Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Just a Coward

It's amazing to me how becoming a mom can make you into a total coward. I used to be fearless. (OK, not totally, but I would do stuff without batting an eye that would give me a heart attack if Charity did it. Guess my mom's tougher than I thought!) I mean really, I used to scoff at 'overprotective' parents, but I can totally see how a parent can be that way. We were at the Mall of America the other day, and Charity wanted to ride the Gondolla Wheel. So we took her, but instead of being thankful to be off my feet for a few minutes enjoying the view, I spent almost the entire ride envisioning nightmarish scenes of Charity falling out, or the tub breaking, or some equally horrid fate.

I guess this kind of goes along with Playgroupie's dilemma on how much sheltering is too much. I don't want to be a parent that allows my fear for my child's well-being to keep her from experiencing the fun stuff, learning from her own mistakes, or just being a kid. So far, I think I've done a good job. OE is the neurotic one, who would possibly keep her locked away until adulthood just to keep her safe. The fact that he's a little crazy over all of the little stuff helps me keep perspective, I think. It makes me see how irrational some of my fears are, and honestly, most of the stuff does when she's with me doesn't raise my eyebrows. Climbing furniture, jumping off of whatever she can find, etc. - this stuff's all part of being an active toddler. And really, this stuff I have a semblance of control over, so it doesn't bother me.

But what about the stuff I can't control? I can't be with her 24/7, it's impossible, and besides, I would be in a loony bin in no time without a break every now and then. How would I stand it if she went somewhere with OE and got in a wreck? Or what if he took her to the store with him and somebody took her? I know these types of possibilities will only increase as she gets older, goes out with friends, and honestly, if she's a daredevil anything like I was as a teenager, I'm in for many sleepless nights. I don't want to keep her from experiencing things, and will do my best to protect her without smothering her. But how do I deal with my fears for her? How does a parent keep from being ruled by fear, when we should be enjoying the experiences we are fortunate enough to have with our kids?


Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

If you figure all this out, let me know!

Heather said...

Well I certainly haven't gotten rid of all of my fear, but realizing that control as a parent is really an illusion helps a bit.

Control is a game we play in our mind because think about it...what can we control BUT our mind? I can't come up with anything.

Jen M. said...

You've asked the hundred thousand dollar question. Seriously. I tend to drink red wine. I never did that before kids. I don't think it helps much, but hey, why not?