I think that’ll be the title of my very boring memoire on being a high-anxiety mother. Although…is there any other kind, besides like deadbeat meth mother?
photo by mira photographs, our honest no-ad go-to for every single family photo ever
My point is that all parents live with a fair amount of worry and anxiety, right? Let’s go with yes.
I’m weird (no shit) in that my worry/anxiety about parenting has increased as Beck has gotten older. I have no idea if this is normal or not, but at the beginning it was way easier, for me at least. Boobs worked, baby gained weight, we snuggled and tried to sleep and that was kind of it. Diaper rash or SIDS weren’t points of emotional contention for me.
But now! She knows what is happening and I swear she is judging all the bad words I use and I want to have this perfect calm zen environment all the time but then I hear Jay yell because a suction cup toy thingy doesn’t suction and he just swears a lot in general and I’m like WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU YOU ARE A MONSTER SHE IS GOING TO GET PREGNANT AT AGE 12 IF WE DON’T GET OUR ACT TOGETHER.
And then I drop something on the floor in the kitchen and use the exact same words. I will honestly wonder about mental retardation if Beck’s first word ISN’T a bad one.
If emotional development wasn’t bad enough (I don’t remember being taught specifically not to be actively suicidal or psychotic. Yet I’m not. How does one teach tshat? Dear God.), faux worries about safety are in my head all. the. time. Beck loves feeding food to the dogs, and I have constant images of them accidentally taking off her entire hand with en enthusiastic chomp. 90% of the time I’m all “kids are tough, she needs to be around animals, they aren’t aggressive, kids fall all the time!” but then the “but what if she’s the 1% that hits her head and never wakes up…” just creeps in and there is no amount of care and prevention that can protect against the random stuff, we all know that. The things that are out of my control, which is only most of the world, drive me batty. That + an active imagination is just…well, there isn’t enough boxed wine in the world, not that I should be trying to find out if there is.
My recent anxiety comes from the fact that Beck loses.her.mind. in nurseries. Can’t deal with it, doesn’t want to play with cool toys or other babies, what a jerk. She goes to nurseries at 2 gyms where I teach yoga, and both of them are conveniently located RIGHT next to the rooms that I use, so I can hear her cry for one whole hour while I try to do my job. I keep getting assigned to teach during naptime, so we have a sad tired baby with no coping skills just howling, and tons of kids sharing 2 or 3 adults. This morning I came in after class and she was sitting on the floor crying through her paci while playing with a toy that she likes. She was trying not to cry, and she was the smallest kid there, just sitting in the middle of the floor all sad and lost. I almost lost it. The caretakers weren’t doing anything wrong, and of course there’s part of me that is like “HOLD HER THE WHOLE TIME YOU MONSTER,” but they have other kids to tend to and every that doesn’t work all the time if it isn’t me or Jay.
So then what happens is that I keep knocking back my teaching schedule, and changing my plans so that she never has to be without any family member, and last night I woke up at 3:30am to go to the bathroom and stayed awake for 2 hours anticipating her screaming while I taught and contemplating faking a car wreck or any number of lies to get out of teaching because I knew there was no way I could get a sub at the last minute. But I didn’t, I went and did my job because that’s part of life, and now Beck is napping and I know that she’s fine. I know that she needs to be around other kids and I really want her to have fun in these situations, so when she doesn’t it makes me feel bad for the nursery workers, guilty for working, stressed for her, and GLORY the lump in my throat is big right now, can you tell?
But what I know is this. If we mainly lead by example and read books to Beck and are pretty nice to each other and do our jobs and set boundaries she will be fine. There will be tears and accidents and loss and sadness and in all likelihood she will make it through knowing that she’s loved and strong and bright and share that with the world. And as she gets older I’ll freak out about new things and then realize that it’s all going to be fine and then repeat the cycle in 3 months. Or hours.
It’s the whole I Love My Kid Too Much, isn’t it? Maybe I’ll take up meth.