Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Meeting my parenting fears head-on

Meeting my parenting fears head-on == Hobo Mama

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Welcome to the February 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Fears

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about parenting fears.

Meeting my parenting fears head-on == Hobo Mama
Do these kids look scary to you?
Yeah … ok … a little.
I became a parent in my thirties. That had given me a long time to not have children. I worried about the addition of new people into my life and marriage — would we get along? Would they have personalities and tastes compatible with mine? Would I like them?

Here are some of my top fears and how they've come true:

I worried about parenting a boy.

And so, naturally, I had two. We actually tried, through dubious and unproven (and apparently not very effective) techniques, to sway our odds toward having a girl the first time around.

When Mikko was born and it turned out he had boy parts, it felt inevitable. Well, of course, you're a boy. Of course, I have to face this fear, now, here, first thing.

And it took…about two seconds to shoot down. This was not "a boy." This was Mikko. My son! My child. I had no idea if he'd grow up macho and arrogant, outdoorsy and athletic (à la our older brothers, and what set our fears into motion), or whether he'd be more … in the middle, gender-wise, the way Sam and I are, but I knew I'd love him, regardless. He just … was. He was himself.

So when the second boy came, well … of course! Again! No sweat.

I'd never pictured myself surrounded by Legos and Transformers and Switch-n-Go Dinos, but you know, my boys are really cool kids, and I'm happy for who they are and whoever they turn out to be.

I worried about parenting a chatterbox.

I remember, in my twenties, visiting a friend with a teenage daughter who talked. And talked. And talked.

I found it overwhelming and kept looking to my friend for her reaction, which was always a serene smile as she listened, sometimes responded, and continued on with her day.

I thought to myself, "Doesn't she realize her kid is a Chatty Cathy? Doesn't it bother her?" I could never stand that, I thought. I told myself, even then, I guess maybe it's different if it's your own kid? But it can't be that different. Presumably my friend just enjoyed a higher level of noise than I did, and as a peace-craving introvert, I'd better hope I scored quiet children.

Meeting my parenting fears head-on == Hobo Mama
To be fair to me, I did give birth to pirate spawn.
Um … I didn't. And there are times when I have to either (a) hope occasional, distracted "hm"s suffice to carry them through their monologues while I tune them out or (b) tell them point-blank, in a cheerful voice, "Hey, I know! Let's not talk for awhile!" And then I turn up some music and stop even the "hm"ing for a bit.

But … it really is different when it's your own kid. I wouldn't expect anyone else to put up with it, that's for sure, but it really is ok that our kids like us so much they want to talk to us all. day. long.

I worried about parenting someone too dependent on me.

Bwahaha! This also happened, and how. Sam and I joke about how Mikko will live with us till we die, and will then take over the house. (He's made his own threats about undoing all our renovations and putting everything back the way it was before — he's not down with change.)

We'd seen this dependence play out in various family members, where we thought, from afar, that they were too attached to their parents, too unmotivated to strike out on their own, and that their parents coddled them and encouraged a culture of codependence.

But you know? Our kids are six and two. Maybe they are super attached right now, but I choose to think of that as a good thing, and not necessarily (despite our joking) a portent of the future.

And, that thing I said before? About its being different when it's your kids? It applies here, too. The more I know about having very individual, very specific kids, the more I realize that our judgments against our relatives' parenting might be (at least partly) unfounded — that it might have to do with the child's personality and other factors.

In any case, when Mikko's living with us in our old age, we'll just enjoy his continued company and nod and smile as he chatters away to us past the time we can hear him anymore.

Meeting my parenting fears head-on == Hobo Mama
Scary kids! They're coming to get you!

Did you have any (ok, maybe superficial) fears like this about parenting before you became a parent? How did they or did they not come true for you?

P.S. The Essential Parenting Collection I'm organizing is on! Go check out my new book, The Natural Parent's Guide to Babywearing, in the Early Years module, and the full 35-e-resource collection.

