I think if you know me, you know that I take this motherhood thing pretty seriously. It’s amazing how fast your whole world shifts and you start seeing everything in a new light. Pretty quickly into my pregnancy (like, maybe day 1) I started staying up at night, thinking about life insurance, and wills, and college funds, and who will take care of this baby if something happens to us?!
Suddenly I was analyzing everything and everyone around me. What was my childhood like? What do I want to do the same or different? What influences do I want around my children? I kind of became a walking, talking public service ad. Stop swearing! Don’t drink so much! No texting and driving!! But all of a sudden everything had a deeper meaning to me, and I only wanted the best of influences around my little babe.
As soon as I found out we were having a girl I took a good, hard look at the one in the mirror. I realized then that I would be the number one influence on the tiny girl in my belly. At least for a while. I had to be better for her. I needed to be someone I would be proud of my daughter for looking up to. I wanted to be a good, strong role model so that one day when she was on her own she wouldn’t only be like me, she’d be better than me.
Taking a good look at myself, it was easy to see some things I needed to change. I didn’t want my daughter to pick up my bad habits. Like picking my split ends. Or sometimes having a little bit of a temper. Or raising my voice maybe a little too quickly. Or shopping too much.
But my number one concern was passing on the cancerous self esteem problems that plagued me, my sisters, my mom, my grandma, and generations of other girls. My whole life I was so consumed by what was in the mirror. And even though our mom was our biggest fan, and rained down compliments on us, my sisters and I were our own worst enemies. Every day was like that scene in Mean Girls where they all look in the mirror and have to say something bad about themselves. My hair, my nose, my hips, my lips, my butt, my legs…you name it. If everything wasn’t perfect, nothing was perfect.
It took my pregnancy, and this sudden self-awareness, to see exactly how sad and gross the whole thing was. And it devastated me to know that my beautiful family members ever had thoughts of themselves like this. But it’s also so easy to understand, you know? I mean we’re constantly surrounded by these perfect characters in movies or books, or beautiful, photoshopped images that we can’t ever compare to. I know so many fewer women that think highly of themselves than the other way around. And it’s sad. And more than anything I don’t want that to be my daughter. So I’ve made a concerted effort to STOP IT. But it’s hard. It’s so easy to find myself saying these mean things about people. Flippant little things like “um, so and so looks a liiiittle plastic-y these days”, or “oh my gosh, she looks AWFUL!” And while this is almost always about people that I don’t know, that are on TV or in magazines and will never hear my comment, it all feeds into it. It’s a nasty little game of tearing down people to make yourself feel better, but it always (at least in my case) leads to feeling pretty bad about yourself too. Because if you’re saying these mean things about others, what are others saying about you??
Anyways, I’ve been doing my very best at improving this area of my life, and while (I think) I’ve made leaps and bounds, I still have a way to go.
With all that being said, the point of this is to tell you about a new series I’m going to be starting on the blog. I haven’t even named it yet, and I haven’t completely defined it. I was hoping the rambling I just let myself do would assist with that, but it hasn’t really. So, another work-in-progress in my life. But, (probably despite what you think based on what you’ve just read), I don’t intend to make the series a big advocacy-y, “say no to bullying”, Dove soap-y kind of thing, but I just want to focus on being a good parent. I’ll do some of the posts, but I hope to get friends and family involved, because I know a lot of amazing moms. Hopefully they’ll do some guest posts, and hopefully it’ll just inspire us all to be a little better. Because it couldn’t hurt, right?
And these little people we’re raising? They need us to be the very best we can be.