GREAT FOOD FOR THOUGHT, KAMI!! Thank you!
The only thing that really kept coming back into my mind was that we need to read Notwithstanding My Weakness (it's on our reading list!) and discuss it. Along with that we need to read Spiritual Lightening by Catherine M. Thomas. These two books literally changed my perspective on how I think about myself. Which, in my opinion, is most of where the principles you mentioned come from: guilt, expectations, and motherhood. I think I've thought almost everything you yourself thought today. I can say though, that this past year or so I have felt a huge sense of accomplishment in raising my children. I still have feelings of, "Oh, shoot, I didn't teach them that, did I?" when they do something I don't approve of (or don't do what I expected, etc), but I don't feel the hugely, overpowering amount of guilt that I once used struggle with. Guilt is something I think most women/mothers (men?) deal with. But, again, all I can say is those two books MUST be read by every woman/mother. Then we can discuss this further. :-)
In more direct answer to the questions you asked: :-)
Either way, whether I feel good about the day or not is often dependent on that mental checklist. This is the life of every mother!
To tell you the truth, I couldn't think of one example where expectation didn't play into happiness (This is another point where I did want feedback. Can you think of an example where this isn't the case?). I still think love is an expectation as well, whether a child has felt it or not, I think it's a basic human need/expectation. ??? My happiness is usually based on my expectations of myself. And when I'm not happy with my children it's really a reflection on my lack of training them to do what I expected them to do in the first place. Does that make sense? (spouses are different! ) ???
What do you all think? How do you balance necessary guilt (necessary for change and betterment) and unnecessary guilt that holds you back? How do you manage to eat the carrot stick and not the chocolate truffle? And how do base your self-worth on your knowledge of yourself as a child of God rather than your sense of accomplishment? How do you keep yourself from going crazy with your children when there's no feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day and exercising when the thought makes you cringe? (Exercising and parenting have a lot in common.) And where does that leave my mental checklist and my expectations for a tidy house? In answer to all of these: Read Notwithstanding My Weakness! :-)