I'm afraid...

I have a number of unreasonable phobias. Spiders, confinement, heights... you know, normal stuff. I know a spider is a tiny creature that is much more terrified of me than I am of him, and that the scary flutter I get in my chest when I look down and see the ground uncomfortably far from me isn't really necessary, but the fear is there nonetheless.

I have even sillier phobias, like my very real fear that I'll someday find a snake in my toilet bowl...

...or my absolutely inexplicable fear of tall people... these are not normal things and I know this. Though from the looks of it, I'm not the only one who thinks about toilet snakes.

My biggest fear though, is the fear of being a bad parent.

I see them all the time... moms & dads yelling at their kids, belittling them, or simply neglecting them. I worry that I won't nurture little Marti Pearl's spirit in the way I've always intended and that terrifies me. I worry that she'll inherit my self-esteem issues or that she won't keep the amazing spark I see in her every day. I worry that I don't spend enough time playing and truly enjoying our time together, without my laptop or cell phone in hand. I worry that she doesn't think I'm fun.

I know full well that I can't protect her in every instance, and that I can't be there for her all the time... especially now that her dad and I aren't together anymore. I understand that at some point there will be another woman introduced into her life for real, and that she'll spend time with another "mom" ...a concept that I am ok with, but deep down opens up a thousand questions and insecurities, but this is our life. Her life, my life, and I am responsible for every moment of it in my decisions and actions.

Isn't that fricking scary?
I mean down right terrifying?

Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow of our own souls, our influence is determined by the quality of our being.” -Dale E. Turner

My daughter is already such a person. She tells stories and delights in making me laugh, and she's WONDERFUL. Every moment, even the challenging ones, are beautiful because she's such a reflection of the good, innocent, real parts of me. I think that's what its all about...

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” -Thomas Kempis

We have bad days, live stressful lives, overwhelm ourselves, deal with things we'd rather not... In many instances, so many of the things we dealt with when we were teenagers have just mutated into bigger, busier, more stressful things. Divorce is hard. Breakups suck. In fact, I'd say they suck just as much now as they did when we were in Jr. High School... but we cannot revert to childish behavior and act irresponsibly. We simply do not have the luxury because there is too much depending on our own happiness.

I found myself in pain recently, frustrated because I couldn't find any relief and dreading chasing the toddler through the house just to put her shoes on. I lost my patience, and for what? She didn't know what in the world I was thinking about... she just saw an opportunity to run through the house and entice me to do the same. Who can blame her? Its annoying for us, incredibly fun for them. I immediately felt bad, and apologized to her for losing my patience. I explained that my back hurt and I was frustrated when she ran from me, but that she didn't know, so I was sorry. She lit up, and said "that's ok mommy. I love you. I make you feel better?" which was, in fact, exactly what I needed.

“The strongest influences in my life and my work are always whomever I love. Whomever I love and am with most of the time, or whomever I remember most vividly. I think that's true of everyone, don't you?” -Tennessee Williams

We owe it to our children to be good. Good to ourselves, to our family, but especially our children.

We owe it to them to be adults, and to maintain regardless of hurt or change or difficult times. Its incredibly irresponsible to assume that bad behavior and unhealthy relationships will not be mimicked in our children... and if we are their greatest example then how can we carry on in such a way without being downright neglectful of their very souls?

I worry about being a bad parent not because I treat my child disrespectfully or do things that would be considered taboo, because I just don't. I'm afraid of not realizing I'm being a bad parent because I'm too focused on everything else in my life and the consequences are so awful. I never want her to look back and say "I wish we would've just played more, mom" or "I wish you would smile more" That would break my heart completely.

“Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.” -Arthur Koestle

Recently, I lost a close friend over a very big argument. Due to my increased workload upon starting my new company I neglected our friendship and hurt her feelings. In an attempt to do the same, she said a lot of things that were very hurtful. Basically, she said that since I was working constantly and my daughter was spending a majority of her nights with her dad that I was a bad mom. I was crushed. In my entire life I had never been so hurt, and even though I knew it wasn't even remotely true, it made me very conscious of my actions. I was constantly second-guessing my decisions and word choices, wondering if she was right.

What I found was support, and acceptance, and resounding proof that she was so very wrong. My friends and family were shocked, but they were supposed to be on my side. My over-analyzing and soul searching led me back to Marti Pearl. She's such a happy, loving, well-adjusted child. She spends her time hugging and singing and blowing kisses, she would easily be the happy-go-lucky kid suckered into the back of a van and stolen forever (yet another HUUUGE fear) because she trusts everyone completely. The stinky guy at Wal-Mart scratching himself in the cracker aisle is just as much an opportunity to see and know another person as any other, there's not even a small sense of discrimination there. She's a trip. Seriously.

My boyfriend, knowing I was concerned about it said to me one night that the most attractive thing about me was my dedication to my daughter... and he's right. She's my everything, and I can't imagine my life any other way. I treat her like an adult, a partner in crime if you will... and she acts accordingly most of the time. Its hard remembering she's only 2 sometimes. He told me to stop worrying, that my daughter was a wonderful reflection of me and that I was doing just fine.

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. -Stacia Tauscher

Last week Bean girl walked in tapping away on a calculator. When I asked what she was doing she said "I'm textin, mama!" ...a clear sign that I needed to put down the phone.

Sometimes we need reminding... hell, sometimes we need a smack right upside our head so that we always remember who is watching us. Our tears and angry words are constantly being measured just like our smiles and belly laughs, every single moment. I'm not afraid of that by any means because I know we're coming out on top.

I know I'm not a bad parent... just like I know my toilet is snake-free at this very moment, but perhaps its those unfounded and ridiculous fears just add to us being unique interesting people and parents.

I'm still completely baffled by my fear of tall people and don't think that's adding to my value at all.


September 19, 2009 at 9:44 PM Anonymous said...

I have a fear of frogs coming up the sewer line and biting me in the butt while I do my business.

And, also, of being a bad mom.