Parenting is the hardest job I've ever had. I think a lot of people would agree with that statement. I have a job, sometimes it is hard and busy and sometimes it is not and I can write a blog post :)
But parenting, never leaves my thoughts. I become consumed with how I'm raising my kids, am I doing it right, will they be screwed up forever, how do I avoid mistakes that will turn them into horrible/sad/asshole/(insert any terrible description here) people?
I know in my head that kids become their parents. I am so like my mom. In so many ways. I don't really look like her and we don't really have the same personality. I can be very moody (like my dad), I rarely see her in a bad mood. I can wallow (like my dad), I never see her do that. Sometimes I feel like the whole world is against me and things are unfair (like my dad), but I rarely hear my mom complain. But sometimes I'll hear my voice or catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or in a picture and it almost takes my breath away at how much I am like her.
So one day, Ainsley will probably think the same thing. How do I make sure that she ends up with the best parts of me?
I have never had the best self-esteem. I don't have a lot of confidence in myself. I'm shy and I often worry about drawing attention to myself. I make excuses. I never admit to being good at anything. I never want someone to think I'm loud or obnoxious, so I stay quiet. I do not take compliments well.
But I wasn't always that way.
As a kid, I loved to put on shows and act in plays and sing in church. Anything to get on stage and draw attention. And better yet, I thought I was amazing at all of it. At some point that stopped and I just wanted to be invisible. I wasn't bullied, wasn't picked on more than any other kid, wasn't abused. No mega trauma happened in my life. Yet right around middle school, my whole personality changed. I can remember walking through the halls and just trying to blend into the walls so no one would talk to me or notice me.
High school was the same. I can barely remember any kids from high school. There are a few that I was friends with and there are a few others that I am Facebook friends with. But this year is my 20 year reunion (sidenote: WTF?!?!? How is that possible?) and I ended up in the Facebook group and I have no recollection of these people. I've been looking them up in my yearbook to try and remember faces. And I can, with 100% certainty, tell you that they have no idea who I am either. Because in high school, I perfected being invisible. Never too good or too smart or too friendly, but not bad either. Just right down that average line.
I'm getting off on a tangent here, because this post isn't about me and my issues. It's about Ainsley.
My girl, who is so full of energy and happiness and sunshine. So totally over the moon about herself. She can stare at herself in the mirror for hours if I let her (I did the same). She loves to sing and dance (so did I). She'll try anything. Loves to be the center of attention. Adores pictures and videos of herself. She even has started her own "how to" video series. All her idea. This girl has so much confidence...
Lately, she's been saying things. She and Freddie will play a video game and she'll quit, saying "I'm not good at that, Freddie is way better than me." She and a friend will do cartwheels or rolls and she'll want to stop saying "I can't do those."
And then, at the end of one of her videos...How to make Mint Chocolate Cupcakes...she was icing a cupcake all by herself for the first time ever. And on video she said "So this one I put green icing on...it looks horrible I know, because I'm terrible at it."
And my heart broke. Tears stung my eyes. Because here she was being so brave to do something she had never done, on camera, to post to You Tube, and she was talking about how bad she was at it...
Just. Like. Me.
And in that moment, it finally sank in. Something I've known since I was pregnant with her. Something I've tried to instill. But something I have never practiced in front of her. I can not expect to make her a strong, independent, confident woman unless I show it to her.
So really this is a post about my issues, because I can't let them become Ainsley's. It's not easy to change 30 years of doubting myself, judging myself, criticizing myself for every move. But I'm trying. And I'll keep trying until I truly believe it so Ainsley can keep her confidence.
Here's her first video..."How To Brush Your Teeth and Hair"...more to come.