)
*bath and bedtime (even yours)
*talks with to your teen
*any transition time in the day (nap, bath, bedtime…)

Prepaving is super easy. All you have to do is give yourself a couple seconds (literally, seconds) in the present moment to direct your positive energy about a future event. My favorite time to prepave is right before I go to sleep. After taking some time to be grateful for the events of the day (it’s  essential to prepave from a positive mental state), I focus my mental energy on specific events of the next day. One moment in particular that I’ve been  really prepaving is my response to my daughter’s meltdowns. So at night, I focus  my thoughts (i.e., energy) on what I DO want to happen in this moment when it  occurs the next day ('cause it will). In my mind’s eye, I envision my most  graceful mothering self. I see my daughter starting to melt down, I visualize  myself kneeling down to her level, looking her in the eyes, listening intently  on what she has to say, and then giving her a big hug. Practicing my positive  response in my head paves the way for my response in that moment to be exactly like I energized it to be.



YOUR  PRACTICE

For many of us, focusing on what we don't want to happen  with our kids, our lives, our mothering, etc, has become a bad habit. The first  step to breaking this habit is to deliberately and intentionally focus your  mental energy on what you DO want to happen. Any positive mental energy you put  out, paves the way for your desires to occur. Make "prepaving" part of your  daily mindfulness practice. And never forget that as a woman and a  mother, you are a  masterful creator. You have the power to create your future  reality with the thoughts you think in the present moment.

Moment by  moment we create our lives, our selves, our kids, and our experiences with the  thoughts we think. Harness this power and make it work for you, not against you!