My baby has recently turned 6 months old and for the last month or so, people have started saying ‘Aren’t you going to wean him now?’ This didn’t bother me but it struck me that in the past I have allowed comments like this to really affect me. Why is everyone in such a hurry for people to move onto the next stage in their lives?!? It’s like when you have a partner people say ‘when are you going to get engaged?’ and then when you are engaged they say ‘When are you going to get married?’ Then as soon as you are married they say ‘When are you going to have a baby?’
I remember when we were desperate to have a second child and it just wasn’t happening and I took this very badly and was upset and emotional for months about it. People kept saying things like ‘Shouldn’t you be having another one by now’ and to me this felt like they were stabbing me because I took it very personally. I was lucky enough to be studying on The 3 Principles Professional Institute at the time. I remember my supervisor Dr Aaron Turner pointed out that people were just innocently saying what they were saying. It was me who was creating the experience of what they were saying that was affecting me, not them. It was only when I could see that I was causing pain to myself that I was able to hear these comments and not be affected.
I now see that people innocently ask life cycle questions just as they would ask what the weather is like and it’s up to us how we hear and interpret these comments and how we let them affect us or not.
Just over a week ago we were planning a family day trip to the countryside for the first time since the baby was born. We were very excited about the trip and despite the rain got up early to make our picnic. As we were about to leave the baby woke up for another feed, the weather took a turn for the worse and when my husband checked the traffic report it was dire. Despite our desperation to go we realised it wasn’t going to be a good idea.
We were both very disappointed and half-heartedly scrabbled around on the internet for an alternative plan, but none really appealed to us. We started to feel very downhearted and fed up. In the past this would have led my husband and I on a downward spiral resulting at us snapping at each other all day. But that day we decided not to let it get the better of us.
In the spirit of having our day trip my husband set up the picnic on the kitchen floor and insisted on having the door open to make it more real even though I was freezing! He kept saying ‘Well at least we are not at the Glastonbury Festival in the mud’ – which I very much appreciated. – Since the year we went it was mudtastic and hence bickertastic (but that’s another story).
I in the meantime managed to arrange for us to go to friends nearby and we ended up having a lovely afternoon. We even had a glass of wine which may not be much to you but to us felt very grown up and indulgent! I’m not saying we didn’t have a few thoughts about still feeling we wanted to escape but we managed to put these aside for the most part and have a good time. We even joked about how we had travelled to another London borough even though it was only a 5 minute drive away.
When I reflect on this experience it wasn’t the fact that we weren’t able to go on our planned day trip that was the problem it was our expectations about the day that caused us to have to unhappy thoughts. In the past these could have led us to having disgruntled thoughts about our lives and worse! -Instead of appreciating what we have.
Because we both deeply know about the power of thought we just didn’t want to go there so were able to quickly jump out of our upset. It made me think about all the other times in our lives where we get excited and build things up, whether they be holidays, day trips or even other people -expecting them to behave in certain ways, only for the reality to fall short of our expectations. How much do these failed expectations affect us in our lives and how much do we really take responsibility for the fact that they are our thoughts and expectations and therefore problems of our own making and not reality?