Parenting and expectations

A few days ago I scooped poop out of a bathtub — with my bare hands. I had to act quickly. The poop was crumbling (disintegrating?) before my eyes. Scoop, scoop, scoop. Done. I then rinsed my three-year-old and reminded her that toilets, not tubs, were made for pooping. Off she went.

I'm sold on the idea that how I react today to my kids' tantrums, spilled juice, wet beds, or poop in the bathtub will determine how much they trust me in the future. I can't blow this. I want them to talk to me. I want them to feel comfortable being vulnerable around me. Luckily, I don't get just one shot to figure this out. Each day I seem to have a new or repeating opportunity to practice the skill of controlling my emotions and recalibrating my expectations.

I once heard Jeff Kearl say, "Satisfaction is a function of expectations." Jeff wasn't talking about parenting, but it's just as applicable. Chill and happy parenting is a function of expectations. It has taken me eight years and four beautiful girls to stay chill...most of the time. I'll figure this out eventually.