No more naps is just the beginning.As a Parentables video blogger, I was recently asked the question: What do you hate most about being a parent?
The easy, obvious answer is sleep deprivation. But the real answer is the fact that life is far more complicated now. Being sleep deprived wouldn't have been that big of a deal before children. So you had a lazy Saturday and took a nap on the couch. That's not an option anymore.
Life is more complicated when you become a parent, because, like it or not, you become a role model. Every little decision you make affects someone else. Everything you do becomes a teaching opportunity.
Ironically, this is also what I love most about being a parent; it forces me to make decisions that make me a better person. And while that makes life harder in the short term, taking the high road eventually provides rewards and happiness that I couldn't have gained by doing the easy thing.
For example, breaking open a bag of Doritos is laden with significance beyond the size of my assets. Food choices morph beyond issues of comfort and gluttony. I need to ask myself: why I would set such an example? Am I eating because I'm stressed out? Then I need to focus on behaviors that will help me manage my feelings rather than stuffing them down with food. Of course, this also presents the opportunity for the simple lesson in the basics of nutrition, and what makes a healthy snack. A Dorito is no longer just a Dorito. It represents the far-reaching consequences of the impression left on a child's mind.
Keeping house becomes a major life skill that needs to be taught. If there's a day when I simply don't feel like picking up after myself, then too bad. Either I do it and lead by example, or I'm faced with the consequences of a system that's broken down. One day of not picking up after oneself looks a whole lot worse when the amount of stuff is impacted by the number of miniature people living in the house.
Organization and time management were things I was happy to fail at before becoming a mom. Because frankly, it didn't matter all that much; I was organized enough and managed my time well enough to be a dazzling success in the working world. I was good enough.
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Now that I want to give my daughter the best shot she has at living a fulfilled and happy life, every choice I make, every example I set takes on greater significance. I will make mistakes. I make them every day. I'm only human. But having a child makes me try harder than I ever imagined I would.
The happy accident in all of this is that when I succeed at making better choices, it might feel inconvenient or tiresome at first, but it makes my own life better. Yes, it's hard. It requires superhuman strength and energy. But I'm becoming a happier person in the process of parenting.
This post was written by Katie Morton.
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