Monday, May 9, 2011

Mommy Fears. Overprotective or Highly Cautious?

I admit it is a liiiittle long but this is a very honest post about being a mommy (and daddy) and always wanting our babies (3 1/2, 1 1/2, and 14 weeks old) to be safe. Understanding that God is in control while also wanting to protect these sweet lil' littles ourselves. And I feel like this is a subject that people don't really talk about.


Little Preface

There is a fine line, to me/us, of protecting our babies and trusting God. We have said this before about making big decisions too. There is a fine line of using logic to plan and trusting God with the outcome. There needs to be both, but where is the line drawn?

Hubby and I are both, admittedly, control freaks. We're not sure how we got this way. :) Maybe because we had to partially take care of ourselves, in different ways, starting from a young age. I started working in high school, paid my way (racked up some loans ;) and my fab Mom helped when she could) through college, bought my 1st couple cars ('83 Nissan Sentra followed by a '91 Ford Probe... silver... pop up lights... some kick... loved that car ;)), insurance, etc. Hubby taught himself *a lot.* He is an amazing Hubby and Daddy, and has taught himself how to do home projects (plumbing, lighting, some carpentry, and more), finances/budgeting/being fiscally conservative, dealings with real estate and so much more.

My Mom also made the point the other night that one reason she thinks it is, is because I don't want to make a mistake. True true as well. I don't like to make mistakes. I don't like to fail at things, especially in front of other people. :) Not saying it doesn't happen, but I hate it when it does. :)

I have always been a bit of a worrier, some times less than others (something I've been working on for years), but mommyhood has amplified the worrying and crazy thoughts that go through my head (Hubby too) in an effort to want and make sure that the babies are always safe.

Concerns* for the littles

  • Climbing. Spotting them when they climb, especially early on. A foot or a hand could slip.
  • (Especially being boys?) Being unaware of their surroundings/edges when playing.
  • Playgrounds (there may be an entire post on this at some point!)... all of the openings. Being pushed off the playground or other kids running by, and in an effort not to get pushed or run over they step back and not realize there is an opening.
  • Riding bikes or running down hills/driveway and running/turning too quickly and falling/getting hurt.
  • Sleeping in a bed in another place. Worried they could fall out of bed and bonk on a side table (although we've been known to rearrange hotel rooms ;)) or if in another house (beach house, etc) they could open the door to their room, and we wouldn't hear it (or see in video monitor), and get hurt in the house/fall down stairs or make it out of the house and get very hurt.
  • People carrying the babies or holding them on decks or by ledges. So many think that because they are a certain age or think they are certain age that they'll never try to dive or get down and what if they're not holding tight enough. I am sweating just thinking about it.
  • Going to school and learning or hearing bad language/concepts that we'll have to reteach each time. (we work so hard to instill good manners/obedience/etc. they're not perfect but we try to work from their hearts)
  • Standing up and slipping and bonking in the bathtub.
  • Making sure that when we/I get them out of the car to go in a store, I always have a hand on them. So many people let their little ones walk and walk far away from them, and what if that one time, they decide to run after something (even if usually well behaved) or you are dependent on other drivers to be safe (yikes).
  • Strangers. They are such sweet social little bugs. (ETA: not that they're ever very far from us ;))
  • Bleachers. Sharp edges, potential to fall back/off.
  • Coffee tables. We don't have any since we had BabyBoy but playing/visiting at someone else's house, falling and hitting the corner in a bad place (eye, head...). (Ottomans work great!)

  • Partial Conclusion

    I know it is terrible to think about these things. But they are all thoughts that have made their way through my (and Hubby's) head. And there maaaaay be more ;). I know a lot of times it is the devil poking a tender spot but they are also very real worries. I never want our babies to get hurt. We all get little bonks, I'm talking about more than a little bonk or situation.

    I have recently thought about most of the worries and, especially for BabyBoy (3 1/2), most of the everyday circumstance worries he really wouldn't get that hurt.

    And then I think, our babies are God's babies to us on loan to do His work and spread His word. Shouldn't we then fully trust Him all the time that He has our babies' safety in His hands. But on the other hand, as flesh, I (we) want to be in complete control, to take precautions and make sure they are safe, that they don't get hurt, or get their little hearts broken. (control freak much?) There should be a healthy ;) balance of both. I fall a little more on the unhealthy than Hubby but he is very close to my location on the protective train :).

    Does any of this sound at all familiar to you or completely crazy?

    *My (our) aim is to never show them or display the worry but to give them confidence in everything they attempt and do (within reason ;-)). And they are such good boys but all littles have the potential to be unpredictable and they can all have times of disobedience.


    Kristy said...

    I am the SAME way.
    There are people on my street that let their kids (ages 10- 4ish?) ride their bikes up and down our street alllll day long. It stresses me out! I don't even let the girls go in the yard without me!
    *Deep breaths!*

    Gooch Family said...

    There are sooo many things to worry about with little ones, I hear ya. I do a lot of those things, but also know that they learn from making mistakes and falling down and you can cheer when they get up. Toughens them up I think :)

    Becca said...

