Lately, I have been really thinking about the parent that I want to be. I have had some great role models. Women that I watch parent with love, patience, calm, and respect. That is the kind of parent I want to be and I have been thinking a lot about what that looks like.
Being in graduate school means that I have a lot to do all the time. There is literally always something I should or could be working on. The first step toward being the parent I want to be is to be present with my child for at least some time, every day. There is always something I should be doing: reading, writing, researching, laundry, report writing, protocol scoring, cleaning... the list goes on and on. I feel like everyone has a list. I am trying to, at least once a day, put away the list and be truly present with Caedmon. Right now, that is after I pick him up from daycare each day. We come home, have some oatmeal and play. I want him to be able to count on that time with me. I also try to keep my weekends as sacred, where I have no agenda; however, that isn't always possible. He needs time when he has my undivided attention, so I make sure to give that to him as much as I can.
Another way I have been working on becoming the parent I want to be is by controlling my emotions, or at least attempting to. Caedmon deserves a mom that can stay calm and be caring and compassionate rather than upset and frustrated. Even at the grand old age of almost 5 months, he can be extremely frustrating at times. When I am trying to get us out the door and he is screaming in his carseat. When it is 4am and he is awake for the umpteenth time. When he spit up all over me for the sixth time that day. When he sticks his foot in the poop and then tries to stick it in his mouth. You know, the usual. I have quickly discovered that my default reaction to frustrating circumstances is...frustration. Not surprising; however, I am working to change the default. I want to be able to stay calm with my children and that starts now. I try to remember that he is a baby and doesn't do things deliberately to annoy me. At least not yet. And even when he does, I want my response to be love, not frustration. Don't get me wrong, I think it is just fine to admit to being frustrated with our kids; however, that is not the reaction I want them to see. I don't have this one down yet, but I am working on it.
The other main way I am striving to become the parent I want to be is to have healthy habits and be healthy. I feel like healthy habits start at home and I want my children to see me as healthy and happy and to pick up on those habits. This is what I have struggled with the most. While I was pregnant, I reverted to some pretty unhealthy habits in the name of being pregnant. I have always been a soda addict, but I was doing better at curbing it, but once I was pregnant and limiting my caffeine, tea was no longer an option for a lunch or dinner beverage. I started getting caffeine free sodas when I got tired of water, which was always. I have never been much of a water drinker. Then we got a Soda Stream for Christmas so now I can make my own soda for a fraction of the cost and have it waiting for me in the refrigerator all the time. I am trying to curb the soda habit again. I am trying to have the discipline to make carbonated water and juice drinks with the Soda Stream instead of sugary soda. Portion control is another big one for me. I adopted the "I can eat as much as I want because I am pregnant" philosophy which was only reinforced by my midwife's constant praise of my perfect weight gain record. The consequence was my stomach stretching and now when I try to cut my portions back to a healthy size, I feel hungry all day. I am working to start reclaiming my health after being pregnant. I want to be back to a healthy weight and back to healthy habits, but this is going to take more work than anything else. One way to motivate myself is some accountability and transparency, so I am going to take anyone who reads this along for the ride back to health.
Before I got pregnant with Caedmon, I weighed 155lbs. I felt that I could use to lose about 10 pounds at that point, so my goal was 145lbs. At 9 months pregnant, I weighed 185lbs. I gained 30lbs over the course of my pregnancy. Immediately after delivery, I dropped to 170lbs, but then after the holidays, I was back up to 175lbs. I would like to at least get back to 155lbs, but ideally, 145lbs, which would be an ideal weight for my height and build. That is a weight loss goal of 20-30lbs. I am not going to set a time limit, I just want to lose it, so with every blog update, I will give an update on my journey toward reclaiming my health as well, that way, I am being held accountable by wanting to give a good report.
That is the parent I want to be. What kind of parent do you want to be?