It’s not called the ‘weight’ of expectations for nothing!
Expectations are 'rules' we grow up with.
They create boundaries and provide guidance.
For example you are expected to walk before the age of 12-15 months otherwise this is a clear sign of a problem with development.
You are expected to do your homework, obey the teacher, eat your dinner etc….
Society and families create many expectations to encourage behaviour and growth; for the good of your development and that of the broader community. The general aim is for you to become a functional human being who makes a positive contribution to society.
Then there are individual family differences of expectations based on culture, religion, family structure, birth order, personality etc.
As you entered adolescence you probably rebelled at many/some of these expectations, but you probably also carried many of them into adulthood.
Then you become an adult, and on top of family of origin and society expectations you now have expectations from your work place and expectations from your partner, and maybe your children.
Then comes expectations from schools, sporting clubs, after school activities. The more you are immersed in society, the bigger collection of expectations you are exposed to.
And, if that’s not enough you also have the thick layer of consumer ‘expectations’. In a world where economic growth is still valued above all else we seem to have really internalised the ‘greed is good’ doctrine in our society. You are encouraged to buy, to have more, to be good consumers. It is an insidious expectation.
So, what happens when you step back, when you become the observer, when you listen to your noticing self and see the reality of your expectations?
You can see the ‘shoulds’ and ‘have tos’ for what they really are; they aren’t rules by which you HAVE to live by, they aren’t absolute truths, they are just THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS your mind is holding on to.
By seeing this you can you can CHOOSE to let go of expectations that have no meaning or value for you.
Knowing this you can choose.
You CAN choose to participate in activities that you value, whilst saying NO to things you don’t.
You CAN choose to do things that bring joy to your heart and that of your family.
You CAN choose activities that focus on kindness, gratitude, togetherness.
There is a lot of freedom that comes with being an adult and having so many choices to make.
We might feel the heavy weight of expectations, but when we lose that weight it is not just freeing, it also exposes us and makes it vulnerable.
That is one reason why deciding to choose which expectations you will meet, and which you will leave behind is difficult.
It is your journey.
What expectations weigh on you?
Where do you find enforcing boundaries difficult?
What is most important to you in this world?
If you like this article, if these are questions that stir your soul, if you want to explore these and more issues that impact directly on your wellbeing, you are invited to join my new online Practical Wellbeing – 7 Simple Steps to Self-Care. Click here for more information.
There's one thing that's guaranteed to happen at Christmas...
And what can happen when you wait?
Frustration, impatience. There's so much to do, why can't everyone just hurry up or move quicker.
Well no matter how much you want that to happen, it's probably not going to.
So what can you do?
Believe it or not, this is a great time to practice tapping into your inner calm. Here's one way to practice self-care on the go.
Simply roll your shoulders up and back and take a deep breath, then repeat the breathing. Focus your attention inward to your breath instead of outwards towards what is going on around you.
Yep, that's it - simple, on the go self-care that works.
Until next time, keep it simple and...
Take care of yourself.
Like me, do you feel the need for a pre-Chirstmas sort out?
This is the time of the year I push myself to sort out my house and have a purge. A few years ago, I worked through the Magic of Tidying Up, and I can tell you one thing – you need to keep on top of it.
My family and I have lived in the same house for almost 20 years, and when you don’t move regularly there’s not that huge opportunity to cull.
So, on school holidays, and particularly in November I revisit this. A couple of my aims are to clear a whole bookshelf, one clothes drawer (I have three), and digitalise a filing cabinet drawer.
Here’s some things that can be recycled (not an exhaustive list), but that you can’t put out with your recycle bin:
And paint tins! Both empty and those who some paint in them. I think we have about 20 in the shed.
To find out where you can recycle many of these items have a look at https://recyclingnearyou.com.au and https://www.terracycle.com/en-AU and your local council website.
ps if you're feeling that not just the house, but everything else is getting a bit too much, you may be interested in getting your self care sorted for 2020.
...and shame on society for making it worse.
Maybe like me, you’ve been helping someone to ‘adult’. Taking them by the hand and walking them through bureaucracy, banking and all things that can no longer be avoided.
