Balancing High Hopes and Realistic Expectations

Welcome to the Pulling Curls podcast! In episode 212, Hilary discusses the parenting mindset. She shares three key points: lowering your expectations, reveling in positive experiences, and keeping yourself separate from your kids. Hilary also mentions a free parenting guide available on the Pulling Curls website. Stay tuned for more episodes on different mindsets related to pregnancy and parenting. Don’t forget to review, share, and subscribe to help the podcast grow.

Big thanks to our sponsor Practical Parenting:


00:02:58 Library visits evoke the ideal parenting experience.
00:04:47 Pottery can wait, find yourself first.
00:06:48 Parenting mindset suggestions wanted. Share on Instagram.


  1. Lowering expectations is key in parenting.
  2. Revel in the positive experiences and savor those moments.
  3. Write down parenting wins to remind yourself of your successes.
  4. Remember that you are not your kids and it’s important to keep your own identity.
  5. Maintain hobbies and interests, even if it means finding alternative ways to pursue them.
  6. Seek support from parents or caregivers who can help out occasionally.
  7. Keep yourself separate from your kids to maintain a sense of self.
  8. Parents who suffer from infertility or have young kids may face unique challenges in maintaining their identity.
  9. It’s important to prioritize self-care and personal growth alongside parenting responsibilities.
  10. Share your own recommendations for parenting mindset on the Pulling Curls Instagram page.

Producer: Drew Erickson

[00:00:00.170] – Hilary Erickson

Hey, guys. Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 212, we are talking about the parenting mindset. Here, it’s Mindset Month on the Pulling Curls Podcast. Let’s untangle it.

[00:00:10.620] – Hilary Erickson

Hi, I’m Hilary, a serial overcomplicator. I’m also a nurse, mom to three, and the curly head behind Pulling Curls and the pregnancy nurse. This podcast aims to help us stop overcomplicating things and remember how much easier it is to keep things simple. Let’s smooth out those snarls with pregnancy and parenting untangled, the Pulling Curls Podcast.

[00:00:40.660] – Hilary Erickson

This episode of The Pulling Curls Podcast is sponsored by Practical Parenting. Did you guys know that I have a totally free parenting guide? If anything, you’re going to feel like Hilary is right in there with you, but it might just have some ideas to make life easier at your house. So go ahead and grab it in the show notes or you can go to Pulling Curls under courses. You’ll see my free course, Practical Parenting, right there.

[00:01:03.180] – Hilary Erickson

Let’s jump into the parenting mindset and what is working for me right now, because I think this is going to be different for everybody. Although number one, it’s been the same for a lot of these, is to lower your expectations. If I had to go back to Hilary at the beginning of parenting, I would have lowered my expectations all along. Now, having high expectations helped my kids in a variety of ways, but I think it made parenting worse for me, and it’s still making it worse for me. So lowering your expectations is always a good thing.

[00:01:36.990] – Hilary Erickson

Not having big plans for you or your kids really in any way. Now you’re going to have goals. You’re going to have ideas, ideals, but you can’t plan on the ideals being what ends up happening. That’s my advice for you. I was just listening to the episode that we recorded with Dr. Schmeid about having an induction. I think it’s like 206. But we talk about how you can have a birth plan, and that is often awesome. And you should have a plan for the day, but you have to plan on it not really working out like you think it will. Or it could be better. It could be worse.

[00:02:12.270] – Hilary Erickson

So having lower expectations is a key to parenting. And I’m telling you that it is still a key with my 23 year old. It is a key. It is a key with newborns. It is a key with all peoples. Lower your expectations. If anyone knows how to do that, please find me over on Instagram and tell me what the heck I’m doing wrong or don’t. Those are two options for you.

