Is my daughter watching too much TV? Getting too much screen time? Is she getting enough “fresh air”? Is she going to pick up a stomach virus? A serious personal dread of mine. Are people going to pick on her at school? Am I spoiling her with clothes or toys? Am I using my phone too much around her and completely ignoring her? Am I being too strict or mean? Am I being too lenient? Is she going to meet a boyfriend (you know, like a decade from now) that is going to get her into drugs? Am I totally f@$king up this parenting thing? Am I being too weird and nervous?
And then I swing back the other way some days, not sweating the small stuff, feeling more confident about my decisions. Knowing that I’m raising a sweet, sharp girl with decent manners (most of the time). I just wish I had more assurance of my parenting skills on a regular basis and more trust that she’s going to be JUST FINE. Because it’s going to be consciousness, not worry, that’s going to be the more positive guiding force for her.
Sometimes this worry blocks me from being able to be present in the moment. The guilt and concern over well, nothing really, serve no purpose 99% of the time. Sometimes it’s helpful to remember my childhood. I don’t recall my mother sitting on the floor and playing with me all the time. She was on the phone, cleaning the house, working in the yard, making dinner. You know. Just stuff. I didn’t feel like she was ignoring me; I didn’t feel abandoned. So why do I feel like we need to be on the move all weekend, always doing something kid-centric or attending some event with the hopes of creating memories for my Bean? (Which, we all know she’s not going to remember, but rather, she’ll have childhood memories of stuff like the time she fell down the stairs while eating a tortilla chip or some other random such thing.)
Why do I feel guilty folding laundry or cleaning the house when she wants to play with me? Is it because I work a full time job and I’m not home with her during the day? Is it because I feel like I have a laundry list of things to do on a daily basis? But don’t all moms feel like this? I want to just trust that my daughter will remember us stripping the bed together while she allows herself to be buried under sheets and comforter, singing along to her Annie record, dancing around the kitchen or vacuuming the living room: I with my boring blue Hoover, her with her exciting light-up Minnie cleaning machine.
I remember hearing many years ago that faith and fear cannot live in the same house. This is one of my favorite adages. Stop being so afraid, Tara. Have faith that your daughter will be OK if she zones out on some TV once in a while. She knows I’m here, and that I’ll always be here.