Christian Living Family Motherhood

The Unicorn Effect {setting unrealistic expectations}

Unicorn Effect










This week is going on our 2nd full week of summer break and it has been awesome…..except when it wasn’t.

NOW….I had full intentions of rocking this summer break and don’t get me wrong, that first week I nailed it!!!!  However, the past few days the only “ROCKIN” I have been doing is this…..

What happened?

I am going to tell you, and I’m going to share how you can keep it from happening to you!

Get ready for parenting advice from “The worst mom ever!”

How did I fall off the awesome train?
Well…I call it the Unicorn effect.

I had set unrealistic expectations for our summer and for my children.

In a world where everyone has Pinterest pipe dreams, it’s easy to set unrealistic expectations… I right?

For instance, if you walked in my house, they may have made the assumption that I have a knack for growing beautiful flowers in my back yard because I have this bouquet of freshly cut peonies and hydrangeas.  Annie is talented.  Her home probably looks like something out of the better homes and gardens magazine.  Little do you know our home is a place where flowers come to die.  It is a graveyard for all things green.  I have even been known to kill houseplants labeled “resilient” but you would never know that.

We observe people on social media and make assumptions accordingly.  Oh I bet her cappuccino is always that perfect with the cute little frothy heart.  Her messy bun is always on fleek.  Her house is always that clean.  Her tummy is always that toned.  She never eats processed food. We are making assumptions about people that are not REAL.  No one puts their REAL life on social media.  That is why I call this the unicorn effect…..we are comparing our reality or better yet our worst day to someone’s best day online.

We are comparing our bad day to someone’s seemingly “perfect life.”  No one is perfect.  It is an illusion and that is why I call this the unicorn effect.  We are comparing our very real messy life with a UNICORN…figment of our imagination.

The unicorn effect DESTROYS us as parents.

We compare our parenting to the mom who is making ice sculptures for her daughter’s frozen themed birthday party like a Martha Stewart on crack and that just isn’t fair.

The best parenting advice I can give to you is this:


Disappointment is really just unmet expectations.  So….if we change our expectations for people and ourselves…GUESS WHAT!!!! LESS disappointment!!!!

What are some unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves this summer as parents:

  • My house will always look clean.
  • The kids well play together like Laura Engle and her siblings.
  • The kids will want to play outside.

I want to help you set REALISTIC expectations for your summer break:

  • There will be constant NOISE.  It will be loud.
  • There will be so many messes that you will want to daily put your house up for sale and you will refuse to walk barefoot on your floors.
  • Your house will not look or smell clean the entire summer.
  • There will be many fights over who gets the front seat of the minivan.
  • The words poop, fart, butt, and turd will be in FULL force.
  • There will be sibling spats.  If there are more than two children in the house, expect civil war.  This is what happens when many sinners are living in one house.  After all, our kids need Jesus, just like mommy and daddy. There should be no surprise.
  • The food rations will be depleted two days after going to the grocery store.
  • Expect to mop, dust, vacuum, scrub and fold to no avail.


  • Expect many opportunities to cry out to JESUS.  You will discover this summer that you need him desperately.
  • OH yeah…and that patience that we have been asking God to grow us in….He has answered…this is it?  Expect more growth opportunities as the summer progresses.

Our expectations for others and ourselves are extremely high, BUT our expectations for God fall incredibly short!

We expect that God parent like we do.  We expect that He is annoyed with us because we just can’t seem to get it together! We picture that He is upstairs rolling His eyes, slamming doors and stomping through the streets of gold, binging on a bag of dark chocolate chips because He cannot believe HIS kids are so stupid!

We expect because He is so TICKED off with us, that He has checked out.  Kind of like we do….uhh…parenting reminds me I am a failure so I am going to check out on FB for a while. We assume He would rather focus on other important things, than to be present with children who whine, complain and throw fits when they don’t get their way.  Yeah….we believe God exists but He doesn’t really have much to do with my life and struggles.

God’s love comes unexpectedly because we know that we do not deserve it. We don’t expect that God loves us like He does BUT we shouldn’t be surprised, because the bible teaches that He is “slow to anger abounding in love and steadfastness.” “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest!” Instead of running from God, let’s run to Him!

He never grows tired of loving us!!!!

God’s love is unexpected because it is so different from how we love…..that it takes us by surprise. It is easy to love people when they do what you want them to!  RIGHT!  The kids who do everything right!  But what about the kid who screws up all the time….this is us….God LOVES US!  He loves the unlovable……that comes as unexpected!!!

Because God loves us in unexpected ways….we can expect the unexpectable!!!

What do I mean!

That all of these hard things in our life!  The daily grind, the mundane, the mismatching socks, kids who don’t obey, fighting, kids with disabilities, the ones with a personality that gets under your skin, the messy home…..God is using these things to draw you to HIM.  He is using these things for our GOOD!!!!

God gave us these specific children…He doesn’t make mistakes.

I kiss the wave that throws me to the rock!  This summer there are going to be many waves coming at us. We can be crushed and devastated by the weight or let them throw us to the rock!





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