Generally speaking I’m a bit of a pushover. I can talk the talk when it comes to being assertive but in practice I’m the type to look at my feet and mumble whilst I’m subjected to some minor injustice then get all angry and upset about it later.
This is probably the thing that frustrates me the most about myself. Having Luisa has really made me aware of this aspect of my personality as it’s holding me back from being a confident parent & I’ve had enough. I don’t want her to grow up to be a chronic apologiser who’d rather let someone else take the credit than make a scene. I’m not talking about being cocky and walking over others here – I mean having the confidence to stand up for herself and accept that it’s okay to like yourself & feel proud of your own accomplishments.
While all this was whizzing around in my head I stumbled upon ‘The Life Changing Magic of not Giving a Fuck’ by Sarah Knight. It’s an amusing homage to the popular Marie Kondo book aimed to free you from the unreasonable standards you’ve set for yourself. The bit that really resonated with me was Sarah’s description of her irrational desire to please others at her expense.
As a self-described overachieving perfectionist, I was anxious throughout my childhood and adolescence. I tackled numerous projects, tasks and tests to prove myself worthy of respect and admiration from my family, friends and even casual acquaintances. I socialised with people I did not like in order to appear benevolent; I did jobs that were beneath me in order to appear helpful; I ate things that disgusted me in order to appear gracious. This was no way to live.
If this sounds even a tiny bit like you I really recommend that you either get the book or read this less sweary Guardian article if blue language offends you. Sarah chronicles her own experiences of trying to spend less time and energy on things and people that don’t make you happy and implores you to take up her ‘NotSorry Method’. It’s pretty simple – You decide what you don’t give a fuck about, and then stop giving a fuck about those things. (Considerably easier said than done) The whole thing isn’t based around the idea of being selfish or cruel. It’s meant to get you to decide what matters to you and devote your energy to those people or things. In turn you can stop worrying about the things that you really don’t care about.
This might sound selfish, and it is, but it also creates a better world for everyone around you. You’ll stop worrying about all the things you have to do and start focusing on the things you want to do. You’ll be happier and more genial at work; your colleagues and clients will benefit. You’ll be better rested and more fun around friends. You might spend more time with your family – or you might spend less, making those moments you do share all the more precious. And you’ll have more time, energy and/or money to devote to living your best life.
Now I could ramble on about the book and Sarah’s opinions for ages here but I’m getting away from my original point. Being an utter wimp is holding me back from being the confident parent I want to be.
Basically what I’m saying is I need to have some backbone and be Luisas advocate whilst she can’t speak for herself.
When I make a decision about something to do with Luisa it isn’t on a whim. It’s after a lot of thought, reading of reputable books and articles, speaking to other parents I respect and listening to my intuition. It might seem like I’ve just decided to go along with some new age parenting mumbo jumbo but I can absolutely assure the entire world that I take nothing to do with my little lady lightly.
Some of the parenting choices I make are a little unconventional but I feel most of them are common sense and wholly child-centred. For example, I embrace attachment parenting and baby led weaning. I prefer natural products when they are available. I don’t like her to watch TV or play on phones/tablets. I’m not interested in keeping her up unreasonably late / skipping her naps to fit in with special plans/adult routines.
You might be on my wave length and also parent in a similar way but I’m finding I’m being met with increasing judgement for the things mentioned above. And I’ve decided I really do not care. I am not sorry. I won’t pander to your insecurities by saying I’ll consider doing things your way. I’m far from perfect and I’ve never done this before but as I said when I do something for/with Luisa it is always following careful consideration and with her best interest at heart.
So there you have it. The first step on my journey to being a bad ass mother —
I will update you very soon on my journey to becoming a more confident parent and hopefully show you how I’ve managed to implement my new found assertiveness for L’s good.