Expectations Suck

Anna got out of the car this morning and headed into school limp and broken-hearted.  She didn’t start out that way.  She was bright-eyed and happy and chatty when she woke up.  The soul crush was delivered by me.  I was putting her report card into her book bag when I noticed all her art work crumpled up and shoved in between books, and some at the very bottom of the bag.

I did the mom spazz and gave her a ration of shit the size of Texas.

Some of my words were:  ridiculous, disappointed, you may as well have put them in the trash, how are we supposed to hang these or frame them?

She stood there paralyzed, and we stared at each other while I waited for an explanation for this DEFCON 5 catastrophic art destruction.

“I only liked the Gluten Boy one.  Look Mom, it’s not wrinkled.”

Like every ass hole parent committed to standing their ground, all I said was, “well, hurry up and get in the car before you’re late.”

On the way home the good parent in me thought:

It’s paper.  Who gives a shit?  It’s still in one piece, it will still go in her Art box, and when was the last time we hung or framed a piece of her art work anyway?  It’s still beautiful I bet, which I would have known to be true if I had spent a fraction of the time admiring her creativity as I had admonishing her for not delivering it home in Smithsonian condition.

Then I thought about the people I know from a distance who have children with physical challenges.  If and when their children are able to put a piece of paper into a book bag, and zip it back up again, no matter how crinkled it was, they would be filled with overwhelming gratitude and hope.

I wish I had thought of that this morning before I said those dumb words with my mean mouth.  I also wish I had remembered to congratulate her again for earning straight A’s, and “excellent” across the board for her conduct in the classroom.

More than anything, I wish I hadn’t sucked the life out of her with a completely unnecessary expectation.

And now, on the heels of that charming display of love and affection, I’m taking my bunny to his 9:30am appt. to have his balls removed.

I’m awesome.


  1. I relate to this. All of it. The smushed art, the yelling, the feeling low because I am the person who took the wind out of my kids’ sails. It kills me inside. And also? It’s probably ok so long as I can have an honest conversation on the back end. The conversations where I say, “Wow. Mommy was really angry and I am not sure I expressed that in the best way. DO you want to talk about it? HOw did you feel?” All that jazz. I don’t think my kids need me to be perfect, but we need to have a way to talk about the imperfections— esp mine.

    • Thank you for that. I usually catch myself and say, “wow I need to change my attitude – it’s really not that deep is it?” She’s smiles and says, “no Mommy – it’s not that deep,” and we laugh, hug it out and start over. Today I’m tripping on cutting off my bunny’s balls so I wasn’t as level-headed. Which sucks, because now I have to wait until the end of the day to say I’m sorry : (. Thanks again for your comment. I really appreciate you.

  2. Wah. My comment got erased. Let’s just say I totally relate and it’s ok to have these moments with our kids. Or I hope so b/c I have them. I let my kids know they are allowed to talk about how it makes them feel and to be angry with me. I own my part. What else can we do?

  3. Miss Molly says:

    Oh, hon, this broke my heart – as much for you as for your daughter. I’m now a grammy but moments like the one you describe still haunt me from the time my daughters were little. Somebody once said we all have a “garden of guilt” and moms have the biggest gardens! Can you get that one drawing framed today so she’ll see it when she comes home? Or just hang it without the frame. With a blue ribbon on it…One of my daughters, now older than you I’m pretty sure, tells me the best thing to say is just “You’re my kid and I love you.” With a hug. Sending a hug for you…

  4. sirensway says:

    Thank goodness I have small feet due to the number of times I’ve had to extract them from my ass after epically failing in the art of communicating with my seven year old son.
    I get it. I really do. And I promise that you have helped build her confidence so majestically, that this morning’s events won’t settle into get skin. Now breathe and get ready for your castrated pup to return with his tail wagging.

  5. OH man…can I relate to this. There is not a parent alive who has not had these moments and if they say they haven’t, they’re lying. Thank you for sharing. Big hugs to you. Been there. Will probably be there again.

  6. Lol, I’m the king of saying things to my baby girl that I later regret. I sometimes forget that she’s 9, not 29 because she’s so mature or something. Still, it’s good to keep them on their toes so they’ll never know when our crazy will rear it’s ugly head.

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