When you become a parent, your entire world changes. Your life sheds any and all semblance of what you used to do, starting from the moment your child wakes up and ends the moment your child closes their eyes. These repetitive commitments you perform daily start to take hold of you – making sure your child has had enough to eat for breakfast, and doing your damndest to make it healthy. Remembering that your child needs to bathe on a semi-regular basis (they’re dirty but they’re not like, that dirty). Baby and toddler proofing any area of the house you think your child may even look at so they can roam about the home unscathed.
In other words, you are your child’s main bitch.
It’s sad, but it’s true. Our kids run our lives. If your child (or children) doesn’t run your life, and you are still the king of your domain, let me write your number down so we can discuss why you’re probably a better parent than me. Not to say that I’m not a good mom. There are most likely dozens of things I could work on when it comes to parenting, but all things considered, I think I’m doing a pretty great job. Sofie is living proof of that. This kid is a genius. Hello, MENSA? Is that you?
I prepared for everything I could possibly prepare for when I was pregnant. I made sure I had all of my ducks in a row, and that if my pregnancy or new found motherhood decided to throw me a curveball, I was ready for that as well. But the one thing I never even thought about was how much parenthood would unravel my insecurities and shake my self-esteem to its core. Where I was once found with the entire world, I was now lost in my own home. Is anyone at home even listening to me? No, no they are not. I’m basically talking to myself all day long. While Jarred is working and busy bringing home the bacon, I am constantly bargaining with a two-year-old, who is only really half paying attention to me. How many times have I asked her where she hid the remote control, only to get a response with the fakest (albeit cutest) shoulder shrug? Nobody truly pays attention to Mommy for the time being.
Self-esteem takes a beating on my manners now as well. To anyone reading this that has had to deal with me in person or over the phone, let me just apologize for my behavior. There are times when I take my child outside the comfort of our home, or God forbid I answer a phone call around her, and she is just not having it. My attitude is curt and occasionally rushed, with the formalities of hellos and goodbyes frequently forgotten because my child’s mood is commanding otherwise. It’s not that I don’t like you or I don’t want to talk to you. It’s just that politeness can oftentimes be difficult to maintain when I’m dealing with an unruly toddler and trying to run errands at the same time. If you see me and it appears as if I am about to burst into tears, it’s because I probably am. Just ignore it. It’s better for the both of us if you do.
My once confident judgement calls are now constantly being second guessed by myself, too. Do I even have simple decision-making skills anymore? Any time I come to face to face with making a choice for Sofia, I falter. As a parent, I now have this amazing super power of peering into the future and seeing how my decisions for my child can affect her. They expand throughout all areas of Sofia’s life. From what I feed her for lunch – “am I making her an overweight hellion if I let her eat a second package of fruit snacks with her sandwich?” To what she wears outside of the home – “will people think I’m a lazy good-for-nothing if I let her walk around town with me in what are obviously pajama bottoms?” To the movies I let her watch – “will she think it is okay to hit someone with a frying pan if I let her watch Tangled again?”
Entering parenthood definitely runs your self-esteem through the wringer. Sometimes, you’ll hate what it can turn you into. But something we have to remember is that while we are building our children up to be these amazing, ambitious, thoughtful human beings, we’re also building up our new livelihoods as parents, and it’s okay to stammer and second guess ourselves every once in a while. Or all the while.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, people.