I'll admit that I'm not the most confident of women. My feelings get hurt more easily than they should, and try as I might, I still can't shake the desire for the approval of others. I'm much better than I used to be, though. In high school, I was a total wreck. I did and said things solely because I knew other people would agree or think better of me, not because it was how I really felt.
It's not that bad anymore. I'm not so afraid to express my opinion anymore, and have mostly come to the realization that I am who I am, take me or leave me. At the very least, I no longer pretend to agree with people if I really don't. If I don't have the guts to say what I actually think in the face of someone who holds opposite views, I just stay quiet instead of nodding and acting like it's pure genius (yes, I unfortunately did used to do this when I was younger).
However, I am in no way immune to the judgment of others. I still get squirmy when conflict arises. I'll sometimes go over and over something I said that I thought was stupid, long after the conversation is over and probably forgotten by the person I spoke to. And I still feel uncomfortable if I sense disapproval from someone. Granted, I don't feel uncomfortable with all disapproval. But disapproval from people I respect or people I wish would like me does not make me happy.
If you are like me, being a parent makes things a lot harder because suddenly you have a living, breathing example of who you are as a person walking around. A baby is a SUPER easy way for family, friends and strangers alike to judge you. Even when their behavior is not your fault, it can negatively reflect on you. Sometimes you can just see the disapproval in people's eyes.
My baby is only 3.5 months old, yet I already feel judged and disapproved of. Case in point: I'm afraid our daycare lady is going to fire us. Lucas has been uber fussy the past two days and he also just happened to be at daycare the past two days. Dan thinks I'm overreacting but hear me out.
The first time we met our DCP (daycare provider), one of the things I liked most was how friendly she was. We totally clicked, which was something that was missing with other DCPs we interviewed. The first few times I dropped Lucas off, she was the same - friendly, easy to talk to, happy to see us. (I'll just call her Brenda which is nowhere near what her real name is because it's not her fault my kid is a hot fussy mess so I don't want to incriminate her or otherwise negatively reflect on her.)
Ok so Lucas was with Brenda Wednesday and today this week. When I dropped Lucas off on Wednesday, Brenda was a little quieter than usual, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I called a little after lunch that day to see how Lucas was doing and Brenda said he was doing good - a teeny fussy but nothing big.
Then this morning when I dropped Lucas off, I got nothing. I said hi, she said hi and then she said nothing. I said, "Well he's having a bit of a rough morning." She then said in a flat voice, "Yeah he had a rough day yesterday. I jinxed it when I told you he was being good because he completely melted down after that." I was caught totally off guard because I don't pick him up in the afternoons (Dan does), so I had no clue that he'd had a bad afternoon. Basically, Brenda did not seem happy.
I unhooked Lucas from his car seat because he was still having fits of screaming, and he stopped crying. I had to leave for work so I handed Lucas to Brenda. He started smiling and laughing to her and she didn't even react. No smile or anything, which I think is kind-of impossible when my kid flashes his adorable grin (though I might be biased). Then she said, "Oh so you're happy now." I decided it was time to high-tail it out of there before Brenda changed her mind, handed Lucas back to me and told me I had to take him to work with me.
Dan had worked the night before, and he always calls me when he's on his way home from work. So when he called me I said, "I think Brenda hates Lucas." I expected him to tell me I'm crazy (which, let's face it, he's usually right). Instead he said, "Yeah, she was kind of weird when I picked him up yesterday."
My heart picked up speed and I said, "What do you mean??" He told me she was pretty quiet when he'd picked Lucas up yesterday and that she'd mentioned how fussy he was. This did it for me. If Dan noticed something, I decided there was definitely something going on. I was so afraid she was going to fire us that I didn't even call to check in on him because I really didn't want to know how he was doing. Based on how he was this morning, I knew the answer. I knew she'd tell me that she was certain I was Satan's mistress and Lucas was his spawn.
When I got home from work today, the first thing I asked Dan was, "Are we fired?" He said no but that Lucas was indeed a horrible ball of fuss today. In fact, Brenda told him that Lucas had started being happy for the first time all day about 15 minutes before Dan arrived to pick him up. Ack.
And now I have to face Brenda again tomorrow. I pray that Lucas does a 180 and is an angel child tomorrow. It took us forEVER to find Brenda and I really don't want to lose her. Because really, what kind of terrible sign would that be? Getting kicked out of places at 3 months. Not a good start as a kid.
And I don't really feel like having my first kid be a juvenile delinquent. If I'm going to have a horrible child, I'd rather it be one of the middle kids. That way I can say, "I don't know what happened, it can't have been our fault. Look at our first child! He's perfect." So memo to Lucas: you must be perfect. End of story.