The best advice I received when I first became a mother was from my own mother. She told me to have no expectations. It is amazing how much that helped me and I now pass that on to other new and experienced mothers.
I remember when she told me that over the phone. She had just been gone a few days after having helped for two and half weeks after my little man was born. It was exactly two days after my in-laws had left and my husband was back at work. It was the second day of me being mom to a newborn all on my own. I was still sitting in my bathrobe and probably had cried once or twice because the day wasn’t going anything like I wanted it. That is when she said to have no expectations for my little man and to make sure to take care of myself (aka get dressed and feel normal).
I am by nature and profession a planner. My career before moving to Washington was a event coordinator for a destination management company. It was what I found was a passion of mine. But I held fast to my mom’s advice of to have no expectations. That meant not to expect David to eat on set schedule or nap or cooperate with whatever I want. It was better to go with what he wanted. And to my surprise I was a better mother and he was happier when I had no plans.
Now that didn’t mean I did nothing. We had appointments to go to, we had Bible Study and MOPs, and still made playdates. But if it was a necessity to get to then we might skip it or we would show up late. Or I learned to adjust depending on David. Sometimes I arrived just a bit too early to MOPs so I could feed David because the choice was be early or late. And if David wanted to eat an hour after just nursing him I went with it.
I did have to remind myself during the times of frustration to let go of my expectations and it helped. I wasn’t and probably won’t be perfect with keeping no expectations but when I am having a difficult time I check myself to see if I have any expectations. So David doesn’t have a set schedule. In the past few months he has been consistently going to bed by 8pm but he put himself on that schedule shortly before 3 months. That is why I still get up at night to feed him on demand because we both tend to get better sleep and I don’t have an expectation that he sleep through the night yet.
Added piece of advice: continue the no expectations into other areas of your life such as spouse, parents, friends, etc. It makes all of life just a little smoother.