As long as I can remember my mom has told me I over think things, that I worry too much.
Since I see the world through my colorful lens of worry, fear, self doubt, and a tendency to over plan I always assumed she just didn’t worry enough. Since Baby A was born October 2012 I am beginning to realize my mom might be right.
I am frequently heard saying there are a million things no one ever tells you about having children but I am starting to think there was no way anyone could tell me these things since I spend a lot of time on that rocking chair of worry getting nowhere fast. The biggest thing no one told me is that there is no such thing as a break – even when she isn’t near me there are a million worries going though my mind. Does she miss me? Are there enough diapers? Can she sleep okay? Did she fall and get hurt? Is she crying? The list goes on and on. I even worry about when I have to send her to school and how to make the right choices about her education. And college? Geez, just forget it. Every year kids die at college from one thing or another, are robbed, rapped and generally partake in risky behavior. I am so invested in this beautiful little girl that any amount of risk sends me buzzing in circles in my own head. Before you go thinking I am over protective, I can promise you I am not. That worry also enters my worry tornado and forces me to weigh the potential risks of x activity with the more likely risk of her being socially awkward because I didn’t let her learn to be a kid and eventually an adult.
My latest fear is how my fear will affect her. I am afraid of upsetting the status quo because sometimes the best laid plans … well you know the rest. Even if I make a well thought out plan and take the right steps, sometimes it just doesn’t work out and the stakes seem to get higher as you start to get older and realize that time is not infinite and you only have limited resources. Every second spent doing X is a second taken away from doing A-W and Y-Z.
I don’t want to burden my daughter with over thinking, not relaxing, needing to control everything and so I have to take conscience measures to avoid modeling this. The place I am having the biggest struggle doing this is with my goals and objectives in life – personally and professionally. How do I teach her a job or career is what you choose it to be. Some people love doing what they do, they are fine working long hours – others not so much. Some people aspire to that corner office while others aspire to pay bills, live comfortably and spend time with their families. Both are okay if it makes you happy.
My current job provides several benefits that I love – flexible work schedule, 40 hours – no more, good amounts of vacation, back up child care should I need it, etc. It’s a great company, but it’s not what I had planned and if I am being honest it isn’t quite what fits my personality. I want a job that can be more than what I do and reflective of who I am. There might be something broken in our mainstream way of thinking – our children aspire to be doctors, lawyers, etc. They learn to feel shame over a ‘less than job’ before they even think about their first paying gig.
A had her 15 month check up today. My doctor – like any good pediatrician – has expressed concerns about her sleeping habits for the 10ish months. It isn’t ideal but she sleeps in our bed, between mommy and daddy. It’s her safe comfort zone. In additions to concerns about where she sleeps and what that could mean for her (not learning to soothe herself, forming a bad habit, etc.) it strikes me that she has never asked if A is a happy baby. I know her primary job is to ensure A’s physical health and wellbeing, but isn’t a part of that her happiness?
I don’t way A to spend all her time on the rocking chair worrying not because it has not purpose in life but because it doesn’t lead to happiness. I won’t always agree with her about what makes happiness but I will always support her in and hope for her happiness. When she lays her head down at night my hope is that she is content with her choices, her accomplishments, and that she has left nothing on the table.
Now to figure out how to do that for myself…