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Fearing the worst, expecting the best

I remember the first time I felt fear as a parent. It was when I was home alone with Little Dude for the first time. I felt terrified of the responsibility that was bestowed upon me in the form of a beautiful baby. I was over the moon, but I was also unable to come to terms with the fact that everything I did was going to shape another human being's life. At least, that's the way it felt to me. I had trouble sleeping at night, not because he woke me often, but because I felt I had to keep looking at him to see if he was doing alright. I did this even though he was right beside me. Such are the fears that only parenthood makes us experience. Every step, we wonder whether we are doing the right thing. Ever thing we do must take into account its implication for our children.


I thought this fear would diminish over time. But I didn't expect to have so many things to worry about as time progressed. At two years of age, as Little Dude becomes more independent, I am afraid to let go. I wonder whether I have equipped him to deal with failure, disappointments, and fear itself. I don't think I'll ever be ready to let go. As parents, isn't a part of us always with our kids? Isn't it true that wherever we are, and whatever we are doing - they are always in our thoughts?

I see the world differently now. In my eyes, everything is a threat to my child - the traffic, the pollution, the crime, and the pesticides. I worry about the dangerous and unsafe world our children are inheriting (I wrote about it in Parenting in a big, bad world). For the first time, I want to eat healthy and stay well for his sake. No more risks tempt me, and my 'adventures' are anything but those.

Since these fears are so much part of me as a parent, I don't feel that the expectations that we create of being a 'perfect parent' is a good thing. I will never be perfect. I may even be over-protective. But I want to do everything I can to make my son smile. I'll try to teach him things that will make him a good person, so he can inspire goodness in others. Right now, I must brush away my fears and cynicism, and show him the sunshine and the rainbows. Because, as important as it is to protect our children, it is our duty as parents to show them the beauty of everyday life, and point out the goodness that still exists in this world. Children already know how to appreciate the little things in life, and we must encourage them.


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24 comments

Meegs said...

I hear you about all those unexpected fears. Its hard sometimes not to let them overwhelm us! To have a child is to have a part of you forever outside your body. But we also get to experience the world anew through them!

Katie @ Pick Any Two said...

I completely agree that we need to shed the "perfect parent" mentality. Of course we are going to make mistakes; of course we are going to be over-this or under-that. And feeling afraid for our children is a significant part of that.

Lauren Wayne said...

That is so true! I love your emphasis on showing our kids the beauty of life, even if it means moving beyond our own fears.

tinsenpup.net said...

Yes! I can definitely relate to everything you've written and I can confirm that fear doesn't really diminish as they get older. It's only the things you're fearful about that change. My eldest is twelve. I wonder if I'll be able to worry less when she's thirty. :) Probably not. I think you do let go a little though. You don't really get a choice.

GJT said...

I don't think fear as a parent ever goes away, it just shifts it's focus around as your child gets older. When they were little, it was fear of SIDS, not developing enough, or getting enough food. Now that my kids are older, it is fear of them crossing the street by themselves, getting emotionally hurt by others....and still not getting enough food.

Momma Jorje said...

I gave up riding my Harley Davidson because the risk was really and truly not worth the benefit (and I really did love to ride!).

Our children are surely always in our thoughts and it can be all too easy to get caught up in our fears. My husband still occasionally checks our 4yo to make sure she is breathing in her sleep. Cute... but stressful for him, no doubt.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Sometimes it feels like fear begets fear - that the more time we dwell on things that COULD happen, the more time we . . . spend on things that could happen ;) It feels good to acknowledge the fear, do what we can to prevent it, and then let it go, because so much of it is simply not in our control.

Tarana Khan said...

That's true. Looking at the world through their eyes is an amazing experience!

Tarana Khan said...

Isn't it? I feel so anxious, but I just can't help it!

Tarana Khan said...

Thank you, Lauren!

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks for affirming that! I don't think I'll ever stop worrying now that I'm a parent.

Tarana Khan said...

Hmm...I'm sure I'll never stop worrying, ever!

Tarana Khan said...

That's sweet, actually! No matter how old they are, they're always our babies :)

Tarana Khan said...

That's good advice, Dionna!

cellulitelooksbettertan said...

I have never been more terrified than the first night I brought my first born home from the hospital. I looked at him and loved him so much that I knew nothing could ever happen to him, and I was going to be responsible for keeping him on this earth. Mommy fear...there's nothing more terrifying.

RACHEL DEMAS said...

It doesn't ever get easier, does it? The fears morph into new fears, as they age and change. Love is stronger though!

Amanda said...

I definitely agree that fears and anxieties seem to grow rather than diminish, and worrying could be a full-time job if we allowed our fears to overwhelm us. It's sounds like you're taking the right approach seeking balance between seeking safety for your son and staying present in the wonder of life.

I also appreciated your observation that our children are with us where ever we go and whatever we do. It's so true!

Tarana Khan said...

You described it perfectly, that's exactly how I felt too!

Tarana Khan said...

Yes, Rachel, love definitely overcomes all those fears!

Tarana Khan said...

So glad you could relate, Amanda!

Victoria Welton said...

This is such a great post. I have to agree the whole 'go with your instincts' thing. I remember feeling scared of the fact that I was in charge of a little human! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

Tarana Khan said...

It is a little scary at first, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by!

Sarah MumofThree World said...

I can totally relate to this! I remember feeling fear on our very first walk with my son (now 13!) - a dog looked inside his pram and all of a sudden I could smell fumes from the cars I'd never noticed before. My kids are now 8, 10 and 13 and I still have an undercurrent of fear all the time. I worry particularly about travelling, which doesn't really make much sense - I'm not much of a driver and won't drive more than about 10 miles with the kids, I even worry a bit when my husband is driving.

Tarana said...

I think it's one of the biggest challenges of parenting, Sarah, to deal with all these fears. We're designed that way I think!

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