When it isn’t What You Expected

Let’s be honest, most of us entered parenting with some set expectations—we had an idea of what our child or children would be like, what family life would be like, and we probably even imagined what sort of parent we would be. It does not take long for most of us to get jerked out of our fantasies and into the real world and then we begin facing the fact that things are just not turning out as we expected…

There are really only two things we can do when we are faced with discovering that life as a parent is not going as we expected—we can fight it and try to get things to where we have always imagined they should be, or we can be resilient and flexible and try to adjust to the realities. Most of us eventually figure out how to do the latter. This might require some creativity on our part, and sometimes we even have to grieve and let go of our expectations. After all, we might have held on to our dream or idea of what our child, our lives, or ourselves would be like for a long time and it is only natural that it will be painful to let it go. Once we have grieved and processed, however, we are faced with the reality that is our lives. We must learn how to love and embrace the real child that we have been blessed with; we have to learn how to cope with the real challenges and strange unpredictable circumstances that have become part of our adventure. This is what living is all about and it is especially what parenting is all about—adjusting to what things are like when we realize it is not at all what we expected!

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