A reader asked me a question last week about how I keep my inner hothead In check (in reference to my red hair I presume).
I always joke that, whilst I may not be a natural redhead, I have a redhead's typical quick temper. I do consider myself to be somewhat hotheaded. I can be snappy. I like a good argument. I can get ragey at inanimate objects and swear far too easily. I do cool down quickly - have never been one to hold a grudge or sulk (I hate a sulker!) Far better to blow off some steam and get it out of your system than glower and fume for days, I've always said. I have been told I am the perfect balance of sweetness and fire.
But then this bizarre change occurred. When I fell pregnant with E, the most incredible sense of zen pervaded my life. I just became really, really chilled out. Cliche it may be, but this feeling that the little trivial things, the daily irritating crap, wasn't really important. I had bigger, more important things to worry about. An ever-so-slight slight priority shift that brought with it the unexpected side-effect of a calmer me.
As my pregnancy progressed, I became increasingly aware of the reality of my girl's impending arrival, and how my quick temper could factor into it all. I would soon be the primary carer for a tiny, helpless little mini-human. Not only would she rely on me for everything, she would learn from me, model her behavior on mine. Did I want to bring up my baby to think it was normal to yell or swear in frustration? Wouldn't I prefer for her to see me smiling, than frowning? And we all know how lack of sleep can cause a temper to stretch and fray. I knew I needed to be on my guard against this, from day one.
And so I have been making a conscious, concerted effort, ever since the kiddo arrived - to take life lightly, and not allow myself to become angry in haste. To let the little things go, and to laugh instead of crying. To quite literally count to ten if I felt that anger rise.
So far, it seems to be working. I guess in that respect, you could say she has changed me for the better.