What with this human growing inside me, I've been thinking a lot about the kind of parent I want to be, and really, I'm realizing, that I have to first think about the kind of person I'd like to be. Because the truth is....I'm not there yet.
For starters, I'm horribly selfish. I mean it. I'm the world's worst roommate. I never clean, I eat all the leftovers, and I nap on the couch- inconveniencing everyone around me. Seriously awful. It is a wonder anyone who lived with me in college still speaks to me, and even more of a wonder that I am still happily married to such a wonderful guy. To top it all off, I'm downright bossy and I can't control the volume of my voice. Seriously, I'm a delight.
Therefore, it's natural that when I think of this baby coming in March, I panic. I mean, there are so. many. ways. to parent. I've tossed and turned and thought a lot about it, and I'm still not sure what kind of parent I want to be, but I do know that I have a few things to work on before this human starts looking up to me as their first life example in this big crazy world. So I'm trying to make some changes.
I've decided I want to be a person that makes others feel good when they're around me. Sounds easy, right? Don't be an asshole, have a sense of humor, and people will like you. But making others feel good after spending time with you is a different beast. I've realized that I feel best around people who make me laugh, but not necessarily at others' expense. People who listen to me as much or more than they talk, and people who value what I have to say and make me feel important. I feel the best around people who make me think (especially when I don't want to) and who illuminate my bad habits by showing me a better way.
Spotting these kinds of people is really easy. Being one is really, really hard.
I talk a LOT. Like, a lot a lot. I think it's why I became a teacher- so I always have a captive audience. (seriously, it's a nice perk) But to make people feel good about themselves, I have to listen. I have to ground what I say in what was said before me, which means I have to listen in a more holistic way, instead of dividing my time. I have to work to make the people who are important to me feel that way, by inconveniencing myself at times to make them feel better. I need to be more thoughtful about holding doors, helping others, and being kind to strangers- even if they are the scary people on the bus.
I guess I want my kid to feel good about being with me most of the time, but most importantly, I want this baby to be the kind of person that is...well...kind. That helps others. That is better than I am at being naturally thoughtful. That adds to the world. But before that can really happen, he or she is going to need an example. Thank goodness these kiddos take a long time to cook, because I'm going to need the next five months to work on making others happy more naturally. In fact, I may need all the practice I can get.