Great Expectations, Norman Rockwell and Boogers

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I love being a mom.

I love spending time with my kids and hanging out as a family. 

Like, crazy love, to the point where I used to ruin things.

I had a very bad habit of putting these HUGE expectations on myself and on my family.

I would get all these ideas in my head about events and occasions and how they are going to go.

I would plan fun activities, vacations, holiday breaks with SO much expectation!

In my mind, no one was going to fight, cry or complain.

In my mind, the kids wanted to hang out together, wanted to spend time with me and they wanted to do the activity I have planned for them.

In my mind, it always looked like a Norman Rockwell painting, with everyone smiling and everything going perfectly........and there were NO boogers.

But, those were MY expectations about how I wanted things to go......

But in reality, it would look more like this:

I finally figured out that kids fight, things get changed, my activity might be lame, my husband might get home late, cookies sometimes burn, someone might cry, or vomit, and there could be boogers! Always with the boogers!

Then, I ended up feeling like a failure because my little family holiday activity didn't turn out like "Suzy's" who blogged about this great activity she did with her kids. Her kids were SO happy. They were falling all over themselves saying "Thank YOU!" And after, they all widdled their own soap. 

My vacation didn't turn out like "Molly's" who plastered pictures all over Facebook with her kids smiling and playing together on the beach while she served all organic Pinterest dishes at mealtimes. Her kids held hands and frolicked on hikes up famous mountains that she did history lessons on the top of. Oh, and can I point out that "Molly" is wearing a bikini, and has perfect teeth? Blah.

My kids are great, don't misunderstand me....but they are real kids. They fight, they argue, they make HUGE messes and they don't always want to do the ridiculous things that their mom wants them to do. 

And me? Oh, heavens! I have to say, my house is like a circus with all sorts of extra people coming and going.....dogs and lizards getting lose, I wear sweat pants WAY more days of the week than I actually sweat and I have been known to sneak a load of laundry in the neighbor's dryer while they are away. And, while I am there, if I am out of eggs....well, you get the picture. 

(Discloser neighbors have the code to my garage and my house is open to them at anytime, for anything. But, I just realized that I may want to check and make sure that the feeling is mutual. ) 

A few years ago, I vowed to change. I promised myself that I would let all the expectations for fun go........I was not going to beat myself up when things didn't turn out perfect and decided to look for the goofy of it all! 

We are a real family, full of real people, who fight, cry, and laugh, ALOT! 

I just decided to expect the crazy, because in my family, it just seems to happen!

When we spend the afternoon on the boat and picnic at a beach nearby.....I expect that our dog is going to eat half the fried chicken before we get there. I expect that at least one lawn chair is going to fly out of the boat on the way to the beach and our old boat may possibly break down in the middle of the lake, right before a storm. 

When we go on family vacations, I expect that my kids are going to fight over who sleeps in the hotel bed closest to the window, my husband and I will "disagree" on whether we should have the T.V. on in the hotel room THE ENTIRE time we are there and that my kids won't LOVE the 5 museums I want to take them to. I expect that someone will forget their toothbrush and try to "borrow" someone elses, that my husband will assume I packed clothes for him when I didn't and that he will spend the entire week wearing the same outfit. 

When we take family pictures, I expect that someone will spill mustard all over their shirt before we get there, someone will have their eyes closed in every picture and quite possibly, the photographer might fall in a man hole on the way there and not show up after I spent a full week shopping for coordinating outfits and getting haircuts. History shows that I MAY look down and realize mid shoot that I am wearing two different shoes. 

BUT, in these moments, we are a real family. And no matter what, as long as we are together, and can laugh about it later, it exceeded any expectations I could ever have!

I am learning, that the best moments are the ones that are unplanned. There are no plans and no expectations. My kids seem more relaxed and enjoy each other more.

Like when my son got up early last Saturday morning, woke up his little sister and they played play dough together for two hours. I could hear them talking about all the things coming up that week, and it melted my heart.

Or when my two oldest play an impromptu game of frisbee in the back yard and I can hear them laughing while I am burning making dinner.

Those moments are the ones I will probably treasure when these crazy kids are grown. I assume I will forget the fighting, the crying, the craziness and the boogers.

Or, better yet, I will yearn for those things........well, okay, not the boogers!

I wonder in my mind if all these memories will seem more like the Norman Rockwell picture.....

Not because we have perfect vacations, perfect holidays, or perfect family pictures but because they are the perfect family for me, and I wouldn't have the craziness any other way...........