It’s the heart-stopping reaction you get when you see your baby reaching for the BBQ chip that has been lying in a pile of dust bunnies for 2 weeks, or the sheer terror of wondering what happened to the permanent marker from your garage sale last weekend. Moms, you know the feeling I’m talking about! I’ve compiled some of my most fear-inducing mom moments – can you relate???
- You don’t see the play dough that your child was just playing with. Has it been squished into a couch cushion, mashed into the dog’s fur, or possibly eaten by a curious 2-year-old? The possibilities are terrifyingly endless!
- Anything that involves your child and a bottle of glitter.
- Your toddler is quietly playing in the other room. You take this opportunity to load the dishwasher. Three minutes later, you realize it’s too quiet! You race back into the other room as you know this silence means he is most likely chewing on an electrical cord or has somehow escaped the house despite the baby gate and 17 locks on the door.
- You don’t hear your baby in the back seat making the usual baby sounds and you look back due to fear that you accidentally left him somewhere, like the McDonald’s Play Place. You casually ask your preschooler, “Is your brother sleeping?” in order reassure yourself.
- Seeing your kid mouthing the grocery cart and realizing you never wiped it down.
- You wake up to discover you forgot to plug in the baby monitor and it died in the night. Emotions range from happiness over a fantastic uninterrupted night of sleep mixed with fear that baby has been crying for 5 hours.
All silliness aside, the common theme among these situations is the fear that you’re not good enough, that your mothering skills are somehow inadequate. We are constantly inundated with images from TV and social media pressuring us to live up to certain societal expectations of the “perfect mom”. The one who makes Pinterest-worthy Toy Story birthday cakes from scratch and never thinks about things like accidentally leaving her baby at the McDonald’s Play Place. The one who never has dust bunny-covered chips on her kitchen floor and never forgets to wipe down the grocery cart. One thing I am sure of is that the perfect mom doesn’t exist and that all our fears and worries about our children simply mean we love them.
I am in no way suggesting that it’s acceptable to neglect baby proofing, hand washing, or car seats, or that you should routinely let your child eat food off the floor. I am in no way suggesting that the fears will one day magically vanish. Motherly instinct exists for a reason. Many of us will still tip-toe into a sleeping babe’s room just to check on him long after he starts sleeping through the night. Peeking into the church nursery to watch for a minute, even though you know the teachers are giving your child exceptional care? Guilty as charged. However, it’s important not to let those worries and fears overtake the beautiful times with our children. Keep loving them, keep checking on them, keep nurturing and protecting them, but don’t allow the worries control you. Let’s put worry aside today and focus on loving these precious little people we have been given.