I had a lot of fears over ending up like my parents. They were emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive. I almost stayed child-free, because of my childhood. I'm sure I could have had a full life that way (I know beautiful, amazing people who are child-free), but I'm glad I didn't. Becoming a mom has been an amazing challenge that has been so rewarding on many levels—including feeling like I'm unwinding the mess of our family history by learning healthy parenting.
I never realized how checked out my mom was at times (I think she often dissociated and was narcissistic), but as I've been raising my daughter I started to realize it as I started catching myself doing similar things. It wasn't so bad when she was tiny. I was actually very available then (and so was Mom). We both breastfed so hormones may have been a factor (plus babies are so darn cute).
It's been harder as she's been getting into her tweens...or maybe I'm just more aware of myself. The hardest times for me to be checked in is holidays (especially Mother's Day and my birthday) and weekends. I tend to be at higher risk of dissociating at these times (and sometimes I get depressed, too). Add in perimenopause (sometimes I have natural bouts of not wanting to be touched, and I get tired easily), and it can be a challenge.
Having an understanding spouse/partner really makes a big difference. I am very open with my guy about what's going on. When we realized I was getting triggered on the holidays, we started doing more things out of the house together. It really helped! On weekends, he takes over parenting more (this works well for both of us as he wants to spend more quality time with our kid since he's out of the house 10 hours a day on weekdays). But at the same time I focus more and more to try to do more things with them together. Sometimes I plan little activities...even just a game of Uno. Regular sit-down dinners together have been good, too.
Including her in my weird hobbies has also helped. Kids don't always like everything their parents do, but the cool thing is a lot of times people can find a lot of different things they like, and kids will usually like one or more of those.
For me it's art, animals, and running. My daughter seems to enjoy them with me. She also loves some activities I wasn't interested in as much as a kid, but it is fun to see her take joy in them. I let her take the lead in those versus doing the stage parent thing (IMO, that is as harmful as being neglectful). That has helped me break the cycle of neglect.
Small rules have been useful, too. I *never* deny a hug, and unless I have something planned where I'm not home, I read bedtime stories upon request. But I also make sure to make time for myself. I go out with friends every so often. I think it's something parents of all genders can neglect. Having a social life outside of work and home is so very important—even if it's just once or twice a month. That helps my cup stay full, and I feel a lot more available.
I also found individual therapy and parenting books can do wonders.
Figuring out a healthy balance for you and the child is key, but know that no one is a perfect parent. Parenting takes time, patience, and practice—and it always changes as kids go through different stages. But the cool thing to remember is since you are already asking these questions it shows you are caring and self-aware. That gives you a major leg up on your parents and starts you on the journey to be a good parent.