How Having Kids Made Me Stop Being A People Pleaser
I got my nails done this weekend. Quite the little treat of 60 minutes without a toddler wanting to sit on my lap and play with my hair while I attempt to use the restroom, without a baby wanting to cluster feed through another growth spurt, without my husband showing me some funny video on YouTube while I’m falling asleep in broad daylight. And I love all three of them, but a little break is also good too. Anyway, as I was getting them done, the lady excitedly told me about how much everyone loves their new massage chairs and turned it on for me. Aaaaand it felt like I was getting jabbed hard & repeatedly in the back with rolling pins. I didn’t say anything at first, partly because I hoped it would get better and partly because I was so excited to be out and about by myself that I didn’t care what was happening besides the fact that I was getting “Me Time”. When she turned it on a second time, I finally spoke up and asked her to please turn it off. Doesn’t seem like a big deal? Then you probably aren’t shy about voicing your opinion, something that has taken me a few years to do. But for this former people pleaser, it was huge deal. And this changed once I had kids, and here is why:
1) When you have a baby and/or a toddler, they kind of run the show. And I’m not saying that my toddler tells me she wants cookies for breakfast and I obey. I’m saying, I’d rather show up to a party an hour late because she was taking a long nap, than show up with a cranky tantrum throwing toddler in tow. Also, no one else will be dealing with a fussy baby or melt down having toddler, it’ll just be me. And as mentioned in my To All The Nap Judgers post (here), it’s what works for OUR family.
2) My priorities have shifted since having children. Pre-kids, I would hate to feel like I was a flake or make someone upset by not showing up to something I’d been invited to. And I still try to make most of to what we are invited to, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. If my kid is sick? I’ll be home taking care of them. If it’s past my 9pm bed time? You bet your sweet ass I’m laying in bed. Why? Because I’m tired. And because I don’t work well without sleep. And because you’ll get the best part of me in the morning. It’s pretty much a slippery downhill slope from there. I mean, I can rally, but it sure as hell goes south pretty damn quick from 8pm on. And yes, this is mainly because of my baby and toddler, but to be honest, I really like my sleep. I like my routine with my little family. And my baby doesn’t take a bottle, so it’s what works for us. What are ya gonna do?
3) I care still, but I don’t lose sleep over it. And I don’t mean for that to sound bitchy, I honestly don’t. I’m just saying that what used to make me get that sinking gut feeling of “I hope they’re not mad at me”, is now “They know what my life is like right now. If they’re really my friend they’ll understand.” And it’s true. I’ve found that my friends DO understand. And it goes both ways. After having kids, I totally get how things don’t always go to plan. I can honestly say I would NEVER get mad at a friend for missing out because something came up with their family. It’s just not worth it. Life is too short to be mad and petty.
4) It won’t always be this way. When my daughter was a baby, she went wherever I went. She didn’t take a bottle so that’s just how we did things. As she gets older I am able to do more things by myself for longer periods of time. Now that she’s 2.5 she’s perfectly fine spending whatever amount of time without me, but now my son has taken up her mantle. So it’s just a perfect example of how things are always changing. Yes, right now I’m limited to certain things I can do and when, but it won’t always be this way. And I’m honestly content with how things are. I know all too well how this baby phase will fly by and soon I’ll have an independent toddler on my hands. I’m trying to savor every moment.
5) Sometimes it’s just not worth it. Again, not trying to come off like a big jerk here, but at the end of the day I would much rather be glad that I didn’t force my kids to do something that would overtire them or overstimulate them so that they’re both tired, crying inconsolable kiddos. I’d rather do what is feasible for our family and that’s it. Yes, some families are probably more adventurous than ours but that’s what works for them. Sometimes I’ll push it and be stoked that both kids were fine and able to go to whatever outing and not have melt downs. However, there are many times where my husband and I will turn to each other and say “That was just NOT the melt down, crying jag, fighting a nap struggle etc”.
What I have learned in this change in my way of thinking of “not always trying to be a people pleaser”, is that people generally do understand. Before, I used to think I would have to come up with some elaborate white lie to avoid someone poking holes in my actual reason of “we can’t go because of the kids” or “we have to show up late so they can nap”. Now? I just tell the truth. “We’d love to go, but we’ll have to leave early so we can get the kids to bed on time. Otherwise it’s a nightmare” and people get it. They really do. And again, if they don’t? Oh well. They aren’t the ones dealing with the outcome, are they? So just do what works for you! You totally have this Mama!