6 Things about being a new mom that terrify me
You know, what they say, babies don't come with directions, and after eight months of being a mamá, I'd like to say that I'm confident and secure in my parenting abilities, that I know my son well, and that I'm always great at anticipating and meeting his needs ... but honestly, I'm not.
Sure, there are some things I feel really good about, but even when we're having a smooth stretch, I'm thinking about what's to come. Am I doing everything I can to give him the best start? Is it okay that I don't always follow all the rules? Will I do something now that will cause problems later on? I suppose there's really no way to know for sure, so I might as well air them all out now, and hope that when the time comes they work themselves out. Here are the biggest first-time mom fears that I still experience every day:
1. Will we ever get bedtime right? Consistent sleep has been the biggest and most persistent issue with my son. He's no longer a horrible sleeper, but we've had some seriously rough times. For months, the last step in our bedtime routine has been to nurse him. Sometimes he's still awake when we put him down and sometimes he's pretty conked out. I'm terrified that when it's time to wean, he'll have major issues going down for the night and that I'll end up with a 3-year-old who still throws fits at bedtime.
2. Do we start disciplining him now? We've recently entered a phase--at least I hope it's a phase--of whining, high-pitched screams and occasional tantrums. Until the past month or so, my son was a pretty chill baby, but all of the sudden he wants to vocalize his displeasure. I understand the need to so, but I'm just afraid that if we don't put a check on it now, we'll have a real problem down the line. Of course, he doesn't really understand language, so it's kind of difficult to redirect him. Can you discipline an infant? If so, how? I have no clue.
3. We don't really parent "by the book" ... should we? For the most part, I would say that my husband and I parent by feel. I do a ton of research and try to stay well-informed about the different stages of my son's development, but I don't always follow the rules I read in books and on the Internet. We try to do what feels right for our family and for our individual child. Nevertheless, I continue to torment myself with the possibility that by not doing things according to what "experts" say is best, we'll somehow cause irreparable damage.
4. Am I teaching him enough? I always, always feel that I should be doing more in the way of teaching my son. Especially so now that I'm home with him 24/7. The thing is, I'm not sure exactly what types of things I should be teaching him that he won't learn just by living life. His pediatrician assures me that there's not really much to do, but I have my doubts. And being the goal-oriented person that I am, I feel like I should be doing something, anything, to give him an advantage.
5. Am I babyproofing enough and worrying about his safety enough? We tend to be pretty laid back about things. I'm not too concerned about my son getting messy or getting sick or anything like that--to me, it's all a part of childhood. But now that he's starting to move around a lot, I'm questioning whether or not I need to be taking more measures to keep him safe. But then I think about it and realize that there's no way for me to protect him from every potential hazard. Still, I have plenty of moments where I wonder if that kind of attitude makes me an inadequate parent.
6. How am I going to handle toddlerhood!?!? Oh boy, does it feel like it is approaching quickly. Since I barely feel like I've gotten a grasp on how to handle my son as an infant, it's safe to say I'm pretty nervous about what life will be like with a toddler. My biggest concern at the moment is my own patience. I'm not convinced that I'll do a good job of dealing with a little tiny person that is not only mobile, but can possibly even speak his opinions and demand to have his way.
Image via Eloise Mason/Flickr