The Thing About Parenting

I love being a parent. It is by far the best thing I have ever done, the most challenging role I have ever played, and the most heart-filling, joyful experience I’ve ever known. It is true what they say, there is absolutely NO love, like a mother’s love.

But I also think there is no fear, like a mother’s fear. They don’t tell you that one and I can see why. It doesn’t necessarily have that greeting-card-ring to it, does it?

In some ways I admire people who make the conscious decision to not have children. Some call it selfish, I call it smart. Being a parent is not for everyone. And knowing that it is not for you must require incredible foresight. In fact, I’d say not having children, when you know you don’t particularly want them, is the most selfless thing you can do!

I am a worrier. It is not my finest trait, but it is one I inherited from my paternal grandmother. I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, a mother’s greatest fear is being separated from her child. Or something happening to her child, and she’s not there to do anything about it. Or something happening to her, and she’s not around for her child/ren. When I think about the Morcombes, or hear about other kids who have gone missing, or think about the kids in the Newton shooting before Christmas, I think about their parents, and how they are living every parents worst nightmare. And while I know I can’t live my life, worrying that something will happen to us, I think it’s foolish to think something like that couldn’t happen to you.

I’ve been a right cranky cow the last couple of months. It coincides with my break from personal training, Christmas eating, gaining weight. I have been short-fused with everyone, most especially my husband and son. I have snapped, got angry, said things I shouldn’t say to my child and as soon as the words are out of my mouth, my heart dies a little. This is not the parent I am or want to be. But it’s the parent I am when I start taking my life for granted. When I start taking my family, our health, our blessings for granted.

My life is pretty perfect right now, and I wish I could freeze time. I wish this could last forever and that the fear could be diminished for good. But next week, my son starts school. Next week I will lose him to the system forever and our lives will be dictated by school term dates, homework, and everything else that comes with kids starting school. It is a new phase for us as parents, a new and exciting phase for Nick as a kid. But it terrifies me, too. What if he gets bullied? What if he IS a bully? What if he doesn’t make friends, doesn’t settle in, doesn’t like it?

The joys of parenting. Of course I wouldn’t change it for the world. Nothing in my life has brought me the same happiness he has. It’s just another thing they don’t tell you about when you’re having a baby. It’s no wonder my husband and I have both gone grey in the last few years. I have a feeling the worrying never goes away.

Are you a worry-wart? How do you combat it? 

Flogging my blog with Mama Grace,

who has some cute pics of bloggers as babies on her post today. Do you know who they are?


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26 thoughts on “The Thing About Parenting

  1. I’m such a worry wart and paranoid parent too. I think it hasnt been so bad {I was quite terrible during pregnancy for fear of a miscarriage} recently but like you when she first started preschool last year I worried about her adapting to new kids, new surroundings, new schedules, new food etc. The worrying will probably never stop, and the important thing is to probably teach them with the skills to live happily, and safely in this world. For we won’t always be around to help and protect them.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  2. You are right – there is nothing like a parents love for their child. And you are also right that the worry never goes away. As they grow older, what you worry about just changes.
    I have made a conscious decision not to worry about the things that I have no control over and I have to trust that what we taught K as she was growing up will stand her in good stead as she goes out into the big bad world.
    We have spoken at length about situations in clubs / pubs / bars / events and we know that she knows what she should do – we have to trust that when she is in that situation, what she knows comes to the fore.
    I have slowly trained myself to stop worrying about the things that I have no control over – I don’t always get it right but I certainly do aim to do that.
    He will be an amazing young boy who will grow into an amazing young man, because he has amazing parents who want only the best for him.
    Honestly – he will be fine and the things that you are worrying about now, will come to nought !!!!
    Have the best day – will be thinking of you next week as he takes his first steps into the necxt chapter of his life (and you go from being Mom to a child at kindy to a school going child !!!)
    Love, hugs and positive energy !
    Me

    • Thanks L. I hope he will grow into an amazing young man! I try not to think that too far away because I’m sure it’ll be here before I know it! I need to learn to not worry about what I can not control. Definitely.

  3. Oh mate I could have written this post! I know exactly what you mean about all of it, and I agree with the selfless part of those knowing they aren’t cut out to be parents and don’t want kids.

    I’ve been struggling a bit these last few weeks, with Dave on arvo’s or split shifts and not there to lighten the load a little in the afternoons (I honestly don’t know how single or FIFO parents do it, I would not cope!) and feeling so tired from being pregnant and just generally worrying about how this baby is developing, how Mia is going to cope with a brother or sister, how are we going to cope financially, its all been swirling around in my head and not making me the most patient Mum or wife.

    The fear of being a parent is a post I have had sitting in my drafts folder for so long, not sure how to express the feelings I feel. You’ve expressed it so well here.

