Sunday, January 25, 2015

Parenting Notes to Myself

I'm new at this.

Parenting that is.

What has it been, 3.5 years or something? There was a user's manual, right? Oh yeah, there was that "new parents" class we took a few months before the first baby arrived - and I read some things - probably not enough - about what to expect. What stuck with me the most was the variety in terms of color and consistency of infant poop. I took infant & toddler CPR too - which of course terrified me. Before there was a feeling of competence, another child arrived.  Sure. this is how it's done, right?

I recall thinking that there was a certain amount of inter-generational hazing going on, that certain things that our parents and grandparents experienced (the real tough stuff) just went without saying. There were platitudes like, "oh, you'll figure it out" and such - which was true. Maybe, just maybe, if the real truth about being a parent were known, no one would do it. OK, well, maybe not no one, but fewer. What would that mean? Who knows?

I've realized recently that, most of my parenting activities have been underscored with a sense of anxiety and self-doubt. What does that mean? I suppose it means that I constantly self-talk about the "what if...?" scenarios of what we're doing, and whether I'm doing it wrong. What if he gets sick when we visit the play space? What if I'm somehow giving him a complex because I'm doing potty training "wrong"? What if he pukes in the bed again? What if I'm not making enough money to get them the education they deserve (and need?).

What if I cut myself some slack? As a matter of fact, I'm doing OK with the potty training - at least I can clean up poop pretty well - and if it gets on me, I don't freak out. Oh yeah, and I'm not alone in this whole parenting thing, I have a partner. Maybe I would be well-served by sharing these feelings?

I'm realizing that all the worrying and hand-wringing is counter-productive. It undermines my confidence as a parent because I am pretty much figuring it out as I go along - and I can. Most importantly, my ability to be present with my children is severely hampered. If I'm pre-occupied with internally evaluating and criticizing my parenting activities and worrying about it, how am I "there"?

So, when my son asks, "Daddy, will you come play with me?", the answer can simply be, "yes".

1 comment:

Anna Schafer said...

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