Hey, Cristy from DoubleKnotted—you won the essential oil giveaway. Email me at camille(at)archiveslives(dot)com with your address so I can pass it along to Jami who can pass along the bottle of lavender goodness to you.
My mother-in-law gave me some advice before I married her son.
“The most useful tip I can give you for navigating your new life as a wife and (potentially) a mother,” she said, “is this: LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS.”
Lower my expectations for my husband, for my children, for my life.
Blushing young bride that I was—a child, really—full of innocence and naiveté, I hated and scorned this advice. Naturally.
Lower my expectations? What a miserable way to live—I like my expectations! They’re hopeful. And nice. With any luck, my life will turn out exactly according to my shiny little plans.
Still, I was impressionable enough that her advice planted little niggling seeds of doubt in my cock-eyed optimism. A few months into my new life as a wife, I discovered that my expectations were kind of…well…high. And even though I was confident that they were high for good reason (i.e. giving my husband something to work toward), I couldn’t help but wonder how much more peaceful our lives would be if my expectations were a little more down-to-earth:
What if she’s right? Maybe I should lower my expectations. If I expect that Poor Kyle will get home from work at 10:00 p.m. instead of 5:30 on the dot, then I won’t be sad when he saunters in at 6:45.
My friends, it has now been almost exactly three years since our wedding day, and I am happy to announce that, just as I suspected, my mother-in-law was wrong.
Wrong, wrong, WRONG.
I don’t need to lower my expectations…
…I need to CRUSH them.
Send them through the wood-chipper and throw them in the trough for the pigs to eat for Sunday brunch.
Because if I expect that Poor Kyle will be home from work at 10:00, there’s always the possibility that he might not be home until 11.
BUT if I expect that he will run away with his mistress and never come home at all, then any time I see his truck pull up in the driveway will be a delightful little surprise.
This concept applies nicely to other aspects of my life beyond just marriage, too. It’s so versatile that way. Watch how easy:
If I expect that tomorrow will be a good day, and it turns out to be bad, I’ll just be disappointed. And if I lower my expectations as per my mother-in-law’s (crappy) advice, and expect that tomorrow will be lousy, there’s still a chance that it could be worse than I expected.
But, if I completely destroy any glimmer of hope that tomorrow will even EXIST, then simply waking up will be a treat.
I could hope that my car will start in the morning, but think how depressed I could be if it doesn’t! Instead, why not assume that my car will be stolen during the night, so that the very sight of it still in the driveway when I start my day will cheer me along my way? What, George Jettson, you’re still here? Bonus!
Forget expecting that dinner will taste good. Don’t even bother expecting it to taste like feet, because there’s always the chance that they could be the decomposing feet of a dead man. Instead, go ahead and assume that you will never eat again, so no matter how much you bungle the cordon bleu, it will still be manna in your eyes.
It’s a simple theory, and I could hope that you will all follow my lead and try it for yourselves, but that would be an unkind assumption to saddle on myself, since I know you’ve all died and there’s nobody actually reading this blog anymore.