Of all the lessons that I am bound to learn from my kids, perhaps the biggest lesson is one that will take me the rest of my life to figure out: being a Type A personality, and being a parent. I’ve chosen purposefully to separate the two. I could have written “Being A Type A Parent” – but I feel like the two are mutually exclusive.
I don’t think it’s possible to be a Type A Parent. Well, perhaps it is possible, but I am trying really hard not to, and herein lies my lesson.
This Type A stuff can be tricky to deal with. I know, because I’ve had to live with myself my whole life. For any task that has ever been thrown at me, if I can’t get started on it right away and see it efficiently to completion, it drives me insane. When my to-do-list becomes excessive and it doesn’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything, it drives me insane. When I’m running late, it drives me insane. If there is an excessive amount of unfinished laundry, it drives me insane. If the dishes pile up really high, it drives me insane. When there is a ridiculous amount of clutter in my house, it drives me insane. While my Type A drive has served me well in many areas of my life, it can make me incredibly difficult to live with (like…my husband has no idea why laundry is so important to me). More importantly, however, every single example I just provided does not align with having small children in the house. I say it again: herein lies my lesson.
Of all the jobs, goals, or tasks I’ve ever taken on in my life, absolutely nothing is more important me than being the best parent I can be. Nothing. I’ve had to recognize the battle of fighting my personality and letting many things go, because it’s more important to be present for my children than to have a de-cluttered house and a checked off to-do list.
Every single day, I’m walking the fine line of honouring my innate nature that tells me to get shit done, with having the patience of allowing my kids to be kids. The phrase “Hurry Up” is something I am actively trying to eliminate from my vocabulary. Because while my mind is saying go go go, my beautiful, carefree daughter might be walking home with me, and literally stopping to smell the roses. No word of a lie, she stopped at least 10 times on our walk home the other day – once to look at the bird that was tweeting nearby, once to pick up and blow a fuzzy dandelion into the wind, once to smell the gorgeous lilacs in an neighbour’s garden, once to say hi to some ants, and more than once to tell me we couldn’t step on any cracks. In these moments, if I can’t interrupt my Type A nature to take in the gift of a child who is living completely in the present, I am losing out on my lesson.
Sometimes, I notice my kids picking up on my obsessive drive to get things done, and trying to emulate my crazy behaviours. When it’s time for the kids to change into their pyjamas, they don’t even bother with the hamper – into the laundry pile things go. The other day, my son took off his socks, and ran to the washing machine to put them in there – looking at me proudly when he did it. On one hand, I was proud of him for doing something with his laundry and learning to clean up. On another hand, I really hoped I wasn’t royally screwing my kids up by not letting them just throw their laundry on the damn floor.
I don’t know how this lesson will continue to progress. Maybe I will emerge from the other end of this parenting business as a hybrid personality of patience and drive. Perhaps I will form two separate personalities, using whichever personality is most convenient for each situation. Perhaps I will never really be able to let go of this Type A business. Whatever the case, I’m working on it. I want to be the best mother I can be. I’ve heard more than once, that if your true self met with how you see yourself and how others see you, that the three of you wouldn’t recognize each other. For me, this statement resonates profoundly as Type A personality, and as a parent.