Welcome, to the big, bad world.
Yesterday we walked away from an encounter with a public service and my fledging adult commented that they really thought when I had reexplained my question clearly that I would get a clear and accurate answer…..
…. But no.
Welcome to bureaucracy I said.
My fledging commented that the people behind the counters looked so grumpy and unhelpful.
‘Yes’ I said.
And, wait we are getting closer to the ‘shame on you’ moment.
We were opening a new bank account. The person helping us was going through the standard questions, and then it took a left turn. They then started asking my fledging about other people in the house.
My trusting, innocent fledging started answering.
At this point I sat forward and said ‘do you need to know this?’ ‘is this a legal requirement?’
I turned to my fledging and said –
You do not have to answer this. This is private information.
So the SHAME on society?
I (naively) thought that we (society) had tightened up the banking industry.
Where is the clarity?
The sentence that says ‘I am going to ask you some questions. These ones we are required to ask you by law; these ones help us contact you and are the minimum we need to manage your account; and these ones are optional’.
I think it’s called….that’s right – informed consent.
Or in this day of letting it all hang out on social media is informed consent still an important concept??
STOP taking advantage of my precious fledgings by bamboozling them; assuming they know things they don’t; and capitalising on their innocence.
The example I have given is just one, out of many I could give.
SHAME on you society. My fledgings are precious and I ask you to help them, acknowledge that they are still developing and not take advantage of them.
When you're a busy mum carrying the bulk of the mental load of running a house, raising children and often outside work as well. It's easy to feel disconnected when you are a busy mum; to feel that the life you are leading isn't quite what you expected; to feel unseen, unheard and not valued.
This wasn't what parenting was meant to feel like. That voice inside your head says "I should be spending more time playing with the children, I should be home earlier, I shouldn't yell, I should be calmer."
When you feel that disconnect from how you would like things to be and how they are - where do you start?
In the video I outline one way you can begin to bridge the connection gap. To increase your sense of being valued and create a renewed sense of self.
ps, This video is the first in a 90 day vlog on Connection. To be a part of the connection movement and reduce isolation in society you are invited to subscribe to receive these vlogs and articles direct to your email box https://mailchi.mp/67ae1ec0bbe0/connections.
I also provide Connections Coaching email Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 15 minute consultation .
I was looking at old home videos today, and I noticed I really miss those days when my children were little and just wanted to be with me.
And, I also remember how isolating many of those days were. How hard it can be responding to unrelenting love and need for attention.
I'm not going to tell you that one day you'll look on those demanding days and miss them, because it doesn't help. Your smart, you know this, but right now in this moment, when you just ache for some time for yourself without the guilt you feel as your youngest child runs down the driveway telling you to come back because they miss you... now is not the time to tell you you'll miss it.
What I can do is help you not carry that guilt that is trying to follow you down the driveway...
Having a child cry that they want you to come back, does not make you a bad mother. Having a child scream that they hate you, does not make you a bad mother. Having a child kick out at you because they don't want to be in their car seat, does not make you a bad mother. Having a child refuse to go to school, does not make you a bad mother. It sure has heck feels like it sometimes though....
I'll let you in on a secret, well it's not really a secret, but it does seem to be something that people don't talk about much.
Some children are more difficult to look after than others.
They're the ones who don't want to go to sleep, who don't want to eat the food you make, who are quick to anger or cry. It doesn't make you love them any less, but they are harder work.
And it's OK to accept this fact.
You may even find that letting go of the idea that it is your fault your children are difficult and accepting what is, helps lessen the feeling of guilt that is following you around..
If this is something you struggle with, we are here to help. Simply call us on 0408533515 or email email@example.com to book a parenting consultation and let us help you move from overwhelm to calm.
ps if you don't have it yet, click here to access your free resource to take the first step to move from Overwhelm to Calm.
I chatted with Nonie Carr, psychologist yesterday about how to manage the stress and anxiety that can accompany doing a VCE performing arts subject.
Being a parent is tough. If you want help in moving from overwhelm to calm, click the below button
Schools are bureaucracies, and like most bureaucracies they run better without consumers.
