I’m having another one of those nights.
Some of you know what I’m talking about…
- Where will ”6” go for summer camp?
- Who will care for the twins while I’m at work?
- How will I grow my business?
- Will I ever achieve my goals?
- 6’s room is a mess; I won’t have time to clean it till Friday.
As badly as I need sleep –
As badly as I WANT to sleep – mom guilt and parenting insecurity keep me up hours after everyone else has settled in.
Why feel guilty? What is driving the insecurity?
What I’ve just described to you, are “thought distortions.” The mind takes an idea, a task, a responsibility and runs wild – in the worst way. With practice, challenging these distortions is easy. Maintaining constant healthy and fruitful perspective takes time and practice but you CAN achieve this.
Starting now, I vow to be patient with myself and set the goal to stop this “worst case scenario” line of thinking. My timeline: before the twins start school.
My motivation for this vow is simple: thinking this way isn’t productive.
Does it happen every night? Luckily no. For some of you, I understand that it does, and it has taken a toll on you emotionally, socially, in your intimate relationships and with your productivity at work. For some, so paralyzing that you can’t function at all.
For me personally, I’ve identified that this behavior increases when a major transition is imminent. The current trigger? The transition from Kindergarten and the start of summer camp. In less than 6 weeks my almost 6-year-old daughter (who will endearingly be referred to as “6” in blogs going forward) is too full of energy for grandparents. I know that she will enjoy her summer most if I can maximize her exposure to other kids her age. Just the same as when she left daycare and started school, I’m overcome with wave after wave of emotion. Fear. Anxiety. Guilt. Frustration. Overthinking everything. What if a choice I make results in something bad happening to her?
What if another kid touches her inappropriately? Or an adult.
What if she drowns?
What if they lose her?
What if she gets picked on and she’s scared? Alone?
6 is my oldest and my only daughter; I worry about her most of all.
The twins are in good hands and have at least another 1.5 years before these worries are shifted in their direction.
How do I get a hold on this? How does any parent?
First, you remind yourself that all the choices you are making now, are based in love and are well-intentioned.
Second, educate your children. Tell them about good touch/bad touch. Identify private areas with their clinical name; call a vagina a vagina. Stop calling breasts “cookies” and vaginas “who-haws”.
Third, use friends and acquaintances as references. Sending your child somewhere that a person you know is familiar with, will ease some of that tension. If their kid enjoyed it, maybe yours will too.
Fourth, check in with your children. Ask how their day was, ask if anyone made them feel weird or scared them. Keeping open lines of dialogue with your children will help ease some of your worries. Kids are more perceptive than they get credit for.
Finally, give yourself a break. Parenting is hard; our social climate is tense. Our accessibility to horror stories around the globe is exponentially greater than it ever was before. We hear about all the bad things that happen, but we don’t hear about all the things that go right. How many kids go to summer camp and love it; experience it without incident or trauma? Probably millions each year. It doesn’t matter how careful we are, sometimes bad things happen to innocent people. If we let the chances that something “bad” could happen, deter us from trying new things or living life, then everyone needs to stop driving, boarding airplanes, eating out at restaurants, get married, having children or even leaving the house.
It’s a scary thought and let me validate your fear. Letting the world have access to your children is scary.
Now take that fear and even if just for a moment, turn away from it.
Take 10 deep breaths and call me in the morning.
Zoe Mittman, LSW Growing up, you may have imagined your 20s to be filled with excitement, love and adventures. But life happens and reality sinks in. Your life is not what you imagined. It is complex. Filled with both pain…Read More
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