Thursday, February 13, 2014

How Having a Son Made Me a Better Daughter in Law

Like many pregnant women, I was excited at the idea of having a little "mini me" daughter. I had nannied little girls, and was a girl myself, so I just felt like it would be easier to relate to her, somehow. So when the doctor told us she was pretty sure we were having a boy (which I actually had guessed from the beginning, somehow) I felt a slight tinge of disappointment. As time passed and we finalized baby names, and I began imagining what my son would be like, that disappointment turned into excitement, and when I finally met my beautiful little boy it was nothing but pure, unadulterated joy.

The experience of having a son has gotten me thinking a lot about how I want to raise him in the world we currently live in. I will always be conscious of how much TV/movie violence he is exposed to, and will make an effort to ensure he is a kindhearted individual who has no problem expressing his emotion  (in an appropriate manner, of course). In a lot of ways, it was kismet that I had a boy as my first child, because it's giving me an opportunity to look at my parenting in a more critical manner, and considering issues I may never thought of. It feels like somehow the universe knew giving me a son would be better for me and my growth as a person.

An unexpected side effect of having a son, is how it's made me rethink some of the roles I have as a woman. As I daydream about BK's life, including his future wife/partner, I think about how my husband was a little boy once who had a mother possibly thought the same things. I often wonder things like will she be nice to him? Will she make him feel good about himself? Will I like her? Then of course, I imagined myself as a mother in law someday, only to realize that maybe my role as daughter in law could be improved.

I am fortunate enough to have a really fantastic MIL, who I get along with very well. But I am self aware enough to know that I can be slightly difficult from time to time, as I'm a pretty particular and opinionated person - especially when it comes to her grandson. So as I thought about the kind of daughter in law I wanted to have, I realized that perhaps I could try to be more like that person for my own MIL.

It never ceases to amaze me how becoming a parent opens your eyes to all sorts of realizations, and forces me to be a better person for my sweet little BK (and his future wife).

Not MIL and I, but I like to think this is how our relationship feels - halved cantaloupes and all. 

What existential changes have you made after becoming a parent?

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