Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 32° Clear
News >  Family

Mama Bear Moxie: High expectations often lead to disappointment

By Kristina Phelan For The Spokesman-Review

I tend to have high expectations on most everything in life. I have high expectations of myself, my husband and my kids. I have high expectations on how I think things should work out and how I imagine situations will go. But there is one thing that I have learned about high expectations:

You are bound to fail most (if not all) of the time.

Now, this isn’t to say that people can’t rise to the occasion or meet a goal. The expectations that I am talking about are all of the little things in life that just don’t go as planned. People and life are messy which means that the high expectations that I have for them won’t always be attainable.

There were times where I would look forward to something for so long, like a vacation, and I would set all of these imaginary outcomes in my head. Once I was actually there I found myself deflated and defeated in that the trip wasn’t turning out exactly how I had planned it.

And you know what? Most of the time that happened because my expectations were so high even I couldn’t have perfectly planned out how to attain them.

Kids have forced me to learn how to roll with the punches. There were so many times when I had little ones that the best planned days would quickly be changed. It was in those moments when I had to realize my expectations and make changes in order to not get disappointed.

I feel that I have taught my kids about this issue of mine in explaining that some things don’t go the way we planned. There have been countless times when our schedule has gotten ruined by weather, sickness or miscommunication. It is in those times that I try to take my own disappointment and create a learning opportunity for them and for myself.

However, I don’t think I have quite overcome this issue in my life because I now have a child who creates high expectations. He is very creative and such a busy kid that he plans out his day or weekend based on his own desires. But, when living with other people, sometimes plans are not going to work out in order to meet everyone’s needs.

I have struggled with parenting him in this because of my own struggles with the same issue. There are so many times when I feel down and out after an expectation hasn’t been met and it ruins my whole day. Or, I should say that I allow it to ruin my whole day. I think that there is only so much that I can show him and teach him in how to deal with unmet expectations. Because sometimes you just have to walk through the disappointments in life to learn about yourself. There comes a time when you just get sick of it and have to readjust your own thinking.

I know that parenting my child in this will be a long-term goal but I believe that he will be able to tame it one day …

At least that is my high expectation for him.

Kristina Phelan is a former Spokane-area resident now living in Illinois. Visit her website at

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.