When the “light of your life” illuminates your character defects.

I’ve become painfully aware that my toddler has a secret power. This baby used to simply be “the light of my life”. Now I understand (painfully), that she has developed a special ability to shine a harsh & unforgiving light on my character defects.

Here’s where I’m falling down on the job as a human and as a mom:

1. Patience.
There are moments in your life as a mom that seem to last 14 hours. Like when she puts on her pants by herself. Or walks down a street, and stops to touch (or break!) everything. Or keeps putting her boots on the wrong feet.

Which triggers:
My need for Control / my Ego – I want to grab those boots out of her hand, and stuff her feet into them.

Which then triggers:
self-loathing — A voice inside taunts: “Why can’t you be a better mom? Why can’t you just chill?”

2. Anxiety.
Maybe this is “normal” but my toddler is intent on doing anything & everything that approximates danger (going near a heavily trafficked street, climbing the tallest ladder at the playground). As a result, my anxiety – and blood pressure – goes through the roof.

Which triggers:
Anger (My Temper) – have you ever said to your kid, “you are acting like a jerk face” when they refuse to come down from a wall they shouldn’t be walking on? Because I have. Nice, real nice. And real mature, too. Way to go mom. (there’s that self-loathing again)

3. Selfishness.
Sometimes I don’t want to read “The Hungry Caterpillar”. Sometimes I want to read a book called “Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” or something equally gruesome. Or at least written for adults!

Which triggers:
Envy – oh how I envy my friends who don’t have kids… how they sleep in on weekends and watch Netflix in the middle of a Sunday.

They say admitting your problem is the first step. And that awareness is a good thing. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

There’s hope though! My toddler has also resurrected my silly side. I’ve never been so willing to play the fool (the horse, the train, the anything!) if it will get a laugh from my kid. She also regularly brings me back to presence. We can sit together and build an entire Lego city like nothing else in the world exists right now. And that feels pretty good, given the state of the world right now. I give more hugs and more kisses and more love, thanks to that kiddo. So maybe, she is simply shining a light on my humanity. Maybe, I’m just human after all.

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