On my personal blog this week, I wrote an essay introducing myself through my toddler, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda: Meet My Little Panda. In it, I talk about how many aspects of myself I see in my 2-1/2-year-old boy, as his personality becomes clear.
Pondering these connections also made me think about how much of my life revolves around him these days. In pre-KFP days, whether a day was good or not was defined by: how much I accomplished, how I felt, and how well things went. These days, no matter how much I achieve, my day rises or falls based on: how content he is, how well he eats, and whether he takes a nap! Before I became a mother, I underestimated how much my priorities would change. I find myself continually apologizing to friends for losing touch, because most days, it’s enough to take care of my son’s needs; keep up with household tasks like cleaning, laundry and cooking; and maybe get a little writing in.
This week on “The Simpsons,” Maggie goes through a period of self-assessment because she realizes that her mother was just as much of a high achiever in school. Yet, Maggie is determined not to turn out like her mother, and therefore, she swears that she’ll avoid such distractions as falling in love, which could lead to marriage, a family, and being a stay-at-home mom. I remember when I used to feel that way, myself, believing that my self-worth could only come from achieving something in my chosen career of writing/journalism.
If you had told that version of me — from roughly 20 years ago — about my life today, I wonder what she’d think. But my 22-year-old self could never have understood how rewarding it is to watch my son grow and develop. He is an amazing little person, and I feel like one of the best achievements of my life was bringing him into the world.
Yes, I still have career goals, but now I’m trying to find a balance between those goals and taking care of the guy in the T-Rex shirt sitting next to me.