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.
There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart's controls.
Before Gwen was born I certainly had fears. Would she be healthy? Would I be able to keep her safe? Would she grow up to be a good person? I thought those were the biggest of my worries, so blissfully naive was I to many of the fears that would invade my life as a parent.
Biologically speaking, fear is evolutions way of keeping the species going, of alerting us to situations that threaten our well-being or that of our young. That said, in this modern world, there are both more and less things to fear then our evolutionary predecessors could ever have imagined! We are no longer running from saber-toothed tigers, but now have even more devious and less obvious predators to worry about. I worry how the media will make my daughter feel about her body, and if government standards will kill off any love my daughter has for learning.
Fear can be a powerful tool. It can guide us and protect us from harm. They keep me aware when walking late at night, they will help me be vigilant about my daughters schooling and her exposure to media. But many fears that we have as parents are less concrete then that. I'm terrified that the same bullies that picked on me as a child will come back to pick on her, or on the flip-side, that she, my sensitive soul, will not have the strength to stand up to others when they do something she knows isn't right (even if it isn't to her). Will she find joy in her everyday life? Will she be able to do what she loves?
I almost didn't write this month. This prompt was one that spoke to me, but every time I sat down to write, I realized how much my fears for Gwen were a reflection of myself. It is hard to be open about your own fears. My continuous worries, are places that I hold fear in my own life (either now, or from my childhood): am I a good enough person, do I give back enough, do I have strength to do the big bold things? How can I justify the things in my life that don't make me happy if I never want her to settle in the same way?
The fact is, our children are reflections of us in so many ways. So to calm my fears I look to her as she looks to me. I see in her the places I could use improvement, where she needs more demonstration, and I see in her the ways that I am doing enough.
As a parent, you will always have fear. As the well known quote goes, "Making the decision to have a child -- it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." (Elizabeth Stone). The key is to not let those fears overwhelm you. Recognizing myself in them, helps me not put them all on her. And it also is helping me to see where I need to make changes. There is power in that knowledge, and I can't wait to see how I learn to overcome these fears.
Visit 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...
- Roaming — sustainablemum 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.