BRACING MYSELF FOR THE WORRIES OF MOTHERHOOD

I can’t say it always happens, but this time the weatherman was right. “Get ready Quad Cities, looks like our first big snowstorm of the season is heading our way.”

Remember back in November when nine inches of snow bombarded our community? At the time, my husband and I had been planning a road trip. It was only one night away, but I was looking forward to some glorious, uninterrupted time together.

However, in the days leading up to our trip, the weatherman’s predictions had me worried.

“Blowing and drifting snow.”

“Significant amounts of accumulation.”

“Dangerous wind gusts.”

I knew we would be ahead of the storm on the way there, but I was nervous about the drive home. So nervous, that I was tempted to cancel. Finally, against my better judgment, we decided to go.

As expected, we didn’t have any problems on our way there. But I still worried. The weather radar showed the storm heading our way. By dinnertime our girls texted me pictures of the growing snowdrifts back home. No doubt about it. I was dreading the trip back.

The next morning as we headed home, I tried to relax. But it wasn’t easy. We passed car after car stuck in the ditch. Every time we hit a patch of snow, I grabbed my armrest and braced myself.Brace 1

But here’s the thing. Our drive home turned out to be relatively uneventful. By then, the storm had passed, the snowplows had cleared the roads and we had missed the worst of it. I had worried for nothing.

I suppose by now you’re wondering why I’m telling you this story. Well, as we opened our garage door and returned home safe and sound, I had a revelation.That trip is the perfect illustration of my experience as a mother.

As moms, worry comes with the job. It starts early (often during pregnancy) and continues from there. Let’s face it, there’s a lot we could worry about. Is the baby eating enough? Is her height and weight within the appropriate percentiles? Is she smiling, rolling over, babbling, crawling, talking and walking when she should? Is she ever going to sleep through the night? Is she ever going to sit on the potty? Is she going to make friends at Preschool? Will she share her toys? Eat her lunch? Take a nap? And on and on it goes. Indefinitely.

As if we don’t have enough to worry about on our own, sometimes well-meaning (or not-so-well-meaning) people feel the need to warn us about upcoming seasons of motherhood. For example, I can remember hearing the following comments:

“Oh boy, if you think that temper tantrum was bad, just wait until the terrible twos.”

“Starting school? Wonderful! But you know, it’s tough to keep them healthy once they start school. There’s nasty colds, strep throat, stomach flu, pink eye, head lice …”

“Junior high? Well brace yourself for the drama, mean girls, bullies, peer pressure, cliques, hormones …”

I’ll be honest. Those negative comments had a subtle way of affecting my attitude about the future. And I didn’t like it.

Just when I thought I had my child figured out, I was bracing myself for a new season. Fear takes the fun out of everything!

Sure, there’s going to be rough patches. Every season will have them. But looking back I’ve realized that most of the time, I worried for nothing. Many of those stages weren’t nearly as bad as those “well meaning” Debbie-Downers made them out to be.Brace 2

In my opinion, a little worry isn’t all bad. Some worries keep me prepared and perceptive. But I can’t fall into the habit of worrying about every little thing. Worrying is unproductive.

So what if you are going through a difficult season? Remember, it will pass. You’ll get through it. You’ll learn from it. And you’ll be stronger for it.

A mom who is in a constant state of worry is not at her best. I want to enjoy motherhood – and I can’t do it if I’m constantly bracing myself for the possibility of future storms.

Do you worry about upcoming seasons with your kids? Me too. But I’m working on it. In the meantime, I’ll give you the same advice my mom gives me. “Don’t worry about it. Just cross that bridge if you come to it.”

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