An Obstacle of Parenting: When Reality Bites.
I’m not usually an anxious person. I think of things logically, calmly and intuitively. I feel like a lot of what I think goes through a few filters first. But when it comes to my LO (little one), and anything that threatens her in ANY way, it’s like that whole process where Michael Jackson turns into the Werewolf in the music video Thriller…remember that awful special effects transformation? That’s me but only it happens faster. I guess that’s the parental instinct we have. Along with that “parent strength” most have claimed to have.
I wrote a similar post on here regarding parenting and the anxiety we tend to have nowadays. You can read about it here. I find this important because not only have I talked to and heard from similar parents around my age and younger or older, but it’s a reality that developed into a very real and raw concern for safety and wellbeing.
Let me normalize things a bit.
It is okay to be concerned and nervous about what to do when your child is sick if you’re new at this. It’s okay to be afraid and nervous and sad when you drop them off at a new daycare, a new school or leave them for the first time. A lot of things happen while parenting a child. Or children.
Then, there is the awful reality of news coverage and the potential of truly dangerous things happening to them. This is where my anxiety is heightened. This is where my thoughts get the best of me. Depending on what it is. Now I am not saying that every parent is like me. They might be better at this than I am. But I’ll never know. I feel like I suffer in silence at times with my personal concerns for her wellbeing based on the fact that there have been really terrifying things happening beyond our control. Call this my heightened awareness if you will. My TigerMom sense, or my MamaBear instinct…yes, whatever it is, it’s animalistic.
I realize that it’s really the anxiety of the situation that gets me, and I often tell myself that it’s “just a thought” because that is what it is. A thought. Does it take away the fact that the bad stuff doesn’t happen or did happen to someone else? No. Sadly, it doesn’t.
Here is an example of something to add to the list I want to protect her from:
The Momo Challenge. This just recently came to my attention from a co-worker and my stepdaughter. Call it what you want and call me what you want. But a terrifying doll that randomly shows up in kids’ YouTube channels and coerces suicide and self-harm? That’s evil. Not to mention it scared the hell out of me when I saw it. I read numerous articles on this since it was online as a concern. The “hackers” or people (because, yes, it’s a sick person or people who do this) think it’s okay. And it’s not the game that scares me, but it’s her innocence and fear. It’s her initial response if she did see it (which thankfully, she hasn’t). It’s the fact that I am helpless in a way and her vulnerability is preyed upon. THAT is what skyrockets my concerns and sensitivity. It’s also sick because I work in a field every day where suicide and self harm are what land a lot of my patients in the hospital. And although I know my LO will not understand fully what self harm is, she doesn’t need to be educated on that now, especially through the manner at which is currently online. Any child who is being preyed upon for any reason at all at their expense, is a heartbreaking reality.
This is why I have to take care of myself. So I can take care of her.
This is why I have to spend time with loved ones as much as I can.
This is why time with her is precious to me and even if we’re staying at home or at an event, it’s our time. Her time. My time.
I wish I could summon that “parent strength” to repel everything that could hurt or scare her. But I can’t do that with emotions or circumstances. And the fact that it’s normal for her to learn the negative things in life bums me out. Sure, everyone learns. I did, you did, etc. I accept that. Hopefully by seeing this dark side of the world, she’ll know my heart will always shine on her and for her. I’m sure one day she’ll see me as annoying or ridiculous. I’m okay with that. She will think my worrying is unnecessary and a bit much. And I will be okay with that. I have to be. What am I going to do, keep her in a bubble her whole life? Now I know what the words “You’re not a parent, it’s different with kids” means.
It sure the hell is different.