Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fearful Mom

I am a fearful mom, I admit it.  I am constantly visualizing horrible things happening to my kids.  It's awful, but I don't know how to stop.

At age two, my son had stitches above his eye when he fell onto a bench.  At age three he tumbled down the stairs.  That same year he tumbled out of bed and knocked two teeth loose.  At age four he tripped and his now no-longer-loose teeth went through his bottom lip and he has a nice scar.  These scenes (or imaginary scenarios) run through my head almost every day.  Whenever my kids aren't within view, my ears are on hyper alert to listen for anything happening to them.  Every little squeak or squawk makes me pay attention to see if it will turn into a cry.  This is a very wearying way to live, and I need to find a way past it.

A few years ago my friend wrote a post Parenting Based in Fear, and this has been a huge help to me.  I really try to not think about what might possibly happen, but what will probably happen; to parent by the probable and not by the possible.  I really try not to hover around my kids and let them explore.  After re-reading her post, I have stopped myself from warning my kids to be careful or not to do something that might hurt them, but probably won't.  Instead, I've let them go ahead, and you know what?  They didn't get hurt.  In fact, they enjoyed doing whatever it was I could have stopped them from doing.  Of course, I was watching carefully, but really trying not to hover.

My 2 year old just transferred to a big-girl bed.  She likes to be independent and wants to put her pacifiers away when she wakes up (yes, we need to work on getting rid of the paci).  So she walks to the end of the bed and puts her paci in the box on top of the dresser.  Now, she is still not always very steady on her feet and so she holds onto the wall.  There is also a five inch gap between her bed and the dresser.  The first time she did this, I was scared she would fall and hurt herself.  Then I realized, 1) she's being very careful and 2) even if she does fall, I doubt she would get seriously hurt, i.e. broken bones.  I just need to swallow my fear and let her explore.

I don't know how to stop thinking about the bad things that could happen.  The images pop into my mind and I can't seem to get rid of them.  But I am learning to let my kids do things that I'd really like to not let them do, but there is no real reason for me to stop them (like letting my almost five-year-old plug in an appliance).  It is difficult to let go and parent on the probable and not on the possible.  But I think with God's help I will get there.