Setting expectations as a parent

Have you ever had a vision of what an event would be like but after you experience it, you feel let down, disappointed, or even angry about how it all played out? Have you ever tried to figure out why you've felt that way? Until recently, I was one who was often disappointed or upset after an event and never really took the time to reflect on why it happened.

Through some work I was doing with Nurtured Nest, I decided to create a conservation starter for expecting parents in our childbirth class. lovingly called "pre-baby chats". The idea of the "pre-baby chat" is for expecting parents to connect with their families and their partner to discuss how each person sees the birth event and the days after playing. The idea behind it was to help families understand each other's wants and needs as well as assumptions before the heat of the moment. Ideally, families will come together and create a plan that takes everyone's expectations into account. 

I quickly realized that there were a lot of events in life that could benefit from a "pre-baby chat"

Let's face it, life rarely goes exactly as planned. Events can fall short for a variety of reasons, and it's important to understand why. Here's a few topics to help you form your own version of a "pre-baby chat" in whatever context you need.

1. Unrealistic Expectations

Often, our disappointment stems from having unrealistic expectations. We build up an event in our minds, imagining it to be perfect, only to be let down when reality doesn't match our fantasy. It's important to manage our expectations and remember that flawless events showcased on social media are a mirage.

2. Lack of Communication

The more I learn about brain development and differences, the more I am amazed that humans connect as well as they do. Different humans not only receive and interpret information differently, but they also have different life experiences to compare it to leading to an even wider chance for misinterpretation. It's important to keep these in mind and ensure that you thoughtfully express your desires, needs, and expectations to others involved. Setting the stage that you only want to avoid misunderstandings can help kick off open and honest conversations.

3. Different Perspectives

Each person has their own unique perspective and vision for how an event should unfold. When these perspectives clash, it can lead to disappointment. This is exactly the reason we created the "pre-baby chats" I told you about. I knew first hand how feelings could get hurt when there isn't pre-event communication or a plan in hand. By discussing and understanding each other's viewpoints beforehand, you can find understanding and ideally create a more harmonious event.

4. External Factors

Sometimes, events fall short due to factors beyond our control. Weather, technical difficulties, or unforeseen circumstances can all impact the outcome of an event. While you can't control external factors, you can 100% control your reaction to them.  It can be so hard, but maintaining a flexible mindset can help us all be adaptable and even embrace the imperfection.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling let down after an event, take a moment to reflect on why it happened. Consider your expectations, communicate openly, understand different perspectives, adapt to external factors, and embrace imperfection. By doing so, you'll be better equipped and may even be able to find a bit of joy and knowledge in the process. 

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