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Type-B people are the best. I love how spontaneous and fun-loving and carefree they always appear to be... probably because I am basically the exact opposite of that. I am Type-A to my very core. I despise change, I thrive on routine and I am a total rule follower. I also have a fairly defined way of doing, well, pretty much everything. I'm pretty OK with it most of the time, because when it comes down to it, the world really needs people like me. Type-A peeps may not be always be the life of the party, but we sure do know how to host one without forgetting the important things like, you know, utensils.
The thing that I've realized about being a Type-A person though is that it doesn't make for a very fun parenting situation. I'm pretty sure becoming a parent has amplified my Type-A personality and as a result I've become more aware that I'm not always a bright ray of sunshine to be around. I find myself embracing an almost dictatorship a good chunk of the time. We have to have lunch at this time and go to the park at this time and "You have to eat at least three of your carrots before you can be excused" and "There's no way you can wear that outside the house!" Sometimes I exhaust myself as I enforce the rules all day long and say no way more than I'm saying yes.
I had started questioning myself, wondering "Does this all really matter?" I mean, aside from the fact that I think that glittery princess dress is totally heinous, does it really matter if my daughter wears it to the grocery store? Or does it matter if she only eats two pieces of broccoli instead of the usual three? The answer is: not really. As much as I think it's OK that I have an order-craving personality, I also don't want my children to grow up with the only memories of their mom being ones where she was barking orders and saying no to anything that was even remotely fun.
If my daughter wants to take 8,000 stuffed animals to bed with her, is it really going to hurt anyone?
And so I have been working toward (heavy emphasis on the working part) embracing a new parenting mantra. When my children ask to do something that I think is probably ill-advised or a bit ridiculous, I stop and ask myself, "Why the hell not?" I'm not talking about things that are super unsafe or anything, just things that are a little silly. If my daughter wants to take 8,000 stuffed animals to bed with her, is it really going to hurt anyone? I mean, sure she'll probably stay awake playing in her room for a while longer, but who cares? Sneaking a spoonful of ice cream as a pre-dinner snack? Why the hell not!? Taping her drawings to the outside of our house to display? Why the hell not!? Wearing her pajamas all day long? Why the hell not!? Jumping on the bed? Why the hell not?!
It's funny how four little words can change your view on parenting, but slowly they are. I mean, I'm not going to be suggesting any spontaneous family road trips or anything soon, but baby steps are making a difference. I will probably always be a Type-A person, but that doesn't mean I have to project it on my kids. This is their childhood and it should include at least a little fun.