Expectation brings disappointment

This has been one of my favourite lines recently, and although seems bitter at first, I think when properly used, is a key to freedom.

When I first became a SAHM and my hubby returned home from work and expected a clean house, he was often disappointed. This then would put me ‘in the negative’ before we’d even had a chance to greet each other.

I do this with my children too. When I expect 100% perfect attitudes and behaviour – I don’t get it – and then feel like we are in a battle.

What I should really be starting with is reality. The grace to know my kids have not had the years of life experience I have to know right from wrong. What brings good results, and what reaps bad.

And what a gift to be able to educate them in that before the world does!

Do my kids know my expectations? Am I aware that my husband expected the house a certain way? When these subconscious expectations are spoken of – are they really achievable? Realistic?

Have you owned and become aware of the expectations you’ve placed on others? Even subconscious ones?

Next time you find yourself disappointed, do a little head searching and work out where that came from and why.

Are you expecting the ex to raise the kids the same way you do? This could be a great reason for disappointment! You already know they don’t see your perspective / reason / negotiate / have the same values – so be free of carrying this disappointment in your life! Do the best you can, and educate your kids while you have them…

Do you expect a tidy toddler? Feel you’re always barking at them to put away their stuff? They may not see it as a mess – but a room full of fun and excitement!

Take time to express to them the dangers of stepping on objects, or how clutter makes it harder to find things. You could vocalise examples where you are displaying behaviour that you’d like them to imitate. “Mum has finished making lunch, so I’m putting everything away.”

I’m sure their little hearts (at this age!) would love to please mum and have her happy and not disappointed. Tell them how that can happen. Give them a little hand up!

Once you lower the expectations on others – you then create more space to see their achievements, see them trying and see them grow. Don’t forget to vocally recognise this and give praise when due.

I hope this glimpse into my head has somehow helped – and I would really love to hear any examples of when you’ve tried this out!

Big hugs,


About the Author

Kelly has been enjoying volunteering on The Imperfect Mum page for years now, scheduling questions and working behind the scenes with the forever growing inbox!

Posted in:  Life Lessons, Kelly (IM2)

3 Replies


I haven't tried it... But its worth a go.
My biggest struggle is the expectations I have on myself. Needing to refocus those because my biggest disappointment is me and that makes me angry at myself and in turn everyone around me... Why are women so messed up!?!

Kelly De Vries

Yes! What a great point!!

I'm looking at my 'to do' list I had today and my day has turned out totally different :-( I expected to have so much more done!! Boo!!

I need to let it go (as Elsa would say! Ha ha!) :-)

Margaret Walker

I'm a pessimistic optimist....I plan for the worst and hope for the best :)

I try to not 'expect' much of anything, nothing ever quite goes to plan, TBH I even try to not let my plans be chisled in concrete either, or I would be too upset if things had to change. I live with someone who keeps strict standards even for himself, (and he regularly beats himself up for not meeting them) has expectations, insists everything goes to plan and there be forwarning of everything....I watch him meltdown every few hours over the worlds refusal to comply.....

someone in the house needs to keep their head on their shoulders rather than regularly shattering and it seems to have always fallen to me....

oh always welcome to send me an IM FB IM well balanced people are always welcome particularly jesus freaks (you're not a frothing fundie jesus freak are you? you might not like my wall....I try to balance what some of my church friends post with the other side of the scale)