Monday, May 12, 2008

Fear and Motherhood

While this is a little late for mother's day, I think it is valid to mention just how much terror is part of motherhood. I know I'm mentioned this a little in a post before, but I've been thinking about it recently.

And it fits - as there are a handful of things I've been angry about. Each time I think about what I'm angry about, I start to question what it is that I fear. And almost always, the root of my anger comes directly from some sort of fear. Fear of being a bad parent. Fear of illness, or worse, losing one of my children or my husband. Fear that there is something else/more I could be doing that I'm not doing.

Of course, there is fear that we have to face in every day of living. Most days are mundane and repetitious. It's a cliche to say "Who knows what tomorrow will bring?" but it's absolutely true. Today, I can be happy that I'm healthy, my children are healthy and we have a stable, secure, safe existence.

I know I've written (and certainly said) that you can't live your life in fear. You can't refuse to do something just because you're scared of what might happen - you might miss out on so much.

But it's equally important (in my mind) to acknowledge just how much fear is guiding your actions. I'm not talking about being cautious (a virtue in its own right) or conscious (aware of yourself, actions around others, etc.). The more knowledge, the better in most situations.

My car pool partner brought up the shakespeare quote - "'tis better to have loved and lost..." last week, and it's true.

Sometimes it's just damn hard to take some risks.

I had heard that motherhood was "the toughest job you'll ever love". I don't think I understood exactly what that meant before I was a parent.

I don't think I realized how easy it is to judge another parent/person and their decisions until you're in their shoes. It's simple to judge someone else, to feel they should be doing things differently. And then you have your two year olds screaming about only eating peanut butter toast - and all the conscious, balanced meal planning you swore you would do goes out the window.

I try to be a conscious parent, a conscious mother. I try not to hover - to do the helicopter mom thing. I do know, no matter what I do, there is so much of this parenthood thing that I'm not in control of. That no matter what I do, that I will embarrass my children. That I will hurt my children's feelings. That they will disagree with many of my choices when they are adults.

Yet I hope they know just how much I love them and want to do what's best for them. That I'm aware of this process, and want to keep them as safe, happy and healthy as possible.

My husband says wryly that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

But I do want the best for my children, and I will work as hard as I can towards that goal. And I'll also try to forgive myself for all of the things (in this process) that are out of my control. And acknowledge what might be possible - getting beyond the fear of the unknown.

1 comment:

Freckle Face Girl said...

Fear does tend to make us panic & act out. I am just glad that my husband is the safety one and not me. Thinking of all those ways a kid can get hurt must drive him even more nuts. :)