That was a really long title. But I just couldn’t leave any of it out. For the past week or ten, I’ve been talking about a few different things. I’ve been talking about faith, thankfulness, and how lots of Australians seem to visit this site but don’t comment.

I’ve also spoken about parenting. And if you’re the observant kind, you’ve probably noticed that I feel like I’m struggling in it. It’s everybody’s story, perhaps, but right now it’s mine.

The older one is cheeky and I lack the energy to reel him in.

The younger one is teething and, well, not sleeping in a manner conducive to me getting reasonable amounts of sleep many nights.

{This morning’s pajama dance party with DJ Jazzy Tank.}

And somehow in the back of my mind, thoughts from posts like this one or this one, are whispering in my ear: You’re not savoring enough! You’re not enjoying enough! You’re not smiling and laughing and taking snapshots with your mind enough!

Exactly as this brilliant woman described it in an article in the Huffington Post, the well-meaning voices of ladies who were once in this stage are echoing these exclamations: It goes by so fast! Enjoy every minute! Are you loving every. single. minute. of mothering? You should! Cuz it’ll be gone before you know it!

But at the end of many-a-day, just like Melton described it in her article, I am often just glad my boys are asleep with all of their fingers and toes still attached to their bodies.

The truth is, the goal of enjoying every. single. moment. of parenting can leave you feeling like you’ve fallen off a wagon you never knew how to ride.

And why, oh why, even after realizing it before, does it suddenly occur to me: I feel like I’m failing because I’m using the wrong measuring stick.

Enjoy. Every. Last. Stinking. Minute. is not a reasonable expectation. Not for marriage. Not for motherhood. Not for just about anything except a roller coaster ride or a brief video on youtube.

It’s only natural that the peaks and troughs will come — the lower the troughs, the higher the peaks feel.

I’ve been doing a bit of informal research as to how Christians feel about dating. Specifically, I’ve been asking why does Christian dating often feel so awkward? (Feel free to comment with your opinions — anonymously, if necessary!)

One of the common threads I’ve seen has everything to do with expectations. Expectations on the part of brothers and sisters in the Church that feel entitled to know every. last. stinking. detail. about a couple’s relationship as it unfolds. Expectations on the part of the girl or the guy that the one the Lord has for me will be like this and like this and like this but not like this or this or that or that or that.

There are often mutually unrealized expectations about how a relationship should unfold, and that sure does seem to make things messy.

It is a necessary part of life, our beautiful ability to think about what we’re thinking about. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to think about it a little more. I think.

Sewiously, there is great value in taking the time to ask if you’re feeling guilty about something you’ve done or left undone, when the only person you’d ever expect to achieve that goal is you. Are you expecting yourself to be an everything home-cooked, always under budget, kids always tidy, smiling through every circumstance, always on time, don’t worry I’ve got it together Mamacita?

Is that a Reasonable, Realistic goal? For this season of your life? In these circumstances?

If you are the kind of person who wants to beat yourself up for sinning and falling short, even though you know it’s forgiven and long-gone and the Lord has removed it as far as the East is from the West, you are probably the kind of person that has high expectations for yourself. And that’s not always a good thing.

Leave some room for Grace!

In addition to a little introspection, it ain’t a bad idea to put your hand on your chin like the Thinker and consider the expectations you’ve set for who other people are, who they should be, and what they should be doing.

Do you mayhaps have unrealistic expectations for your spouse? Your best friend? Your second cousin’s third grade teacher? Your pastor?

Are you hanging up an unfair measuring stick for you, or somebody else?

A friend of mine read the article I linked to above and said she felt like God had lifted a weight off her shoulders when she read it. Why? Because she’s probably like me. I’m freaked out by the fact that the childhood of our children goes by very quickly, and I’m often worried that I’m going to have regrets at the end of it because I didn’t hold on to enough. Somehow.

I needed someone to say: It is okay not to enjoy every minute of it. Yes, some of it is just plain hard. Just savor the good stuff. Enjoy what you can when you can. And everything’s gonna be alright… everything gonna be alright hey… no woman no cry… hey no woman… no..

Sorry I’m back.

Give your expectations a little thought when you get a second. It might take a load off your back, or somebody else’s — I {hesistantly} expect it’ll be a healthy exercise for you, too.