    • This post has sat in my drafts folder for sooooooooo long!!! I could never quite get it right, then I was afraid of publishing it and putting my fears out there into the universe! Don’t want to be tempting anything or anyone!

  4. I am a big worrier about my boys too, the big (because he lives away from home) and little ones most.
    My heart skipped a few beats when one went missing at the shops today.
    I’ve been a big cranky too – this resonates with me “This is not the parent I am or want to be.” I need to make some changes too.
    My boys are my world – I just live with the worry and short nails.

    • I think every parent can probably make some changes. And I know what you mean – Nick is my world too. I once lost in him KMart on a busy Saturday, only for about 3 minutes, but it felt like an hour. It’s terrifying!

  5. I am very conscious of how I sometimes get angry or frustrated and really try to stop myself, I don’t want them to think that is ok, or normal. Yes, Mummy is allowed to be frustrated, but how I cope and process that is what they see and learn from.

    It is bloody hard work this parenting business!

    • It sure is! Not all sunshine and roses at all! I have already seen Nick imitate the way I handle things and it’s not good – it’s not overly bad, I usually grrrrrrr like a bear. Now he’s started doing it when he is frustrated! oops! could be worse?? right??

  6. I’m into risk management so I think of all scenarios (best, worst and in between) which makes be a bit of a worrier. To combat it I look at my/our strengths, the wins no matter how big or small, and find thanks in every day. Usually works!

    I still get the ‘middle of the night monsters’ though. Usually business not parenting. But that’s because I’m aiming big which means there is 50% excitement and 50% fear. It hits at around 2am. The clear light of day puts things back in perspective.
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  7. Lovely, honest post Aroha. I worry in some ways. My husband is the worrier in our family. It’s sometimes pathological, so I think I balance him out. I can’t bear thinking about tragedy, though, and “What ifs…” like Daniel Marcombe. Too tragic.
    I actually dread school starting – losing my daughter to the system etc. I am not worried about her being fine there, because she is social, and intelligent…I am worried about hours of sitting in chairs, having to do homework, being constantly told what to do. I am worried about the end of childhood. I am worried her spirit will dampen. I am worried she’ll learn how to be mean. But I can’t control things…all I can do is try and raise her with enough love and self-confidence that when she is released to the world she will have strong, loving legs to stand on 🙂
    (Sorry to rant – the mention of school does make me scared in many ways! Some would call that being a worry-wart!)
    Zanni@Heart Mama x

  8. I used to worry about everything, but thankfully I married a man who doesn’t stress about the small stuff. This isn’t to say I don’t have fears about how my girl will cope at school, I do. But I reckon it’s totally normal. However, I’ve become a lot wiser in my years as a mum and have come to realise that there is no point in worry about something that might not happen! My biggest problem is coping from day to day! xxx

    • K is pretty laid back! So is M to an extent. I guess I am the only one doing all the worrying around here! I wish I knew when I started to worry about all the “what-ifs” because I never used to. It’s exhausting!

  9. Oh Aroha I get it – I used to be a chronic worrier – wish I could reclaim some of the sleep I’ve lost through past worrying but now I worry nowhere near as much. Something in my subconscious switched and I’m really aware of not wasting too much energy on things beyond my control. It’s not always as easy as that but I find myself less stressed than I used to be when younger.
    Hope it’s a place that you can get to too x

  10. I’m a big worrier. Ever since we knew we had a high risk pregnancy, the worry just doesn’t stop. But I don’t think it was always in my nature and not necessarily due to the circumstances.
    With a bit of meditation and other forms of help, the worry is a little bit more in control.
    It’s always going to be there but I guess I have the tools now to try and filter out in my head what’s rational and what’s not. It’s a work in progress x

    • I think that is key Grace – for a lot of things – having the tools to manage/conquer it when it arises! I’m not much of a meditator, can never seem to clear my mind, but I do have things I can do and ways I can relax, so need to start actively doing that when I feel the worry creeping in.

  11. Aroha, beautifully articulate. Is this the wine post? You should do it more often!!! I’m a super-worrier, and with little A starting school I’m freaking out a little. Not about the social side, because she’s ready to run it in and is busting to learn, but about her diabetes management and whether they’ll keep her safe. I’m also worried I’m going to ‘lose’ her… That she wont be mine anymore. Dammit, too much to say. Will have to blog it!!!! 🙂 The upside of being a worrier though, is that we’re mindful. And you’re mindful of your actions, so you are being the best mum possible. X

    • Aww Kim it is hard enough to send a child to school who doesn’t have the worry of something like diabetes! I can’t imagine how much harder it must be for you. I am certain they’ll take great care of her but I know how you are feeling – no one will ever take as good care as you do! Lots of hugs for you both on this journey!

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