Parenthood is hard. Plain and simple. Sure, there are many things I can list that I love about being a mom. But, it doesn't change the fact that this is the single most difficult thing I have ever done.
I have an amazing partner to co-parent with. He is a phenomenal Dad and I am so thankful that baby L has such a fabulous Daddy. Despite this, I've noticed lately that I have been focusing on what's wrong. On the imperfections. On the things I wish were happening that aren't. When I realized it, the whole thing just made me say "yuck." It can become toxic fast.
I started to ask myself a few important questions. First, is he being mean to me? ....No. Is he being abusive in any way? ....No. Is he being dishonest or deceitful? ....No. Okay, so far so good. I'm not focusing on the negative stuff because of a major problem between us.
So, what do I actually want out of my relationship with him? ....Well, I want to have that feeling of being in love most every day. I want the butterflies in my belly and the teasing and the bantering. I want the coyness and the suggestiveness. I want the fun and the happiness and just a little bit of the feeling of being carefree when we're together. Am I getting that? What's standing in the way? Is this just the stress of being a new parent?
I spent some time thinking about why I respond to stressors the way I do. Why I respond to people, relationships, and social situations the way I always have. And I realized that for the most part, I've been responding to others around me in a pretty negative way. I dug a little deeper. The way I've been feeling has more to do with people and situations that are no longer part of my life than with those that I see everyday. It's the old tired baggage I've been lugging around with me.
I know a few people that haven't been able to move on past their emotional baggage. I know how it makes me feel when I spend time with them and they are trying to beat life into this tired, old, crappy baggage of theirs. And I know I don't want my husband or my kids to feel like that around me. It's time to dump it at the curb and walk away.
So I'm conducting an experiment. I am keeping to myself when I have something negative to say. I'm really focused on asking myself "is what I'm about to say positive? is it necessary?" before I actually get the words out. Obviously, sometimes you can't just talk about the good stuff. Sometimes there's a safety risk or there's something that is wrong that just can't be ignored. But, even in those moments, sometimes there's a better way to say what needs to be said.
We are two days into this project to change my outlook. After two days, it seems like there are already a few subtle changes. I feel a little more pleasant overall. A little lighter. My husband's a little more social about the fun and unimportant stuff. There's a little flirting. So the experiment continues. Day by day.