Great Expectations: Reality of Motherhood

Originally published May 2018.

Great Expectations of motherhood
I heard from a few mom friends this year that Mother’s Day was not quite what they expected. We all know that Mother’s Day is hard for a lot of people – those who have lost their mothers, who aren’t speaking to their mothers or never knew their mothers, single moms who are struggling to keep it together and so many others.

These weren’t extreme cases like those but moms who just needed a little bit of a break and needed to feel a little appreciation. They didn’t need huge gestures and expensive gifts but probably had a vision of breakfast in bed made by their partners. A lovely bud vase on the tray. A hot cup of coffee and a meal that you get to eat before the eggs are cold and stuck on the plate for once. Pure. Bliss.

Instead, your little ones woke you up before the crack of dawn while your significant other slept soundly and you spent the wee small hours of the morning being the cruise director and cook for the kids while trying to find the time to fix a bowl of cereal for yourself.

It’s pretty much the way motherhood goes.

We have expectations about so many things – what pregnancy and the birth experience will be like, what kind of mothers we will be, what our little ones will be like.

Let’s face it, we all have a little Clark Griswold syndrome. This event, day, family gathering, outfit, meal, photo, etc., is going to be so amazing the family will talk about it for years! We are creating memories that will last a lifetime! These are critically important developmental years and we are SHAPING YOUNG MINDS!

We put so much pressure on ourselves for being responsible for everyone else’s experiences that when reality crashes the party, it’s quite a rude awakening.

There’s a stain on the photo-ready outfit, a big #fail on that awesome Pinterest craft you were trying, cold coffee on Mother’s Day morning. Our expectations haven’t been met and we feel like we should have done better or maybe we are frustrated when our efforts seem unappreciated.

Happy Mother’s Day drawing Gulf coast mom 2I don’t have the perfect answer, but I want us to challenge ourselves, not to lower our expectations, but to find joy in the things we didn’t expect in the first place. Maybe that beautiful tray of breakfast never came, but you got a beautiful bouquet of flowers mixed with weeds and a little dirt or a picture your little one drew of the two of you, complete with spaghetti-like hair and gigantic eyeballs. Or you got a chubby little finger curled around yours while you rocked them off to sleep.

Those are the moments we will remember in the end. Those are the things that will mean the most to us when we look back one day on these first years. The baby sighs, the sloppy kisses. And those always exceed expectations.

Since we are talking about expectations and reality, I wanted to share a few of the things that have been slightly (if slightly means completely) different than I expected.

My expectation
We are going to cloth diaper!

The reality
The daycare wouldn’t allow it. My husband was … not a fan and we live in an area that doesn’t have a diaper service that made it more manageable for my favorite city-dwelling mommy bloggers.

My expectation
I am going to baby wear!

The reality
He hated it. HATED! But still wanted to be held at all times. Just not in any kind of convenient hands-free contraption.

My expectation
I am going to make all of his baby food!

The reality
But it conveniently comes in these little jars.

My expectation
It’s a boy! Get ready for days at the (insert sport here) field!

The reality
He loves dance and we spend weekends at dance competitions.

My expectation
He will love to read as much as I do!

The reality
Yeah, books are okay but MATH!

My expectation
I wasn’t a picky eater and I am going to raise him to eat everything!

The reality
So, do you want a taco or chicken nuggets tonight?

What about you? What are some of the biggest departures between expectations and reality you have faced since becoming a mom?


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April is a Mississippi native and has been a Coast resident since 2000. She and her husband, Neil, were married in 2001. In 2010, they welcomed their one and only child, Vaught, to the world and have been trying to keep up with his boundless energy and creativity ever since. April is a communications director at a local company and spends her time outside of work being a dancer’s mom, a football coach’s wife, an occasional blogger and an avid reader. She is not afraid of a dance floor or a karaoke machine, but only if they have the Beastie Boys. She is a Ravenclaw and Carrie Fisher is her hero. She is constantly narrating life in her head so, if you have ever met, there is a good chance you are a character in the story she is mentally writing.


  1. April, this is all so true. Thank you for sharing. I would have to say for us, being disappointed that we can’t handle a crazy schedule of sports, clubs, homework, healthy eating and getting to bed early as I had imagined. It turns into take out or a quick 20 minutes of cooking and shove down your throat dinner, keeping their uniforms and equipment in the back of the car, homework done on line waiting to be picked up from school and racing to bed 45 minutes late. Oh well, we tried and it just wasn’t for our family.

    • I feel you! And I only have one to keep up with! I really do want to do better with healthy eating and have been just failing miserably. I try to remind myself that I can try again tomorrow. The good thing is that even if we feel like we aren’t doing it all perfectly, we know our kids are loved. Even if they are eating Chick-fil-A. Again.

  2. I love this, April! My Mother’s Day was pretty perfect thanks to the hubs… complete with breakfast tray AND pictures. Haha! But every OTHER day I know exactly what you mean about expectations not being met. I always look forward to the evenings where the family sits quietly and enjoys quality time together. But most of the time it’s full of chaos and kids yelling then parents yelling to stop yelling. Haha! But I know one day they’ll be grown up, and the house will be silent. So I try to be thankful no matter what. Excited to keep up with your blog!

    • Brooke, I am in constant awe of you and Bill and all you do for your business and your family. You are my hero. And not because you are perfect but because you make the most of every moment – the good and the bad.

  3. FANTASTIC! Love the blog and wisdom. My motto is “we are who we are”…we might wish our children excelled in everything we want them to but the reality is they are who they are. Love unconditionally!

  4. This is mommyhood truth! Way too many times I have all of these expectations and honestly they’re not huge magnificent expectations, just a little higher than what really ever occurs. You described my Mother’s Day morning perfectly though. I was hoping for a morning of sleeping in when instead my kids woke up earlier than usual and it was me up with them while the hubby slept in buuut on the bright side, I got to spend more time with those who I am fortunate to have that made me a Mom. Love this! Thanks for sharing and making me realize we are not alone in thinking this way.

    • You are absolutely NOT alone! I know sometimes it’s hard for me to share the small, frustrating things because I know there are so many going through real, hard things. But I also think sometimes, we just need to vent to an audience who understands and who says, “me too!” Here’s to what is hopefully a relaxing and amazing birthday/anniversary/whatever your next celebration is. And if it isn’t perfect, we are with you!

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