news item: my effort to CTFD

Throughout my life, I’ve had a penchant to CONTROL ALL THE THINGS!!

This focus reared it’s ugly head when my birth plan of a pretty, quiet, candlelit water-birth went all to hell, and I found myself getting a C-Section.  It was a HUGE awakening which led to me starting to embrace the unpredictability of life with children.

I joined a mom and me group and realized there was a whole new realm to wound parenting.

  • Suddenly, I was surrounded by other first-time parents who avoided disposable diapers like they would personally cause the demise of all landfill controls. (THE TREES, Julia, THINK OF THE TREES, THE TRUFULLA TREES!! Do you hate rainbows?)
  • People shunned television like it boiled your brains, while I was hooked on the latest trial airing on HLN. (It’s wrong to watch Grey’s Anatomy with your toddler?  It’s EDUCATIONAL!  Don’t go out with McSteamy!!!!!!)
  • They read no less than 39485749 parenting books, and I was uneducated because I hadn’t. (CIO CAUSES DETACHMENT AND SERIAL KILLERS!!)
  • Formula was the devil, causing cancer, 6 toes and deformed eyeballs, while I broke out my Kirkland brand bottle.  (YOU DON’T BUY DONOR BREASTMILK????)
  • I gave my son cheerios, but ZOMG IT ISN’T ORGANIC!!!! (And not PRE-CHEWED????)
  • They avoiding giving their children finger paint because the WHITE ONESIES WILL BE RUINED. (Not to mention SKIN CANCER!)
  • “My child is the only kid not sitting up yet, she will be the only kid in college in a bumbo!!!” (Direct mommy quote from group.  Thankfully, 90% in jest.)

Suddenly moms were super worried because their 1 year old wasn’t walking, or saying two word sentences… or able to finish a simple calculus problem.  They had their kids in six different enrichment classes but worried that perhaps it isn’t to early to start Latin.  I bring up these points as a sort of irony.  These were the things I rolled my eyes at when I was a “young parent.”

Then I realized that my need for C’ing the FD was less apparent, a quiet and isolating one.

  • I was nervous to take my son out (What if he misses his nap window?)
  • I was concerned that he wasn’t saying any actual words at one (SPEECH THERAPY MUST BE NEEDED?!?!)
  • I didn’t want anyone to come babysit, because my dog is kind of a jerk and likes to jump in the fountain.
  • I hated having my mother up, because I felt I had to manage her, and also my son.  (And good god, when will I have time to clean the guest bathroom?)

This lead to a life of solitude for a long while. I didn’t want to go out… I didn’t want people over…  I found that my ability to form complex sentences (read; more than 2 words long) was severely diminished. My wit, developed from a couple decades of interactions with creative and fun people… died.

One day my husband sat down and told me “Julia, I don’t feel like I can invite my friends over, because I know how anxious you get… and it makes me sad.”

*BLINK*

That was a light bulb moment for me.  We sat down and had a very long talk about why I was so anxious in all areas of my life.  It boiled down to one thought:

“Things could go Terribly, Horribly Wrong.” 

This thought dominated so many parts of my life, and until I put a name to it, I just had no idea how much control it had over me.  Anxiety runs through my family, and I didn’t even realize I was anxious.  Anxiousness was a state of being, one that I didn’t know there was a way out of.

Relationships are messy.  Parenting is messy.

I needed to Calm the F*ck Down.

This mantra has been a turning point in my life.  My husband says that I have become a brand new person… One whom can acknowledge when things are going to be crazy, and embrace it.

I’m a mom who knows that at any point, Things Could Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong.  Chances are, nothing I do (or don’t do) will scar my toddler for life.  However, the absence of a moderately sane mom could cost me thousands in therapy bills.

*****

In what areas do you need to “CTFD?” 

What things do you worry about going “terribly horribly wrong?”

What are some of the silly things you worried about early on?  

What are some of the silly things you worry about now?

*****

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Julia, formerly a molder of young minds, has briefly stepped away from that task to manufacture a child of her own. Along with the standard baby accessories such as hands and lips, she is planning on installing chrome side-pipes, rollbars, and a bitchin’ spoiler. She is fending off accusations that Jesse James is the true father.

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Comments

  1. lol, excellent post! I had to laugh at your mom’s group… I also go to those… but I think ours is a bit more relaxed… we all use disposable nappies (although the LLL group doesn’t). I have now given up with TV. I really tried at first. I am finally having the mom’s group over next week and our house still isn’t entirely baby proof. At least the pool net is on now.
    I go by: the people that matter won’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter. 🙂

  2. myveryownwonderland says:

    I love this post for so many reasons… letting go and accepting life shouldn’t be so hard – isn’t this what I wanted, the chaos, the uncertainty of parenthood? – but it often is.

    I find myself most anxious when we go out. My boy is almost two and although he has age-appropriate tantrums, he really is a very good boy and has rarely thrown a fit when we’re out. But I am a MESS. I can recognize it, but it’s so hard to overcome. All part of the gig, I suppose.

    Excellent post, thank you!

    • Parenting is totally unpredictable! (I tell that to myself when my son does stuff like pull his poopy diaper off and lifts it over his head dragging poop across his face. Things went terribly, horribly wrong.)

  3. I don’t belong to any mommy groups or play groups because of my fears of being judged for giving my daughter cheerios and using disposable diapers. Among the other things I’m sure I’m totally messing my daughter up by exposing her to. I really need to CTFD but chances are slim to none of that happening. I’m in therapy to help and I guess there has been some improvement. But I’m still paranoid about what others think about my child rearing abilities. This is a fabulous post because I seriously thought you were describing me and my thoughts and fears. My husband doesn’t really care because he doesn’t invite people to our house ever so not really affecting him. Thank you for sharing this….I’m so glad to know I’m not alone!

    • Thank you for sharing! It sounds like you are working hard!!! You aren’t alone. I was in therapy for a long time dealing with my “control issues” which stem from an traumatic event where I was out of control. I totally get how hard it is to let go. (I’m saying this while I’m thinking ZOMG Ethan woke up too early for the nap schedule to work right today whatamigonnado!!!!)

  4. Oh this. Exactly this. I decided at some point when I was laid up and couldn’t chase my newly walking baby that it wasn’t worth it unless she was actually in danger. I would just let her run. So far it hasn’t turned out badly and she’s survived to be a relatively well-adjusted 5 year old but it is hard to know there is so little I can control. Example: a friend watched the baby so the other 3 of us could see a movie. When we picked up the baby, a whole family of quarter sized rubber frogs were given to the 5 year old and were promptly strewn about the floor where the 5 month old is about to start rolling around. My instinct is to panic, to insist the things not come home with us at all, but I caught myself and relaxed a little bit. I am better off hiding them when the kid isn’t looking or having her put them somewhere special that’s baby-proof.

    I remind myself a thousand times a day that while things COULD go wrong, they probably won’t and so I should just relax until they do go wrong. I live in fear of the dual meltdown now, but it probably won’t happen because both girls are calm and relaxed (and I continue to be shocked that they are related to me because I’m a ball of nerves).

  5. Great post, thank you. I love the CTFD method. Perhaps we should have little bracelets made? Or temporary tattoos? That might assist me in internalizing the message.

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