If there’s one thing becoming a mom has taught me, it’s that I can’t possibly be in control of everything. Having kids has meant constantly recalculating my expectations because if I didn’t, I’d lose my mind every time my children changed theirs (“I don’t like sauce anymore,” was a statement I didn’t see coming). What a parent plans rarely manifests in real life, but there are childbirth decisions no one should take away from you. It learned I couldn’t control all the circumstances of labor and delivery, sure, but there were certain elements — like what flavor ice pops I wanted, at least — that were mine alone to decide.
Having a Type A personality can clash with the mechanics of being a parent. For example, I have learned that I must relax my urge to manage everything. When things don’t go my way, or even when they do and that brings everyone in the house to tears (“Sorry, but sauce is being made,” I’ll declare), I can’t get tense about it. I maintain autonomy in certain areas of my life — my hairstyle, my friends, my career — so I can accept that there are many other life choices that are not entirely up to me. Like reading the same bedtime story for the fourth night in a row. But my boredom with board books is nothing compared to the snuggly joy of having my little one cozied up to me, listening to that same story intently.
So while my life with kids reads less like a choose-your-own-adventure story and more like a dog-eared Dr. Seuss (“I do not like eggs, or ham, or anything that isn’t cereal,” is the 7-year-old’s latest battlecry), at least there were certain choices, like the ones I made during labor, that couldn’t be taken away from me.