Realistic Expectations

I’ve been thinking about how unrealistic society’s expectations are on babies & children, and the fact that I think that there are some unpleasant consequences.  I mean how confusing is it, to expect a toddler to behave maturely as quickly as possible, but then to be outraged because at 10 they want to be adults!  There was all that hoo-hah about Holly on Britain’s Got Talent, because she was given a second chance at singing (which she rocked, plus the next night – proving that she was a little professional).  Some people seemed to think that at 10, she should have the emotional maturity to understand that ‘there are no second chances’, plus have all the experience of a 40yr old at handling stressful situations – phewy!  It is well known that as humans, we take a very long time to mature and grow physically, emotionally and mentally.  Initially weeks can make a big difference, then it is months, then it is quarters, then six months, eventually years, and finally, there is probably little difference between a 100yr old and a 120yr old!  So there is a big difference between 10, 11, 12 etc.  Plus, each child matures each bit of itself at a different speed.  We can’t expect them to all grow uniformly at the same rate.  Therefore we can’t expect them to all be able to handle the same things at the same age e.g. performing on BGT.

So when you are worrying about your child and what they are or are not doing.  Double check your expectations.

Are you expecting a 6 week old baby to sleep through the night?  Maybe you could do with checking the stats on how many don’t.  Are you irritated by the trantrums of your toddler?  Have you read up on how difficult it is to learn to manage our emotions and ways of helping them?  Is your child refusing to go to bed immediately you tell them too?  Have you explained it to them in terms of what they care about e.g. racing, adventures, reading, cuddles etc or in terms of what you care about i.e. getting them to bed in time to maintain their health and your sanity?  Are you infuriated by a teen who just growls?  Did you know that the wiring in their brain means that they are less capable of recognising emotions in faces than toddlers?

By the way, this rule works for other people as well!  Are you expecting your husband to understand the ramifications of having a baby in the early months?  Sorry, many take at least a year to really get their head around it.  Are you upset because your old friends don’t seem interested in hearing about Poo?  Poo conversations are for your new Mum friends, not the singles!

Having realistic expectations of yourself, your partner, your kids, your friends, your family and your work mates, will make your life so much easier, and much less painful!

How do you do it?

– Knowledge – The internet will tell you anything and be way more up to date than any book.  So if you want to find out about baby/child/teen development, it is there, right at your finger tips.

– Ask people! – Talk to other people and get a fair comparison – then you’ll realise there probably isn’t as much difference as you thought.

– Find out what those people/children value – I’ve just done a podcast about values (see, and am bound to blog about it really soon.  Find out what they like, where they like it, how, why and when.  When you understand someone’s values, you can have realistic expectations.  Because they will always be loyal to their values.

Your Kids Are All As Great As Each Other

So one of the biggest worries for some Mums is whether their child is doing Ok in comparison to other children around them.  Meanwhile, other Mums are full of the fact that they think that their child is better than everyone around them.

But neither of these is possible, and over a number of blogs I hope to show you that all your kids are AS GREAT, but NOT BETTER than each other.

First a story!  I was on holiday, and Max (3yrs) was wandering around the dance floor, chatting to the other kids and investigating the snake, spider (uuurgggh), lizard and skunk that the family entertainer had brought in.  A lovely Mum next to me turned round and said ‘Oh how lovely, your son is so confident.  I look at my little boy who always holds himself back, and worry that he really is a tortured soul’.  I looked at this caring, worried mother and said ‘But does your little boy sleep’?  ‘Oh yes, I’m really lucky, he has always slept through the night, from a very young little boy’.  My answer was ‘Well, Max hasn’t slept through the night in 3yrs, so now which one is the tortured little boy’?

All our kids will be mature, agile, clever, gorgeous etc somewhere.  Just not in the same places.  But if you add up all the places that they are ‘agile’ i.e. quick and secure in getting around, you will find that your child is as ‘agile’ as the next child.  Perhaps more in maths or reading, than on the climbing frame.  Or is your child really well behaved when out in social situations, in comparison to the other child who is considered really ‘mature for his age’, but hates a restaurant.  Maybe their child is a few cm’s taller, but your child gets seen where ever they go because of their sunny disposition?

It’s wise to see your child clearly, as a lovely creature who has both things that they are brilliant and terrible at.  If you worry too much, then you are not seeing both their wonderfulness and you are wasting time and energy.  If you are proudly thinking that you child is better at everything, than others, then you will find a big and rather nasty surprise oneday, when you realise you were ignoring and not helping one of their weaker areas.

A child (just like us adults), just wants to be loved as we are.  Not despite are ‘bad’ bits, but with them.  So love them as they are, and don’t worry about how they compare.  Because if you did a fair (and well investigated) comparison, you would see that they are all perfectly imperfect.

We are the same but different

One of the things that I feel would enormously transform our world today, is if as women, especially Mums, we stood together, allowing and embracing our differences, rather than pulling each other apart.  Becoming a Mum has been the one where I most felt the judgement from around me, and most astonishingly much of it came from the Mums.  Now, I know that whilst some were judging, others were appreciating, and that is the way of the world.  However, I see ahead a potential where Mums learn in their security with each other to hear the wisdom of their own hearts, thus creating a strong foundation for their families to grow from.  And here’s why ….

Whatever happens, we will always have different values.  Thats the point to life, because nature would see no need for us to all be the same.  It’s not wrong to be an attachment parent or a gina ford lover.  They are just a matter of choices.  The most important thing is that we as Mums pick options that work for us (and our families), rather than forcing ourselves to live the way that we ‘should’ do.  There are going to be as many benefits and downsides to all of our strategies, so there really isn’t any need for us to feel better than the next mum.

Plus, if you think that a Mum is disconnected and uncaring because she uses Gina Ford, and it really bothers you, then check out the other areas of your life.  You might not be a Gina Ford with your kids, but you are somewhere.  Perhaps you are a tough boss, who follows a strict schedule and has clear boundaries with your staff.  Or are you sometimes not present with your partner? 

If you think that your local friendly attachment parent, is just weird and freaky and will produce a clinging child, then where are you creating the same thing?  Do you have friends who are always texting or facebooking you?  Do you find that your clients need to be in touch with you all the time and won’t let go?

I have followed attachment parenting, but not because I planned to do so, just because that’s what worked.  I so planned on Max being in his cot and own room by 3 months, it’s just not the way we ended up.  If however, I was a single Mum, having to go back to a full time job, I would totally have relied on a much more scheduled routine.

So what would I love?  I would love to see Mums being true to themselves and what matters to them.  And other Mums backing them up.  Because we are a powerhouse that is needed in this world, and currently we aren’t doing ourselves any favours.  Yes, we don’t currently have much power in society.  However, if we change our own perception of ourselves and our value, then society will change the way that it sees us.

I’ve got loads more to say about this!!!  Keep in touch.