Monday, May 9, 2011

Unrealistic Expectations

I have found that when I have unrealistic expectations, I get disproportionally disappointed.  I primarily speak the love language of gifts.  This doesn't mean that I require expensive baubles or overpriced flowers.  On the contrary, it means that gifts I give are *hopefully* thoughtful.  And I'd like to think that those closest to me know that I like to receive tokens of their thoughtfulness. 

like when my friend gave me "Happy Due Date" Flowers when baby #4 was staying put and another friend who sent a card with kind words and coupons I needed. 

or like when my husband brought me that cinnamon muffin from The Kettle in Enumclaw when I thought he was just going to renew our license plates.  

or like when Seth (age 4 1/2) brings me dandelions from the yard.

or when Korynne (age 3 1/2) offers to wipe off the table.

These are not extravagant gestures, but they indicate to me that I am special or important or at least thought of by people that I care about. 

So when Hallmark holidays (like Valentine's Day or Mother's Day) roll around, it's nigh impossible for me to put my expectations asunder.  I have them.  I try so hard not to.  I would love for my husband to make breakfast and bring it to me in bed with a flower and something shiny in a blue box.

But I'm not a movie star and my life is not on the big screen.  My life is pretty average.  Sure, we have a lot of small children and that sort of makes us stand out at the grocery store, but otherwise I am not extraordinary... to you or the general public.  I would however, like to be occasionally regarded by my family and those closest to me.  I want them to know me well enough to know that I like flowers for my garden, I like good chocolate, and I have all the kitchen gadgets I need (and any more I need I'll get at Fred Meyer's bogo sale this week).  I want them to know that a quiet afternoon in my own home is a gift, someone else doing the dishes does not go unnoticed, and that the floor does need to be vacuumed... again. 

So what am I waxing philosophically about?  Well, our culture sets up unrealistic expectations.  Seriously... did anyone get breakfast in bed and a little blue box on Mother's Day... or any other day for that matter?  Why do I, as a stay at home Mom, expect my husband, the sole income for our family, to drop a hunk of change on a blue box?  Why do I want him to be distracted from his God-given responsibility of taking care of his family?  After all, he's given me shelter, money to buy groceries, and a vehicle to get around in.  I wanted to be a Mom and he's given me 4 beautiful children and the means to clothe them. 

And don't for one second think that I don't feel loved and appreciated... 

When he comes home exhausted from working 60+ hours with knuckles bloodied from the day's tasks AND kisses me like he kissed me that first time almost 9 years ago AND converses with me over a meal AND plays with our children AND fertilizes the grass, I feel loved and appreciated.  I feel loved and appreciated 99.998% of the time (if only the laundry was always in the hamper). 

Is it possible that requiring men to be 
good gift givers 
ballroom dancers
diaper changers
Sunday morning chefs
emasculates them?

Going one step further, will I teach my sons that they are not good husbands unless they buy into the culture's idea of consumerism and permit their wives to be lazy?  I think not.

Disclaimer:  If you are a Father and did not show some form of appreciation to the Mother of your child(ren) on Mother's Day (which was yesterday, May 8, 2011), go directly to the store to buy her favorite (chocolate, flowers, coffee, whatever) and give it to your wife as a peace offering.  Tell her that you appreciate her everyday, not just on Mother's Day.  That should help. 


  1. Thank you Clara. I just read this as part if my "ordinary" day while I sit in the school pick up lane. You are such a JOY to me and I am so blessed to know you. What an encouragement this post was to me today as the wife of another hard working-- knuckle bleeding husband who woke up at 4 am today to drive 13 hours away from us to provide for us. I know it was painful for him.
    Even if you feel ordinary, isn't it awesome to know that God sees you as extraordinary?

  2. Well, I second what Jane said. God and I think you're extraordinary. :) AND, it's good to know your love language is Gift Giving.... Gifts are my thing, too, which is why I still think about that goodie bag you gave me when I watched your adorable children. Thanks! AND my boys treated me very well on Mother's Day. I am very blessed.

    PS I feel I sorta missed out recently, when we all met at Jane's for a playdate when I was gonna come to your place. I want you all to myself! So, I think we should reschedule. :)

  3. Clara I appreciate your post. My love language is nowhere near gift giving or receiving so I am glad that you posted this as it gave me pause for thought.
    I now have to re-think the importance of gifts. Since they're not my love language, I often neglect/forget that part of a relationship with everyone from my husband to my friends. But maybe in doing so I am ignoring their needs and wishes and how they would like to feel loved.