Essential Parenting Collection - Parenting the Early Years - Mindful Nurturing

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • When Parents' Fears Escalate — If we didn't self-doubt, we probably wouldn't care enough about our children to struggle with understanding them. But how do we overcome self-doubt? Read advice from Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., guest posting today at Natural Parents Network.
  • What ifs of addiction — After seeing how addictions of adult children is badly hurting a family close to her heart, Hannah at HannahandHorn shares her fears for her own child.
  • Sharing My Joy — Kellie at Our Mindful Life shares her fear that others think she is judgmental because she makes alternative choices for her own family.
  • Building My Tribe Fearlessly — A meteorite hit Jaye Anne at Tribal Mama's family when she was seven years old. Read the story, how she feels about that now, and how she is building her tribe fearlessly.
  • Fear: Realized — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen shares how her fear of car accidents was realized and how she hopes to be able to use her efforts to overcome the remaining fears to help her children overcome their own.
  • I'm a Negligent Helicopter Parent — For Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow, the line between helicopter parenting and negligent parenting is not so cut and dried.
  • My Greatest Fear For My Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama admits that she has struggled with not allowing her fears to control her and how the reality of this was blown wide open when she became a mother.
  • Proactive Steps to Calm Parenting Fears — Every parent has certain fears related to dangerous situations, That Mama Gretchen shares ways she is preparing herself and her children for emergencies.
  • Homeschooling Fears – Will My Children Regret Being Homeschooled? — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares an interview with her now-adult children that answers a question she had throughout their homeschooling.
  • An Uneasy Truce — Homeschooler and recent convert to unschooling, Tam at tinsenpup shares just a few of the things she tries to keep in mind when fear and insecurity begin to take hold.
  • Fearing the worst, expecting the best — Tarana at Sand In My Toes writes about fears that come with parenting, and why we must overcome them.
  • Can I be the parent I want to be? — Amanda at Postilius confronts her struggle to peacefully parent a preschooler
  • Out of Mind, Out of Fear — How does Jorje of Momma Jorje deal with her pretty steep, long-term fears regarding her son's future?
  • I Don't Homeschool to Manage My Kids' Transcripts — One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama's fears of parenting is that she will get so caught up in the monotony, the details of homeschooling, the minutiae of everyday life, the routine of taking care of a household - that she will forget to actually be present in the moment with her children.
  • Beware! Single Mom Camping — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her first adventures as a single mom. She laughed, she cried, she faced her fears.
  • Parenting Fears And Reality Checks — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares her three biggest fears as a parent - that most parents share - looks at the reality behind these fears, and offers a few suggestions for enjoying parenting.
  • Parenting fear : to kill a pink rabbit...Mother Goutte tells us the story of a pink rabbit that disappeared, came back, and became the symbol of her worst parenting fear...
  • Roamingsustainablemum considers whether allowing your children freedom to explore the world safely is harder now than in the past.
  • Meeting my parenting fears head-on — Lauren at Hobo Mama had many fears before she became a parent. Learn how they all came true — and weren't anywhere near as scary as she'd thought.
  • Don't fear the tears — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger worried that letting her children cry when going to sleep was tantamount to the dreaded parenting moniker, CIO. She discusses what actually happened after those teary nights, and how she hopes these lessons can carry forward to future parenting opportunities.
  • Will I Still be a Good Mom? — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot worries about her mothering skills now that breastfeeding is no longer the top priority.
  • Pregnancy Fears: It Happened to My Sisters, It Will Happen to Me... — Kristen at Country Fit Family discusses the difficulties with pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding that the women in her family have had and how she overcame them.
  • Fears — Meegs at A New Day talks about how her fears before parenting led to a better understanding of herself and her desires for her daughter.


Unknown said...

Yes! I was worried what I would do with a boy...or twin boys! I have two sisters and have grown up around women, so the male thing was a little frightening. But we got one boy and one girl and it's working out nicely. I think it's so true--before kids you can't imagine the things you will tolerate as it so abstract, at least it was for me. (Although 'tolerate' sounds harsh, I don't mean it that way!)

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

{snicker} And yet again, Mikko and Kieran are soul twins. Whenever we make any home improvements, we have to contend with the heartbreak of wanting to keep it the same. Usually, he's cool with whatever we do - after awhile.

And ftr, I was scared of having a girl, so of course along came Ailia. I can't imagine life without her now!

Mother Goutte said...

I like how your fears come in the end to 'it's different when it's your child' and it is, isn't it? As you also say they're still young and things change. I breastfed my second daughter until she was 16 months and she liked having milk in a bottle after that... Well, before I had children I had a friend who's daughter was still having milk in a bottle at 4 and I was afraid of having a child who would be the same. My daughter hung onto it until she was 7 but I was totally cool with it ;)

Meegs said...

Ironically, while I didn't fear having a girl, I was sure I was having a boy. That's all my husband's family seemed to have! But a girl it was! Thankfully after a little adjustment time, like you, it seemed inevitable. Of course I would have my Gwen, who else?!

Laura said...

I'm so grateful for that first baby... terrifying yet empowering!

sustainablemum said...

I really wanted to have a girl but then when she was born I suddenly realised that I was not sure I could be a good enough parent for her. I grew up with brothers and had few female friends until really recently. She has given me a new perspective on what it means to a female and a woman for which I am immensely grateful. I love my son too, of course!

Luschka said...

Love this post. It's so 'typical' of how things pan out. For me it was screamers. I would NOT have a child who screamed/screeched. Yeah. Sure. Whatev'. On the plus side, I may be going deaf, so whether that happens, or they outgrow it first... there's always hope ;)

Jaye Anne Healing said...

I was afraid of a boy with my second. My first was a girl, and I thought I knew what was up! Sometimes it seems like the boy is easier. At least, he's easier than I feared!

Love your post!

Erica @ ChildOrganics said...

My parenting fears seem to grow right with my kids. *sigh*
I was glad to read that I'm not the only one that looks for a "nice" way to ask my kids to just be quiet for a few moments..for the love of my sanity!

Tarana Khan said...

Your boys are adorable! Isn't it interesting how our perspective changes when we have our own children? I always thought kids should be 'disciplined' - silly me!

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