Every Wednesday night I do a Whinypaluza Wednesday video on Facebook Live. This week I did my video on Expectations and have gotten the biggest response. The love and support that poured in from friends about this topic really touched my heart. You see, we all have a lot of expectations on us. Last Sunday morning was a time where I actually admitted this to myself.
Sunday morning I walked into a meeting for my daughter Ella’s Bat Mitzvah. Her Bat Mitzvah isn’t for three years but the Temple likes to meet with parents whose kids are in fourth grade to get us to start to think about it and to choose our date. My son Max’s Bar Mitzvah is next April so his is much more on my brain then Ella’s is.
I have been at my Temple for over 34 years. It is my childhood Temple where I had my Bat Mitzvah. Seth had his Bar Mitzvah there also. It is where Seth and I met and got married. This place holds a very special place in my heart. I don’t stay there only for those reasons. I would like to tell you all about my amazing Rabbi. I don’t think he knows just how special he is to my family and to so many others. I not only stay at Temple because I view it as my special place, but also because of this wonderful man that was running this meeting. First, I want to start by explaining that he is in a similar stage as I am. He has young children and is also starting to think about his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. I love that he gets it. I love that he understands parents and kids and what we go through on a daily basis. I love that he gets that we feel a lot of pressure with a Bar Mitzvah coming. We are all taking on pressure of what the expectation is of having a Bar Mitzvah for our family and friends and that it is the first one on my side of the family.
The Rabbi tells us how different each child is. I am living this! Max doesn’t want a big Bar Mitzvah. He is very upset that I want to give him a big party at night at a nice place with a DJ. He keeps insisting that is not what he wants. Ella on the other hand has dreams about her Bat Mitzvah that are exactly what my vision is. She wants the big fancy party!
Lets go back to Max. Who is his Bar Mitzvah about? Is it about me? Is it about him? I would probably say that it is about Seth and myself and Max. I would also go as far as to say that it is also about the grandparents but Seth and Max will probably disagree with me.
I want to go away from the celebration side of the Bar Mitzvah and go to the Temple Service side.
There are so many options. Seth and I both did a formal Saturday morning service for ours. This is our expectation for our son. This does not mean he needs to fill this expectation but there is that fancy word expectation again. The Rabbi starts to explain in the meeting how many options that there are and how he is willing to work with each kid and what they are comfortable with. I think I had to steady myself at this moment from falling over. Where did this man come from? Could he be any more fabulous? I love this man. He has such a good heart and again I will state that he really gets it.
I know how bright my son is and I expect him to fulfill the full service. Middle school Max will be standing up there on the Bimah. I miss the little boy who would dance the night away. I hope he comes back. Screw what people think and dance like no one is watching Max! You’ve got some good moves!
I was not the only one wrestling with thoughts in this meeting. I was thinking about how my thoughts and my son’s thoughts don’t match for what we want for his Bar Mitzvah. I will tell you that he will probably win as I do feel this is about him. My friend was telling me what her daughter’s expectations are which seem to be more like Ella’s. Everyone started discussing similar feelings. I felt understood and I finally admitted a lot of the feelings about this that I had been in denial about.
For some reason we all decide to take on expectations of us. My husband joked on the video about how he tries to meet my expectations. My daughter started to talk about how she tries to meet my expectations. I am guilty as charged. That was such a good show for me because I realized that just like I was trying to please others they were trying to please me too. I am feeling so badly as I type this that they both feel they don’t meet my expectations. I am doing a lot wrong if they feel that way.
My amazing husband works his butt off daily to make me happy. I know it seems I am not happy this week (our daughter has been sick) but I am so happy! I have a wonderful husband, three really great kids, and three fur babies. My heart is happy and full. I obviously need to communicate this more to my family. My husband takes it so personally if I am in a bad mood. He is doing a great job being my husband. I want him to feel that way so I have a lot of work to do. Seth, I am so thankful to have you as my husband!
My daughter feels like she isn’t meeting up to my expectations so again I am doing a lot wrong. My daughter Ella is a great kid. She is easy going and flexible and sweet and smart and so talented. Wow, I can’t believe I make her feel like she doesn’t meet my expectations. I will tell you why she feels this way. She hates to clean. She hates to brush her hair to my standards. She can say hurtful things to me sometimes. She would tell you that this is why she feels this way. I will work on this. I still want her to clean up her messes and brush her hair! However, I want her to feel good and know that I think she is a fabulous kid. I feel honored to be her mom.
My expectations for my son are crazy and I realized this at his conference. I expect my smart kid to get all high 90’s on his report card. Don’t laugh, but if I see a low 90 I wonder why? His teacher and gifted teacher laughed at me because they get it. They are the same way with their first borns. I will admit to you all that my expectations for Max are completely different then what they are for my girls.
I expect my girls to do their homework and try hard. I don’t blink an eye if Ella brings home a spelling test with a few wrong. If Max had gotten any wrong I would have wondered why. He has shown me how smart he is and what he is capable of so I expect a lot of him. I will tell you that I came out of his conference telling myself that I was putting way too much pressure on him. Why was I being so hard on him? He doesn’t need this kind of pressure! I am sorry Max! This is probably how most of us are with our first borns. My expectations for my youngest child Lillie are completely different from what I expect of Max. How is that fair?
I started to think of the internal expectations I put on myself and what I may think based on my childhood. My mom makes a great dinner every night. I want my family to eat healthy and I want to cook for them but I am not going to meet this expectation every night. My parents clean a lot more then I do. I feel like I am wasting my time when I clean because my kids trash whatever I have done. My words of wisdom in my video and my words of wisdom to everyone reading this is to learn to reject expectations.
How about being a little easier on yourself? Our job is not to please anyone. I would like to see you please yourself but first I would like to see you lower your expectations of yourself! If we lower our expectations of ourselves we will then be able to lower expectations of our loved ones around us trying to make us happy.
I have realized through the years that the lower your expectations are the less you set yourself up for any disappointment. I used to expect a lot more of people. Why? I will tell you why….because I was doing it to myself too.
2019 is the year of doing less, expecting less and being more. Lets have more relaxing, more fun, less doing! Go lower an expectation! Go reject an expectation. Go do something fun!