Fantasy vs. Reality-lowering my expectations

Does anyone else do this? I’ll get this fabulous idea for something fun to do with the family. In my head, it all goes perfectly.
Then I try it in real life.

For example: I decided it would be a lovely idea to pack up the kids and the puppy and drive around looking at Christmas lights. We’d pack some snacks and hot chocolate and leisurely drive around gazing at the lovely displays. It would go something like this:

Me: Ok everyone! Lets put our jackets on and go look at some Christmas lights!
Everyone: Ok!
(everyone gets ready without any nagging from me and we’re out the door in 5 minutes)

Daddy drives, we all sip hot chocolate and drive through neighborhoods full of beautiful displays while listening to Christmas carols on the radio. Everyone, even the dog, is quietly taking in the wonder of the Christmas season.

This is how it really went:

Me: Everyone in the car so we can go look at lights!
(chaos ensues as people put boots and jackets on and the dog tries to steal your gloves and bite your pantleg).
We all pile in to the car and it starts.

“Mommy, my hot chocolate cup won’t fit in my cup holder!”
“Mommy, my hot chocolate is too hot!”
“Josh is annoying me!”
“Avery is talking too loud!”
“Mommy, the marshmallows spilled on the back seat!” (followed by crying)
“There’s not any lights on my side, they’re all on Avery’s side!”
“Wendy, turn down the GPS, it’s too loud!”
“Mommy, give me the phone, I want to watch the map!”

Then the dog started passing gas….

We finally made it to the house and despite all that, it was worth it. What an amazing display! And all timed to music! We sat and watched for a while before we headed out again.
And then it started up again:

“Mommy, I have a headache!”
“Mommy, I’m thirsty, I don’t want hot chocolate, I want water!”

More fumes from the dog.

We took a few side roads but didn’t see any great displays. Maybe we went too late? Maybe we just picked the wrong neighborhood? Who knows, all I know is next time, I will plan better or lower my expectations.
Or both.


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