If Motherhood Teaches You Anything – It’s To Lower Your Expectations. No. Lower.

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Before I became a mom, I had extremely high expectations for my daily life.

Every day, I woke up bright and early. I’d hit the gym. Even on the weekends, I’d set my alarm for 6 or 7 AM for an early morning kickboxing or spin class. I always felt rested because I usually got an uninterrupted eight or nine hours of sleep per night.

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I spent hours on self care.

I’d spend a few hours at the gym, which included time spent getting ready in the locker room. I always meticulously dried and straightened my hair. I leisurely put on makeup. I kept my earbuds in both to be entertained by whatever was on the radio and to ward off any unwanted chatter from others.

If it was a workday, I’d dress in a business suit and smart accessories. However, even on non-work days, I completed my outfit with a fun blazer and a piece of statement jewelry. Either way, I usually spent at least half an hour planning and packing outfits the night before.

I’d then drive to the office ready to take on the world. I had an organized to do list that I carefully chronicled in a chic little notepad bought at Nordstrom. I made phone calls, sent e-mails, wrote legal briefs, attended depositions, co-chaired trials, and did all the tasks that accompanied work as a litigator.

I often packed my own lunches, each item intended to hit a certain macronutrient goal. Other times, I’d grab a healthy lunch with a colleague at one of our favorite downtown eateries.

Sometimes we’d dine at the private club where our firm had a membership. There, we’d sit and bask in the quiet high above the city as we dined on salads and fresh lemon water.

I usually left work at six or seven in the evening, but other times, especially on nights when my husband also worked late, I’d stay at the office until 9 or 10 PM.

Even when I had a lot going on, I always had time and room in my schedule to complete the tasks that needed to be completed.

Lowering your expectations when you become a mom is not a bad thing. It's important for survival. Here are ways that motherhood helped me lower my expectations #filterfreeparents #momlife #motherhood #expectations #raisingkids

Work spilled over into nights and weekends, but no plans were ever ruined since there was always more—more time, more day, and more night left to enjoy.

I had a pretty cushy life.

Today I am a mom of three. In a few months, my oldest son will turn four and my twin son and daughter will turn one.

My days are no longer perfectly orchestrated.

After a couple of years working a full-time flexible schedule after my oldest was born, I switched status with my firm.

I’m currently on maternity leave since having my twins earlier this year. However, when I do work, I now work from home, alternating between childcare and work tasks. The lines between my personal and professional lives quickly blur.

Instead of spending hours in a regular gym, I hit up the equipment in our garage gym.

Or, sometimes I workout in our living room, sharing my yoga mat and dumbbells with a preschooler who insists I make room for him. I run on the treadmill while my twin infants nap, knowing that any second a cry could end my run midstride.

I no longer plan my outfits the night before.

Sometimes I break out the blow-dryer and straightener, but other times, I slather on a product that says something about “beach waves” and let the air be my hairdryer.

I can’t wear earbuds anymore because I must always be on alert.

My fancy necklaces hang in my closet. Scarves and sweaters are worn in place of statement jewelry and blazers.

Mealtime is also a bit less glamorous.

Sometimes lunch is a healthy plate of power foods and other times it’s a giant burrito delivered by Uber Eats that I scarf down at 2 PM when my babies have finally gone down for a nap. My oldest doesn’t nap anymore, so any daily quiet time I might have had is a thing of the past.

Nighttime is patchwork of broken sleep, my husband and I alternating between the needs of three small children.

Time to be productive is limited and comes in minutes—sometimes only seconds.

If my former self got a glimpse into my current daily routine, she’d probably faint from shock. My days look much different than they used to. Over my nearly four years as a parent, I’ve had to continually adjust and adapt to new expectations, each changing with a new stage.

Lowering your expectations when you become a mom is not a bad thing. It's important for survival. Here are ways that motherhood helped me lower my expectations #filterfreeparents #momlife #motherhood #expectations #raisingkids

And, yes, that has meant lowering my expectations to some degree—something that would have sounded absurd to me pre-kids.

Back then, altering my standards would have sounded lazy or even indulgent.

What my pre-kid self did not know, however, is that, when a mom lowers her standards or expectations, it’s not because she’s decided to be lazy or stop making an effort.

Rather, it means she’s working harder: working harder to accomplish the things she needs to accomplish each day; working harder to meet the needs of her family; and working harder to meet the challenges motherhood throws her way.

She’s also working smarter as she understands that an overstressed, unhappy parent isn’t good for anyone.

I work harder now than I ever did before kids.

Though it might take days or even weeks to accomplish a task it once took minutes to complete, I give my all in a much more selfless way.

I know life will continue to change as my kids get older. The necklaces and blazers will once again replace spit-up stained sweaters and scarves. Eventually I’ll have the quiet I need to complete tasks with ease.

Some things will become harder as others become easier. Nevertheless, I will continue to adapt to whatever motherhood throws at me—even if it means altering my expectations.

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