As a mom I am not new to this whole fear thing. Fear and I go way back, and anxiety and I are old friends. I mean once you are expecting a baby you are constantly bombarded with things that are supposed to leave us in the crippling grasp of fear…
…electric outlets, BPA, screen time, GMOs, folic acid, toxic sunscreen, not enough sun exposure, water over an inch, choking, ticks, SIDS, crib bumpers, stairs, sugar, hot dogs and grapes cut the incorrect way, when to start kindergarten… I could go on and on…But lately my list of parenting fears has grown. It has grown exponentially.
As if we didn’t have enough woes on the parental fear list we need to add a growing list of places that we should fear bringing our children and families too – zoos, Disneyworld, movie theaters, night clubs, airports, places of worship, school, and celebrations…sadly, I could go on and on.
That is a lot of places. So many places, that when I think about taking my children out, it causes me to pause. Causes me to think twice and causes me to welcome my good ole friend fear in a warm hearty embrace.
I am not telling you all anything new. We are all too keenly aware of the current heartache that is saturating our lives.
So then how? How do we successfully parent in the age of FEAR?
When there is so much to be afraid of. When it seems so easy to worry about anything and everything. And if it is our parental duty to protect – how in the world do we protect our children from everything?
This whole parenting gig is already exhausting and if we let fear join the party it can be down right terrifying.
It is true our world can be dark and scary, but I am going to choose hope. I am going to choose to parent with love, acceptance, and compassion. I can easily go down the rabbit hole of the “what-ifs.” The endless worse case scenarios that keep us up at night and that keep us from truly living. But I don’t want to be suffocated by my worry.
When we parent out of fear, we become anxious, overbearing, parents. I want our children to not fear the unknown and to celebrate what the world has to offer. I try to teach them to take risks and that it is okay to fail. We sadly can’t control the sadness of the world today. And honestly, it is no longer “what if” another atrocity occurs, it has become “when” and “where” will the next tragedy strike.
And as overwhelming as that seems, I still don’t want the fear to control my parenting. So I am letting go of the fear reins and embracing the LOVE and hope.