So often you hear that becoming a parent makes you a better person, but I feel quite contrary to that. When I recently brought it up to my husband, he declared that it has made him a better person, and he insists it has made me one too, but he’s wrong.
I don’t mean that I have become a horrible person by becoming a mom or that I’m not a good parent, because I’m not ashamed to admit that I am. However, certain personality traits, flaws if you will, have been magnified now that I’m a mother. I often rack my brain and think about when I became so uptight. It always goes back to becoming a mother.
You see, I am a perfectionist and a control freak by nature. I hold myself and everyone around me to very high standards, and while I never attempted to control people around me, I controlled situations. It was never much of an issue in my pre-child personal life because it just worked. I was the leader friends relied on to make plans. I was the colleague my coworkers and employer could depend on. If someone did something I didn’t approve of in life, it wasn’t a big deal, because that was their life to live. I didn’t stand by idly, but it didn’t affect my life to the point of destruction. My wedding day was perfectly orchestrated, and my honeymoon had an itinerary to keep us organized and fully maximize our time on vacation. While that might drive some people nuts, my husband loved that he could just sit back and relax and know that we had fully experienced a place after we visited.
Now, however, the way those traits easily worked in my life has changed. My perfectionism and need to control has gotten worse by the years. It has been kicked into overdrive with no signs of slowing down. I am very much aware of it, but I am at a loss as to how to control it.
I have pulled away and distanced myself from family members who smoke or who have beliefs that I very much disagree with, because I think of how awful it would be if they influenced my daughter. It’s ridiculous, I know, but I can’t help it. No one besides my husband or I can drive with my daughter in the car, because what if. If someone wants alone time with her, my instinct is to reply, “Why is that necessary with a toddler?” See, I want to control every word that is spoken to her, every experience she has with others, everything.
Before I became a mother, I had always been very tolerant and loving. Now, I am far more judgmental and less accepting than I used to be. Some claim this is just a part of getting older, but I think, for me, it’s a negative part of becoming a parent. Before my daughter, I could accept so much of the world the way it was, and I felt everyone was entitled to live their own life according to their own beliefs. I still think people have that right, but I don’t feel as accepting about it on the inside. It’s because I am so frightened that someone’s beliefs are going to influence my daughter and send her down a wrong path.
Other things have changed too. I’m more sensitive and can cry at the drop of a hat. I am more negative and affected by so much of what’s going on in the world. Gone are the days of people asking me how I am always so optimistic about everything. I worry constantly. What kind of world will my child grow up in? So much of these things are completely out of my control. I know this, but it makes me try to control what I can even more.
Becoming a mom has made me a lot of things. It has me made me love so much beyond any love I have ever known and more than I ever thought possible. When my daughter had to have major surgery, it made me have a type of strength and courage greater than any I have ever known. It made me see the joy again in so many little things and rediscover the world through a child’s eyes. It reignited within me the spark for teaching, as my daughter is my most important student. It has made me a student in learning new things for her benefit and learning new things from her. It has done all these things and more.
What becoming a mom hasn’t done is make me a better person, but I’ll keep trying.