Bureaucracies aren't designed to create warm, fuzzy feelings or to create heart felt connections. So there is an ongoing challenge there between engagement, interaction, and connection. We know students learn better when they feel welcomed and part of a school community. As do parents. We want to trust our schools, and the teachers who take care of our children. But there is a problem here...
Schools are bureaucracies. They are complex forms of organisations, they have policies and procedures, legal responsibilities, specialised functions, a system of control and a strict chain of command.
Doesn't scream connection does it...
I say this with a clear sense that teachers generally care for their students and want to help them achieve their best. But notwithstanding this.....
I've heard the saying in quite a few of the organisations (not just schools) I have worked for over the years that everything would run so much better if there were not customers / clients / consumers / students.
As a parent navigating the system I know I've found it difficult over the years to understand the 'chain of command', who to speak to about what, who has the responsibility for what? There are sub schools, home group, care group, well being coordinators, subject coordinators, subject leaders, lead teachers as well as a number of different assistant principles and classroom teachers. And your school may have different labels for teachers.
If we can work through the maze of labels and start developing a working relationship we can develop a trust of sorts.
However, don't lose sight of reality.
In the past I have been caught out when I realised that all the school meetings I had attending were not recorded, there were no official minutes being taken, even though notes were being typed up and verbal commitments made.
Don't make the same mistake as me
Schools are bureaucracies. And in a bureaucracy if it isn't written down, it didn't happen.
Insist on official records of meetings. Take notes when you speak with people at the school. Leave an email trail. Create accountability. Because it can be too easy for the caring to get lost and for those fragile connections to be broken.
About the Author. Kim is a private psychologist who loves working collaboratively both online and in real life with other professionals and is passionate about increasing connection in the community.
ps, As a mum there are many things in this parenting journey that can contribute to overwhelm if you are looking for a step from to help reduce the overwhelm and move towards calm here is a handout that may help . https://mailchi.mp/f009b27939b3/fromoverwhelmtocalmthefirststep
Creating connection involves stepping out of our comfort zone, making changes to how we think and what we do. But it is crucial if we are to combat this scourge of loneliness that surrounds us, that contributes to isolation, mental health difficulties and suicide.
So I'm stepping into this mission I have to help you create connections with yourself, others and the greater world. I can't sit by and just accept what is impacting on all of us.
It is through strengthening these connections that we raise the positive energy around us that we all need.
I welcome you to come along on this journey with me.
Today I'm sharing a little video that shows how we can all make a difference, straight away, today with not adding any extra time chores to our list...because we all have way too many as it is.
As a parent, supervising your children to 'get their homework done', particularly if they are a reluctant learner, can be a huge stress in the household.
Teachers set homework and the responsibility for monitoring it, and providing appropriate consequences/support if homework is neglected by the student, lies with them. Also many children, particularly in primary school are overburdened by homework. Taking all this into account my stance has been one of hands off. It is the school and teacher's problem and responsibility, not the parents.
However, experience has shown me that taking a hands off approach tends to result in little effective, response from schools and teachers; students falling behind; and the lack of creation of an appropriate work ethic. Note, that I am referring to Grades 5-6 up.
So, what to do? I always say that everything begins with acceptance...so accept that you are going to need to oversee and help coordinate homework.
Develop your own rhythm depending on your child. Some children who are competent self-starters will need minimal, if any, supervision. Other children will need a consistent routine whereby homework is done in a similar environment each night.
This can be created through making a consistent time, having environmental cues such as starting homework music, laying the table with a homework cloth, setting a timer. And through behavioural chaining - which is linking activities together in a sequence. Eg. 20 minutes outside play, snack, homework, 20 minutes on a game.
What type of homework is beneficial? Well that's a whole other article. But in young children reading - read to them and with them.
Any questions on homework? Ask below or email me. Like to book a parent consultation to talk about this in more depth simple email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0408533515.
Together building calm, confident and connected children.
* My aim is for these posts is meant to useful, interesting and/or inspiring. They are not designed to be used for therapy..
Kim Dunn is a Child Psychologist and Founder of Positive Young Minds.