Being a parent has made me a better person. Sure, I now have a tiny child who relies on me to keep her safe, well-fed and healthy--but, I also have a tiny child who repeats everything I do and thus calls to the forefront all of my faults, without fail.
Regardless of having a child, I have always been someone who seeks to improve. Perhaps it's because I have so many negative qualities. Just kidding, I'm amazing. But really, I'm someone who believes life is about evolving, growing and continuing to learn. If I'm not always seeking to become a healthier person--both physically and mentally--I'm seeking to improve my career skills, my parenting skills and my intellect. Or at the very least, my ability to get through an entire edition of The New Yorker without get too derailed by all the big words.
Having a child pushes personal boundaries, not to mention the hormonal changes that can severely alter how just the mundane day-to-day feels. I am lucky in that I did not suffer from postpartum depression, but I did suffer from what I like to call, post-postpartum depression. Who knows, maybe it was postpartum depression.
In an effort to keep my life together, I discovered the podcast--The Lively Show. Jess Lively has since evolved her business model, but originally she held The Life With Intention Online Course. The course was amazing at helping me adjust my priorities, while helping me discover what I wanted to do with my life and how I wanted to show up each day. More importantly, her course helped me understand the importance of personal boundaries, especially when it came to ignoring and filtering judgments from other parents. You know what I mean.
From there I discovered Brooke Castillo of the The Life Coach School Podcast. Last year I invested in and participated in her intense Self-Coaching Scholars program. I highly, highly recommend this class to anyone and everyone. Honestly, just listen to her podcast to get a glimpse of what she is about and the topics she covers--which range from learning to deal with negative emotion to time management.
I have always been a pro-therapy kind of gal. Honestly, what's not to love about therapy? Sure it can be a financial investment, but you get to spend an hour talking to a stranger about whatever you want, without judgment. Plus, it helps.
Most recently I have discovered a new motivating factor for self-improvement--my child. Not that this comes as any surprise, but when my daughter walks up to me, holding a pretend phone and says, "Hold on 5 minutes, I'm busy with work"--it's time to re-evaluate my priorities.
The other day The Beau and I were arguing. Nothing too intense, but a basic we've-been-married-for-five-years-and-have-a-mortage-and-a-child-and-work-commitments kind of argument. Later the next day, I was scolding Mae for a tantrum related to her clothing or food. Verbatim, she repeated exactly what I had said to The Beau during our argument. I won't go into the details, but The Beau and I took one look at each other and said, "OH NO!"
Children hear and remember everything. Mae especially is like a teeny, tiny stubborn elephant. Last year during a picnic, The Beau ate the last piece of sushi we had brought along to share. Of course, the last piece had been Mae's piece of sushi and one year later, she still hasn't let it go and still reminds The Beau of the time "Daddy ate the sushi."
So these days, my need for self-improvement it isn't about achieving a work-life balance--it's about ensuring my child doesn't repeat something horrible I have done or said in front of a bunch of strangers. Or worse--my mother.