Friday, October 26, 2012

My Mama Fears

Recently, John read an article about climbing that talked about fear.  When we're climbing, sometimes fear will start to mess with us, and we should take a minute and think about what is creating that fear.  We should identify what's making us afraid and what we should do in regards to the possible problematic dilemma.  

That really helped my thinking when I climb, but more than that, it helped me be a better mom.  There are several types of loving moms out there that range from over-protective to major risk takers.  There is a huge range of how much protection we give to our babies.  While there isn't a perfect equation of how we best care for our children, we still have to figure out what is best for us.  On one hand we have women that shelter their kids and they never get to try new things or take any risks at all.  On the other hand we have women who don't know where all their kids are and what they're up to and those kids get injured often.  Which raises the better person?  In this case, neither extreme is better, but a healthy balance does the job.  

At 15 months, Burl went to the ER with his first head wound.  He got 9 stitches and a sweet scar on his forehead, and I got anxiety.  Well, not really anxiety, but that one incident has messed with me.  I'm so much more cautious now.  I think the week after, I was a mess.  I remember seeing sharp corners every where we went.  I was a freak.  I think I constantly made jokes about wrapping him in bubble wrap to calm my mama heart.  A year and a half later, I'm starting to let go again.  I'm starting to make myself let him do little things.  

There is a ladder that is at this one playground that scares me.  It's four or five steps high.  I let him do it without me hovering.  It's terrifying.  I stand on the ground and talk to myself in my head.  What am I afraid of?  What could go wrong?  What's the worse that can happen?  The worse thing that could probably go wrong is that he could break something and we would have to rush to the ER.  I would hate it, but that's part of childhood.  

Today, eight of my mama friends took our 18 kids to a quarry for lunch.  We sat at the edge of the water and the kids were good, but eventually wanted to throw rocks off the boulders that went into the water.  I carried Fern and hovered over Burl.  I realized I was hovering too much and started my Fear Analysis.  Ok, he might fall in.  If he does, then I'll jump in and get him.  I'll have to pass Fern off quickly, who is close by?  Ok, I think if he falls in the worse that can happen is we both get wet.  I'm really fast with my reaction to accidents, so I think I could handle this.  At one point, Burl lost his footing and somewhat stumbled and within 1/2 a second there were three mama hands on him (one of them mine).  He had already caught himself and was fine.  We packed up and headed back and no one was in harm's way.  It was great.  

This is my new thing to help me find balance.  I have to ask myself what's the worst that can happen?  Am I ok with that?  I know that the more we climb in creek beds and explore woods that my children will be more capable in those circumstances, but first I have to train them.  The best training tool is actually trying it, and sometimes there are failures and mishaps.  I have to figure out what it is that I fear and what I need to do about it (or not do).

Oh, and that trip to the quarry?  It was spectacular.  It was wonderfully warm, perfectly colorful, and absolutely serene, toddler version.

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