Stand up straight.
I glance at my reflection as I breeze past a glass wall at my office. Stand up straight, I tell myself, as I lift my chin, instinctively pull my shoulders back and right myself. The sudden change in my posture must be bewildering to anyone who happens to catch sight of me.
I’m taller than average, just about 5’10”. Growing up, I always slouched and slumped to not stick out in a crowd of friends or classmates. I didn’t like being taller than everyone else, and did everything I could to just fit in. In pictures, I would always be stooped over or have my knees bent to appear to be the same height as everyone else. In class pictures I inevitably always ended up in the back row. It was a battle that I never had a chance of winning (DNA is DNA).
We were recently at a viewing for a family friend. Afterwards my dad said, “You looked like a question mark in there”, which I’m sure I did. My posture tends to get even worse in situations where I’m uncomfortable. Or in this case, if I’m trying to portray my empathy to someone going through a difficult time. This is one way that I communicate, which I think can be endearing at times. Other times I think it can be attributed to a lack of confidence.
I don’t want this not always appealing habit of mine to rub off on my daughter because she is going to be tall. Or at least, the odds are in favor of my daughter being tall (my husband is 6’5”).
My Daughter is going to be Tall.
At 9 months old, Quinn is in the 95th percentile for height. It seems pretty unavoidable that she will be faced with some of the same challenges that I dealt with growing up. Which means, I will undoubtedly relive most of my own awkward gangly moments through her. I mean, the height struggle is already evident when her little pants look like little capris.
At the onset of writing this, I thought my initial intention was to put more pressure on myself to exude confidence at every turn and in every moment of every day. But as I reread and rewrite, I find that my main concern is not that my daughter will most likely be tall and possibly have height issues. It’s that I do not want her to have my height issues. I do not want to pass on my own insecurities.
Everyone has insecurities. I don’t pretend for a second to think that my daughter won’t have insecurities of her own. But if there is anything that I can do to avoid letting my own insecurities influence hers… Heck, I would do whatever it took, until it broke me into a million pieces. I think this is what often happens with mothers and perfectionists.
I know I’m not the only one. I’ve read so many blogs about moms who strive to be perfect and about how they drove themselves crazy in the beginning to do everything flawlessly. Then suddenly realized one day, how sheer and utter madness the idea of perfection is. However, walking the line between trying to be perfect and trying to just do the best you can without driving yourself insane… It’s like walking on the edge of a cliff. It’s quite tricky. I guess that is why it takes so long to get a good handle on this parenting thing.
The whole transition to motherhood, for me, wasn’t always easy.
My anxiety during the early weeks really knocked me off of my game. It has taken a while to get to a better place, but in some ways I think I am still recovering from those early overwhelming days. It’s almost like learning to walk all over again. Or in my case learning to stand up straight again. I know that as soon as I think I’ve got this parenting thing figured out, a new phase will begin, and I’ll have to start back at square one.
My husband and I have a cute saying that started somewhere in our early days of dating. Late nights, texting back and forth would always be ended with “Sleep Sweet” from me, and “Sleep Tall” from my husband. I know that we have many hurdles ahead of us, and expectations are the culprit of disappointment. So instead of spending my days endlessly fretting and stressing myself out about how my posture will somehow someday scar my baby girl. I will pause and take a breath. I will try not to hold myself to an impossible standard. But at the same time I will also do my best to project confidence when I can because I do see her gaze watching me from across the room. For now though, I’ll just say:
Sleep Tight, Sleep Sweet, Sleep Tall, my Love.