Growing up I was particularly self conscious about things like dancing and singing. Basically, they were things I would just never do in public. My level of discomfort around those sorts of things was such that I wouldn’t even get up and have a dance at the Year 12 Formal.
I have always appreciated that line from the Smith’s song “I am the son and heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar”. My shyness was not disabling, but it made me less open to people and experiences. I can look back now on occasions that I wish I had just been a bit more laid back and easy going, and see the experiences I would have gained from them.
I think one of the greatest changes that has occurred in me since I became a parent is developing the ability to be more in the moment and not care what others think.
Right from the moment your kids enter the world parenthood challenges you to lose your inhibitions (people looking at your nether regions tends to do that).
As a first time mum I remember trying to get a noisy upset baby to quieten it down a bit in a public place when I was very self conscious, feeling like the centre of attention as the mother who can’t calm the child down. Somebody please give me a blanket to hide under…….
But oh so gradually kids creep up on you and dissolve your inhibitions. They cry enough time at the shops that you become more blase. You get used to swaying so much in public to rock a baby off to sleep that you’re half way to dancing in front of strangers anyway. You hear that many wiggles tunes that you can’t help but launch into the lyrics of the Big Red Car at any opportune (and sometimes an inopportune) moment.
And the big one… those kids steal your heart so much that you have to care about the world and the issues that matter in a way that you never have before. They cause you to stand up more for what you believe in. Even if it takes building up a whole lot more guts and confidence in order to step up to the plate.
Today I struggled under the weight (literally) of parenthood (my 3 year old son refused to walk and wanted to be carried and at 20kg it seriously was a struggle). Physically and emotionally it was really tough afternoon. I gave my kids my all and then some. So it’s good to reflect on the changes, and the perhaps unexpected gifts, that my cheeky monkeys have given me.
Do you have kids? How has becoming a parent changed you?