In partnership with Target I was asked to write this blog post about perspective and how it changes after becoming a parent , I wrote the following but I must disclaim that my perspective changes frequently as I roll deeper into parenthood but this is where I’m at now.
Perspective changes with age, ebbs and flows through the years like an ocean tide, but never as radically as when you become a new parent. Then perspective shifts like a Tidal Wave that moves like molasses. It’s shape shifting, purpose driving, and soul shaking kind of stuff that nothing can prepare you for. It’s like you’re a whole new person, but you’re not. In the beginning, when your friends and family haven’t quite caught up to the new you, it’s impossible for them to understand your new perspective. I know that before I was a mom, I never understood my friends with kids, I never understood why they were so lame after kids, even the super fun ones… until I became the lame one myself (well, sorta). Above all, I never understood why parents lived at Target!
There are so many layers of changes that occur during the transformation in to parenthood that it’s truly mind boggling. First, I was the footloose and fancy-free Linda, living my best life (or so I thought). Want that handbag? It’s mine! Want that trip to Cabo in first class, while staying at the IT five-star hotel? YES. Want to stay up all night dancing in the ritzy club with the pounding music flowing through every fiber of my being? Um yes, because I have ZERO to do tomorrow. Boom. Sky is the limit, friends. Here’s a Cosmo for YOU, and YOU, and YOU!
Then I was the pregnant Linda, and I knew exactly the kind of parent I would be. I knew Elle would never watch television the first year of her life (it’s her brain pathways, people!), she’d eat real food, baby food I made myself, and food that nourished her body. She’d sleep in her own bed after three months, and she’d never throw a fit in public because I’d read all the parenting books and was going to excel at this whole mothering gig. Happiest Baby on the Block was like a tool in my toolbox. Elle would be completely bilingual by two, able to recite the English AND Spanish alphabet forwards AND backwards, simply because we (Ever and I) rule. Plans, plans, plans, I made so many plans in that nine months of pregnancy, and I was prepared.
Just as suddenly as I was fully prepared (eye roll here), that beautiful baby was placed on my chest and my entire world came crashing down. How could my perspective stay the same when I had zero idea that this kind of love was even possible? I looked at that baby’s face and felt like I was drowning in love. Come baby, sleep in my bed. Here toddler, you had avocado, chicken, and veggies for lunch, want a cookie? Oh boy, she’s throwing a tantrum at the dance studio, darn kids. While many of my parenting perspectives stayed solid, others changed gradually, slowly, to fit our needs and wants. One place that became my refuge and an unexpected perspective change was Target (not to mention it was her very first outing as a newborn. I found myself browsing the baby aisles and talking to other parents doing to same. I not only found baby goods but comfort and answers. I found a great bottle feeding system and a formula that worked for Elle once I stopped stopped breastfeeding, I found organic baby foods for the days I just didn’t have time to make my own, I found the cutest tiny “totally unnecessary but so necessary” outfits, above all else I found a new perspective, one that freed my from my perfect mom expectations that I had placed on myself before Elle was born.
Let’s skip way back to childhood, and other ways I’ve changed, yet stayed the same. For me personally, growing up as an only child for almost 13 years made me a bit self-centered, I was a bit selfish. I remember vividly getting new puppie(s) (I was a bit spoiled) and those first few nights, you know the ones when they cry all night because they miss their family, and I’d think there is no way I can get up all night to a crying baby, no way! However, then you have babies and you just do it, because suddenly there is nothing more important than your child, not even yourself. This new perspective served me well, something bigger and so much more important than myself. Parenthood gifted me a new purpose, thus making other issues not as important, like sleep, basic hygiene, and a social life. Kidding (kind of), but these, at times, did take a back seat to my children. I’m referring to bigger life issues, like family problems and work stress. Everything you thought was such a big deal before, suddenly, doesn’t seem so big. It’s crazy that such a little person can make such a big perspective change happen.
Another perspective shift was how I viewed and treated others. After my first child, I was overcome with a euphoric joy and remember feeling softer (if you know me well, you know I’m a bit on the dryer side, my family jokes that I’m as cuddly as a cactus). I remember being a little bit nicer to everyone that crossed my path. I was gifted a small amount of empathy to bestow upon others. At the same time, I remember suddenly not having time or patience for people that drained my energy. I made it a point not to try to have a relationship with people that made it difficult to have a giving-taking partnership with them. Nobody has time for that anymore; I have diapers to change, babies to feed, and moments to cherish.
My new perspective turned into a new lease on life and I’m loving the ride! Now I understand all my “lame” friends are truly living their best life and why they live at Target (and those who don’t shop there online http://tgt.biz/wcy9r ) Who knew?