[00:02:35.200] – Hilary Erickson

The next parenting mindset is to just revel in the positive experiences. I remember I had two little boys who were just beating the tar out of each other. The Book Mobile was coming and I got us in the wagon and we walked down to where the Bookmobile was and it was a great experience. I remember walking back, they were all in the wagon reading their books. Amazing. I cannot tell you how much I love coming back from the library because kids are quiet and they’re reading and nothing feels better as a parent. But they were in the wagon and I just thought, this is amazing. That moment was like I had imagined parenting would be all of my life. That three minute of me. I mean, the wagon was also heavy, and I don’t know that I would have thought that back in my earlier life, but that one moment I was like, this is what I always thought it would be.

[00:03:27.240] – Hilary Erickson

So how do you take that? You just have to savor that moment in my mind. And I honestly still savor that moment now because those boys still don’t honestly always get along that well. And so take those moments, write them down. Honestly, write down the parenting wins, write them in your journal, make a note tab so that when things are rough, you can go back to it and be like, no, I have totally succeeded for like six minutes this month. And if you have I’m right there with you. I get it.

[00:03:56.980] – Hilary Erickson

Okay, the last one is that you are not your kids. And this is hard because essentially when your kids are little, you are your kids. There is very little time for anything else. You are on call 24 hours a day. Even if I worked, I was still thinking, How are the kids? There was a part of my mind who was constantly with my kids no matter what was going on. And that slowly starts to fade away. You’re not constantly… There are times, though, that I swear they have a problem and immediately they’re like, Mom, and they expect you to just like, jump to it.

[00:04:30.580] – Hilary Erickson

That drives me insane, but it’s just part of it. I’m probably like that with my parents. But the harder you can realize that you are not your kids, the better it’s going to work out for you. Keep having those hobbies. However you can get them in, even if it is just watching them on YouTube. Let’s say you love pottery. You can’t make it to a pottery class because you have little people. It’s too expensive. Yada, yada. You watch it on YouTube and you’re like, you know what? Someday that’s going to come back to me.

[00:04:58.100] – Hilary Erickson

Because I am here to tell you now that I have one in college, one out of college, adulting on his own, one in high school, you’re going to have time that you will be able to make time for those things later on and you’re going to want them. So it has been 23 years since Hilary had her first baby, though. So it… It was a long time. And I probably lost myself thinking these are the things that I’m working on. But I wish that I would have kept a little bit more of myself when they were little or at least just held on to it.

[00:05:27.280] – Hilary Erickson

Because now I get to this point and I’m like, I don’t even know what hobbies I have or want. I don’t know who I am, those kinds of things. So I think always keep yourself separate from your kids. And I’ve been so impressed by people who are able to do that even when kids are little. It helps a lot if you have parents who are willing to maybe help out with the kids every once in a while or and it helps obviously as they get older.

[00:05:49.970] – Hilary Erickson

So keep yourself separate from your kids, because I see all these parents as kids are moving out, just feeling like they have died. The kid has died and the parent has died. And that’s not doing your kid any favor, because part of you should be like, yes, they are gone. I cannot wait to go to pottery class more. This is the time that I get to be me. And this may be more because I had my kids young. Maybe older parents don’t have this as much because they’re more solidified before they have kids. Tell me in the comments on Instagram. I’d be really interested to know.

[00:06:22.800] – Hilary Erickson

But either way, I see so many people, I suffer from infertility. Like that is their like, this is me. Or I have lots of young kids and I’m hairy. That is you. And it’s just not going to be you for a very long time. It seems like such a long time. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not that really that long and then you’re left with you and you still want to like you and you still want to have hobbies and things that you enjoy on your own. Those are my best tips for you on that.

[00:06:48.370] – Hilary Erickson

What do you guys recommend for parenting mindset for other parents? Come tell us on Instagram. You’ll see a reel of this post on the Pulling Curls Instagram and tell us over there.

[00:06:57.950] – Hilary Erickson

Mindset month continues. We have Tina coming on to talk about the labor mindset. I love having Tina on. Then the week after that, we are talking about your organizing mindset, which you’re going to find that a lot of these are very similar, but also different. So stay tuned for those.

[00:07:13.390] – Hilary Erickson

Thanks for joining us on the Pulling Curls Podcast today. If you liked today’s episode, please consider reviewing, sharing, subscribing. It really helps our podcast grow. Thank you.


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