    Sometimes I just have to decide to NOT let myself go down the "what if" trail, because it's a scary place to be!

    Brittany Ann said...

    I have the same concerns, and Baby Girl isn't even here yet. I struggle w/this a ton. I want her to be in the world, but not of the world, you know? I kind of blogged about this today, in fact. It's such a dilemma.

    amywelborn said...

    I felt this way when I had my first boy Maddox, it took me having Cruz to chill me out. Now I let my boys run, play explore. I always keep an eye out, but I don't want to hinder them. It is a hard balance!! Accidents are going to happen, but as long as you aren't just letting them play unsupervised I bet they will be fine!!;)

    Trina said...

    I'm the same way! We don't let the kids play in the front yard alone. Only in the back and I have to be able to see them through my kitchen window if one of us isn't out there. We hold hands when we are crossing streets or walking in parking lots. Neither has spent the night at other kids houses because I worry about the home life and if they use bad language. Oh yeah, I'm a control freak.

    Lindsey said...

    I would have the same concerns if I had kids. I think you are a great mom!!

    Waiting for Bulgaria said...

    I've never posted on your blog before, but I have enjoyed reading. As a working mommy of a three year old boy I completely understand. I've really had to let go and trust God a lot more since I take him to preschool. Although, one time his babysitter (when he was about 5 months old) took him to a mental hospital in Austin, TX on a rainy day. Long story short, her foster daughter, who had lived with her for 3+ years (and seemed perfectly stable), decided to threaten suicide. Rather than call one of us to pick him up she just loaded up his carseat and took him with her. I flipped out, and that was the end of home babysitters for me. Preschools and daycares can have their problems but at least they are closely regulated. And that was ridiculously long. But just know you are so not alone!

    Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

    Okay, here goes:
    I think every woman struggles with this. Every girlfriend I know admits to fears about her children, on all sorts of levels. I think the lying awake at night and wondering about the what-ifs are universal to all mommies.

    But we cannot let it take us captive. And we cannot let it enslave our children. It is one thing to intellectually understand the sovereignty of God and another thing entirely to trust Him with the lives of "our" children, yes?

    My mother-in-law says that, in some ways, we are right to fear in this day and age. There is much evil in the world. Times have changed since the days when kids rode their bikes to town and went down to the swimming hole without supervision, life vests, and, heaven forbid, sunscreen.

    But you are right to recognize that they aren't really "ours." And that nobody knows their hours or their minutes. We do what we can, but we cannot predict all the horrors that could happen, no matter how much the news media tries.

    A word of advice about boys, especially: it does get better. You will die a little every day for the next year. But at some point, you do get a bit more numb to their hijinks and need for danger. You will also be able to diagnose the real bonks from the ones that are just for dramatic effect.

    When the boys were 2, I took every piece of furniture, every toy out of their rooms. Bed and carpet. That is all I left. Because they were very likely to kill themselves or me. And I've got stories to prove it. Now that they are 7, we've got a few broken bones under our belt, and I'm actually considering putting a bookshelf in their room. Bolted to the wall, of course. At some point, you will just naturally loosen the reins. Or they will take them from you.

    It takes a lot of prayer, a lot of "just breathe, mamas," and a sense of humor to raise boys. You do what you can reasonably do and the rest you must daily, sometimes minute by minute, place in God's hands.

    Also, encourage the Hubs to take an online trauma training course and buy some wound care stuff. You won't regret having that on hand. Oh, and Arnica. Ooo, and popsicles for busted lips. Plus, never underestimate the power of super glue instead of stitches.

    Be like the Boy scouts, I guess... Be Prepared. And then be Prayerful.


    Becca said...

    Ok so for some reason I was just thinking that my earlier comment probably came out wrong . . . what I MEANT was that I do that all the time and I'm a worrier and I have to just decide to not let myself do it anymore sometimes, or I will literally drive myself crazy!

    Happiness Is... said...

    I so relate to this. I can hardly sleep half the time because I am worried about the baby breathing even though he is on his back with no bumpers, no loose anything in the crib and sleeping in an ice box b/c heat is bad. I mean, really. I keep trying to tell myself that he's not really mine anyway, as you say, but it's easier said than done. I worry all the time. I wish I didn't :(

    Jillian said...

    This is totally normal!! I think ever mother has these fears! It is so hard to give them to God but I have to try right?

    melissa said...

    Do you remember being a child? I have really had to teach myself to do that. I constantly had the same worries as you until one day I realized I was smothering my child. I fell down when I was a kid - I got back up. I cracked my head when I was a kid - I got an icepack. I drank out of a garden hose on a hot summer day - and I lived to tell about it. Some of the other things that you discuss - absolutely! Hold your child's hand when in a parking lot - teach them not to talk to strangers. Sweat the big stuff - Not the small stuff. You are holding yourself captive like I did for so many years. Let your children be children and learn them learn from their mistakes and most importantly be there with the neosporin and band-aids. God knows that we cannot protect them from everything - our job is to be there to help them up when they fall.

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