There are many reasons I know I will be okay as a parent. The main one is how excellent my own parents are. Take for example, these recent WhatsApp conversations with my parents:
Me: I just found a cookie crumb actually in my ear. I‘m concerned about what this says about my suitability as a Mother
Mum: I think it says more about my ability to mother!!
Me: I think the weather has given me siege mentality, I’m storing food everywhere, just in case the floods get worse.
Mum: It’s either that or the cat is putting crumbs in your ears
Me: I have the Christmas song Little Donkey stuck in my head. There can be no possible reason for this.
Dad: Try I’m the Happiest Christmas Tree for variation.
Me: It isn’t working…
About 15 minutes later my phone rang, it was my Mum. When I answered, she and my Dad burst into an enthusiastic rendition of Any Dream Will Do from Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Then they accidentally hung up. Then they rang me back to tell me they were going for a walk. I woke up the next day singing Joseph. Happy. That’s parenting, right there. It’s also mild insanity, but there you go.
In case that beginning wasn’t a fairly obvious clue, this is going to a be a true drivel post.
Last week I was getting increasingly anxious that something was wrong with my pregnancy. I became convinced that my barely-there bump was just the result of my on-going love affair with mini BabyBels, and that I hadn’t felt any kicks because something was up. It culminated in me sobbing my heart out to my husband, spiralling into panic, convinced that everything was wrong. I do know this is melodramatic and kind of insane, but irrational anxiety is exactly that, irrational. I’d been waking up every day for over a week from dreams about the funeral of my child. I was starting to lose my reason.
The next day, sat at my desk after lunch, gently contemplating some invoicing, Minilase kicked me. Three times in a row. 20 weeks into our relationship, and he or she is already telling me to stop worrying. It’s okay in there. All is well.
Needless to say, I burst into tears. Apart from anything else, it’s the first time I’ve been told to chill out by a foetus.
My sister is currently waging a vendetta against me. I know, I know, we’ve held ourselves up as examples of awesome sisterly love before now, how dare we vendetta? Well, Emma is determined to get retribution because I persuaded her personal trainer, who is also my personal trainer and friend, to give her a session where every exercise was interspersed with burpees. If you don’t know what burpees are, suffice to say, they hurt.
Before you judge me too harshly for this hilarious but admittedly mean decision, let me explain.
The thing is, I hate hearing my sister put herself down, it makes me hurt inside. I can’t bear that she doesn’t see the amazing woman I see. It’s painful to see the people you love look at themselves and see only their flaws, I feel the same about my brother. If I could have one superpower, it would be the ability to show the people I love themselves through my eyes and the eyes of others. Emma would see how bloody excellent she is. Nicky would truly understand that he is the cleverest, kindest and downright funniest guy I have ever known.
And yet, I know how hard it is to stop seeing your own flaws. I am a hypocrite. I don’t celebrate myself, I have impossibly high standards and I give myself no quarter. Weeks ago, I told my Dad that I felt like I was awful at being pregnant because the one thing everyone told me I would have to do in pregnancy, relax and go with the flow, I cannot do. I’m beating myself up about it daily. No matter how many people tell me to relax, and let my body take control, I can’t stop fighting it. During my first trimester I could not accept that I would feel so awful for so long. Of course it didn’t stop me feeling awful, and I think it made me awfully unpleasant to be around at times, but I just couldn’t let it happen. Even now, I cannot simply give in and accept that I might feel this tired for months.
To me, this feels like a failure, because I’m supposed to let go, to be zen. I know I need to let my body be in control. And it’s hard because I’m just no good at it. My Dad, though, never sees me as a failure. To him it was simple; my inability to accept things is my greatest strength. It gives me my stubborn refusal to give up, my determination, the things that have helped me succeed at many things I didn’t think I could do.
I want to give this gift to other people, but it’s hard. I tried to make Emma text me one good thing about herself every day, and as motivation I told her that she didn’t, I would find a way to make her regret it. She couldn’t do it. Hence, burpee hell. Those burpees were really a lesson in how much I believe she’s amazing. Also, it was very funny.
So, this is my Monday challenge for you today, readers. Think of the one thing you most dislike about yourself, or the thing you most frequently beat yourself up about, and try and see it through positive eyes. Then comment, and shout about why it makes you awesome. I dare you all (but especially you, Emma, if you’re reading. You know what’ll happen if you don’t…)