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E is for Expectations, IWSG April 2016


I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is open-ended. My goal is to write daily posts using each letter of the alphabet in April (Sundays off for good behavior and to make it work for the alphabet). I’ll be writing family stories, memoir or journal prompts, reviews about theatre and food, maybe a visit from my sock puppet characters Millie and Willie, and using photos I’ve taken along the way. Enjoy!

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeToday is also the first Wednesday of the month, Insecure Writers Support Group day. This is an online group of bloggers who write about their insecurities and offer support and encouragement to one another. If you’d like to learn more about it, or sign up, visit the IWSG website or the founder and super ninja blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Quote of the Day: Whatever your expectations may be, make them come true. Don’t rely on someone else to do the hard work. Don’t look to anyone for approval or affirmation. Look within yourself for your strength. Fan the flame that burns inside of you. Go. Create. Inspire! Mary Aalgaard. My own words of wisdom.

EE is for Expectations, a very good word for the IWSG day. Most of the quotes I found when I googled quotes on expectations were about keeping your expectations low to avoid disappointment. That wasn’t really the theme I was going for. They also had some about not placing your expectations on others, and not trying to live up to their expectations of you. That one is valid, but still not what I want to say today. So, I wrote my own quote (above).

I’ve been writing quite a bit about my mom so far this month because it’s her Birthday, for one, and because a mother has much influence over her children. At her Birthday party on Sunday, I asked her if she had expectations for us kids about what we might do when we were grown. She said, “I’m sure I did, but I didn’t push it on you.” I asked her what she thought I would be. “A teacher,” she said, without hesitation. And, yes, I am a teacher. I’m also a writer, musician, mother myself, and other things, but, yes, I believe that my first calling is that of teacher. It was kind of nice to know she saw that in me even as a little girl.

For us, as writers and people who want to find success in the creative world, we need to have certain expectations of ourselves. We need to imagine what we can do and who we can be, then work towards it. We need to claim who we are, and not apologize. We can do this in small ways. When someone asks us to do some writing for them, we need to say, “Yes, and here’s my fee.” When someone asks us to be a speaker or teach a class, we need to say, “Yes, and here’s how much I charge.” When we start to see the value of who we are and what we do, we will project that to the world, and they will respect us for it.

I brought some of my students to a memory unit at a local assisted living center one Christmas. They all played their holiday songs, and I played a few for a sing-along.

I brought some of my students to a memory unit at a local assisted living center one Christmas. They all played their holiday songs, and I played a few for a sing-along.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What are your expectations of yourself? What were the expectations your parents had about you?  


  1. I like your quote much better!
    Your mother saw teacher and let you grow into that role on your own, which is just awesome.

  2. Great picture of you on the piano surrounded by kids. Mothers know early on. Your mother was wise to not push her own visions and expectations on her kids, but let them develop their own passions. With enough love and support, a kid can be anything she wants to be. Great post, Mary, and wonderful tribute to Mom.

  3. Lovely post Mary thank you … normally I don’t like the word ‘expectations’ but the way that you’ve used it rings true .. lovely quote!

  4. My mantra all through high school was “Dare to dream.” Of course, part of that dreaming was all the hard work that goes behind making a dream come true. In essence, not exactly what you were saying, but similar. We definitely need to value ourselves and our abilities too.

  5. First of all I love love love your quote! Second, I needed to read your expectations post about writing. Needed it! I need to just do it.

  6. Bravo, Mary!

    My expectations of myself are super high. I will be the next Stephen King any day now, thank you very much. 🙂

    My parents never pushed anything on me. My mom knew from the time I was a little kid that I wouldn’t have children of my own, and she’s never nagged me about that. I’m sure it was also fairly obvious that I would be a writer, but nothing was ever pushed upon me.

    In some ways, I wish my parents had pushed more, because there’s skills (ice skating, bike riding, etc.) I’d really love to have and it’s much more difficult to acquire them as an adult.

  7. Fortunately my parents had pretty low expectations of me and my brothers, so a 20+ years military career gave me credibility.
    My personal expectations since leaving home at 17 have always been to give my best at everything I do.
    I achieved this by following my military career with 20 years in Retail Management, and since 2012 when I ended my management role I took my writing more seriously.
    Result? I now have 16 titles to my name.
    Another great post, Mary.

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