You Can’t Scare Me :: I’m a Mom


You Can't Scare Me :: I'm a MomIt’s spooky season! 

I love going to haunted houses and watching scary movies and reading ghost stories. Sometimes I freak myself out and I wake up my husband to check out a suspicious sound because I’ve convinced myself it’s something nefarious, but 99.9% of the time it is something completely harmless like a tree branch tapping on our window.

I’ve found parenting to be a lot like that.

When you become a mom, something happens in your brain. I don’t understand it, but I know that I’ve become keenly aware of every single potential for danger immediately after giving birth to my little boy. Suddenly I was faced with decisions and options that I never knew existed. Even things that seem like common sense are warped into a no-win death trap. “Haven’t you read that laying your baby on their back for a long time makes them have a flat head and they’ll need a helmet to correct it?” “Don’t you know that letting your baby lay on their belly increases their risk for SIDS?” Awesome, I guess I will just hold my baby in an upright position 24/7 for the next 12 months. My oldest child is about to turn nine and I still check his breathing every night before I go to bed, no lie. 

At the playground I walk a fine line between letting my kids be kids and wanting to protect them. I watch as they climb up slide ladders that are twice my height when I know good and well they barely can walk on flat ground without tripping. I want to tell them to be careful, but I have also heard that we shouldn’t tell children that because it may instill an attitude of fear. Instead, I smile a weird smile and grit my teeth and hope to goodness they don’t break anything. They slide down the slide and run off with a group of children they just met. I am so thankful they are happy to make any stranger a friend, but what if those kids are mean to them? What if these kids teach mine a new four-letter word? What if these kids have creepy parents? I think I’ll just scroll Instagram and try to take my mind off it, but then I’m looking at a picture of Susie Homemaker’s Bento box lunch she “threw together” for her kid this morning.

Food. My favorite part of life except when there are children involved.

My family loves it when I cook Million Dollar Spaghetti (more like Million Calorie Spaghetti, am I right?) and I know without a doubt that they will eat this one meal without complaints. Literally every other meal is a toss-up though. I know so many of us in the trenches of motherhood are fighting the dinner battle and it is emotionally exhausting. You don’t want your kids to be hungry, or worse, hangry so you try to feed them what they like, but the things they enjoy tend to not be the most nutritious choices. Then you have to consider the long-term effects of feeding your kids a diet rich in dino-shaped nuggets and PBJ. You can’t force them to eat whatever apparently poison-filled vegetable you serve because that messes up their relationship with food. You can’t bribe them with dessert because that sets them up to connect positive emotions with sweets and they will become emotional eaters. Half-way through a Little Caesars’ pizza I wonder when Child Protective Services is going to decide that I have messed up dinner too many times and place my children in a home with the kind of mother who cooks a delicious gluten-free, vegan, free range cauliflower crust pizza instead. 

Every good mom worries if they’re doing the best they can.

There is not a single decision I make throughout the day that doesn’t first get run through my mom analytics system to find out how it would affect my kids now and later. No wonder we are so tired, ladies. In the 18+ years we have our children at home, we can’t expect to protect them from every less than ideal situation that will inevitably come their way. Nobody can! It is impossible to get through this journey without making mistakes along the way.

I promise you’re doing better than you think. I think it’s time we cut ourselves some slack and make a conscious effort to not allow our minds to let those tree branches tapping on the window turn into monsters.