Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Parental Fears

As a new parent, countless people told me (much to my irritation), "relax, this is the easiest you'll ever have it!" You know, I can't think of a more disrespectful thing a person could say to an overwhelmed, overtired, inexperienced parent trying to figure things out for the very first time. And it took all my willpower not to say so to the people who said this to me - if you were one of them, fear not, I have long since forgiven you! I've forgiven you because I realized, after I got some sleep and a few diaper changes under my belt, that you weren't wrong!

In the beginning with Anna I was so afraid to set her down, let her cry for more than a millisecond, under-dress her, overdress her, take her anywhere in public where she might cry, nurse in public, you name it, I was scared of it. And I know it was all because I had never done any of these things before. Not only had I never dealt with such a little human for more than an hour or two at a time, but I had never gone on such little sleep, and there were days that I truly felt like I was losing my mind. I've made a mental list of things that I will do differently with any future babies and number one on that list is RELAX! Also, pretty much everyone on earth, including my pastor has now seen the "ladies" so I'm pretty sure nursing in public won't be such an issue next go-round either. Ahh, modesty, motherhood has destroyed you so.

Now I look at that early stage of Anna's life and think, man, that was a piece of cake and I had no idea (Mommy Amnesia, probably!)! I'm sure in 5 years I'll look back at the stage she's in now and think "wish I would have relaxed and enjoyed the toddler years, they were so easy compared to now!" I'm really trying to get past the worrying and frustrations and just enjoy where I am now as a parent. Trying to make myself believe that this parenting thing is not as difficult as my mind wants me to believe it is. There are days that this is easier than others.

As a parent of a toddler I fear her running into the street, getting nipped by the neighbor's dog, knocking out a tooth on a particularly bad fall, amputating a fingertip when slamming a door, drowning in the toilet during an explorer mission gone horribly awry...and the list goes on. What I'm trying to convince myself of is that I had irrational, overly worried fears like these was she was a newborn too and now wish I would have just relaxed and gone with the flow a little more. So I should focus now on trying to relax and just enjoy Anna for the inquisitive, funny little monkey that she is and stop worrying (within reason, I still won't let her slam doors or play in traffic or the toilet without SOME supervision...).

This is sort of a rambly post, but my point is this - being a first-time parent is confusing and frequently overwhelming. It's easy for me to look back at Anna's infant days now and think of how easy that was. I'm sure with baby #2 in the future it will seem somewhat easier because I will know better what to expect. I'm sure all of these stages will feel at least a bit more familiar. So I'm going to try now to relax and take in as much as I can and enjoy as much as I can of Anna because she is growing up way too fast.


Totally unrelated to this post - Anna's favorite thing to do in the mornings now after she gets changed and dressed is to go find the kitties. She makes a beeline for the door as soon as I put her on her feet. I always know when she finds them because you hear the most joyful "HI!!!" from the other room. She is genuinely, purely happy to see those cats. Unfortunately her exuberance usually comes across as scary godzilla noises to them so they scurry for high ground. But she doesn't care because she got to see her furry friends and that makes her happy.


  1. Would it be ungrandmotherly of me to provide plastic boats to float in the toilet? (kidding!)

  2. Haha, I can relate with the pastor/girls comment... pretty sure the first place I nursed in "public" was at church, and of course was wearing a nice cute dress (N's baptism) that was nearly impossible to nurse in discreetly-- whoops! Learned my lesson, haven't worn that dress since!!
    Love, Gretch

  3. Mom - if you're providing boats, then you're providing supervision. And sanitizing her afterward!

    Gretch - by the time I was done with labor and delivery, I'm fairly sure that most of Brookfield, WI had seen me in all my naked glory so flashing a little hooter shouldn't have been such a big deal. By the time Anna was 6 months I was the pro at saying to whomever was in the room "I'm going to nurse. If you don't want to see boob, I'd recommend averting your eyes." Who has time to be modest when you have a baracuda chomping at your chest?

  4. I LOVE reading your blog...I can identify with everything you have written! I know my two are close together, but you really are more relaxed with the second one. I do believe it's because of the familiarity of it. With the first one, you're more anxious because it's the first time for EVERYONE to be experiencing it and you don't want to mess up. I think that is just natural! I find myself reminding myself (sometimes outloud) to laugh and find joy and not get too worked up because this long ride of parenting is already going by too quickly! (If that makes sense?)

  5. Yes, the first time is extremely overwhelming. Your entire lifestyle just changed. You are allowed to be overwhelmed. Yes, relax and enjoy as much as you can. Especially now that you are not as sleep deprived and can suck up the goodness. Yes, It will be less overwhelming in the future because you will know what to expect, but yes having to care for two will be an overwhelming adjustment too, until you can get some decent again.
    Just live one day at atime and enjoy.