Expectations! As a mum of two very complex young men – apparently I am not allowed to call them boys anymore, they are growing up and they are becoming men and they ‘expect’ me to remember this.
Sorry, I became side tracked there by my amusement of the fact, my nosey parker of a 13 year old has obviously taken a sneaky glance at the screen on my laptop, seen the theme for this week, as he has walked past to go into the kitchen and is now educating me on how ‘uncool’ it is to think of him and Buzz as boys anymore (I have resisted the urge to reverse roles and become a smart arse and say something sarcastic, like he does on an hourly rate at the moment). Instead I have challenged him to come up with his own idea for a #WASO post this week – my ‘expectations’ are that it will be VERY egocentric and I know I shouldn’t, but I expect I will find myself chuckling at his logic as only a mother would – be that a crazy adoptive mother who knows her child’s perception of the world is somewhat different from other teens his age.
Okay, back to this post. By now it may be obvious to some of you what the theme is, but just in case. This week, The Adoption Socials’ WASO theme is ‘Expectations’.
Imagine for a moment that I am stood in front of you and I ask you, as an adopter, Foster carer or for that fact any parent or carer, “When you first become a parent/carer, did you put too much expectation on yourself to be almost ‘perfect’?” – I imagine if you are reading this, there is a strong chance that you are nodding your head in agreement or smiling silently to yourself.
Well, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I had this perfect image in my head of what kind of mum I would be and all the things I would do with my children and how I expected all of Bumble’s and my dreams would come true and we would have the happy little family unit we had always wanted. Oh yes, during the adoption preparation, I said all the right things and don’t get me wrong, I meant it all. I may have had my dreams but I was still able to be realistic to a degree about what I could expect from being an adoptive parent and so could Bumble, of course. We were also secure enough to admit the areas that we felt would need a little time to get used too.
Once we were approved we never expected the wait to be as long as it was and never expected that we would actually meet our children through the fostering route and even when this did happen we never expected to be allowed to take on the boys – let’s face it they were placed with us because the proximity was too close and they didn’t fit within our matching criteria so there was going to be no chance that we would fall in love with them, unlike the expectations with one of the children we looked after during respite placement, whose foster carer was making it very clear to us that she felt we should consider adopting him (he was a lovely baby but I just never felt the same about him as I almost immediately did with Waxy and Buzz).
Anyway back to my question. Do we put too much pressure on ourselves and expect to be ‘perfect’? The simple answer is yes. Of course I am only talking about myself, I can’t talk for anyone else, although I know several people who if they were to ask me if I think they are too hard on themselves, I would be screaming at the top of my lungs “YES, give yourself a break!!!!!!” (good advice but one that I am pretty bad at giving myself).
Another question that I could ask is “do you feel that you have felt under pressure to get everything right because of an unspoken sense of expectation from professionals” in other words “do you feel like you are constantly living in a fish bowl and everything you say and do is immediately scrutinised and put under the microscope to study at great lengths your motives?” (Crikey that sounds paranoid doesn’t it?)
Certainly in Bumble and my case, I would have to say that is exactly how we felt.
If I were to then ask if people who knew thought I had too high of expectations from my boys (sorry young men), I would guess I would have a more mixed bag of responses and that would be OK. Some people (including family) think that I am too soft on the boys (Buzz would like me to state at this point that his answer to this would be “I wish!”), and then there are the friends and family that think we are too strict and controlling and that we should let ‘boys be boys’.
From a purely personal view I think that, most of the time, I set my targets just about right and my expectation levels are neither too high, or too low for the boys. Yes, I have different expectations for each of them, but I feel they are fair and appropriate to them individually.
Do I get it wrong sometimes? God, yes! I am only human after all. I have my faults, I am not a high-tech android version of Mary Poppins and I am definitely not ‘practically perfect in every way’.
Oh and before I forget. Here is Beeswax’s #WASO contribution.
I am a teenaged adoptee that’s expected to do a lot of things like writing this, tidying my room, playing with my brother and doing some jobs.
But I have different expectations. I expect to get lots of computer, lots of football, NO jobs, NO room tidying, lots of branded clothes and…. You get the point.
Unfortunately I am not allowed to do the things I expect because I’m only 13 and my parents are REALLY OLD so they make decisions.
Now I am expected to do my room.
P.S. This is an example of why my English teacher is always getting annoyed with me. She expects me to write loads but it is so boring and I like getting to the point quick.