Confessions of the Divine Miss K

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Perplexed about Parenthood

As this pregnancy slowly draws to a close (emphasis on the word SLOOOOOOWLY. So slowly that I actually wonder if time has stopped altogether), you would think my thoughts would naturally turn to labour and delivery, or more accurately, panicking about labour and delivery. And while it's true that I do spend a certain amount of time wondering about what it's going to be like, I've been surprised by two things.

First of all, I am usually a realist about most things. I like to prepare myself for the worst so I can be pleasantly surprised when the world doesn't crash to an end like I had anticipated. Yet in this circumstance, I fear I am doing the opposite. Maybe I'm so worried about psyching myself out that I am only thinking somewhat neutral or happy thoughts - how Adders better brush up on his massage skills (we should be practicing for at least an hour each night, I reckon), how delicious that Big Extra and Large Fry is going to taste once I've pushed a 7lb baby through my vagina, and how unbelievably AMAZING it's going to feel to hold this little squalling newborn in my arms and think, "Holy shit! I made him! And he's all mine!"

And yet, I can't claim that I have somehow achieved a zen personality where I am able to control my thoughts and only think happy, positive things. Oh, no. Because instead of focusing on the impending doom of vaginal terror that is otherwise known as labour, I am instead focused on "Sweet baby Jesus, can someone tell me how to be a good parent?" That is the focus of all my stress, all my worries, all my prayers. And I'm not even talking about basic stuff, like how to breastfeed or how often I bathe him (sidenote: how often DO you bathe a baby? Every day? Twice a day? Once a week? Someone tell me before I fail at motherhood!). I'm talking more along the lines of, "How do I make sure my kid is not addicted to meth and turning tricks by the time he's 8 years old?"

It's crazy to think this way because really don't think it's even possible to know what kind of parent I'm going to be at this point. And so much of parenting is determined by the kid itself. But therein lies the problem. I was such a good girl growing up. Oh, I'm not without my sins. And I was a little hellion when I was a toddler (think temper tantrums that may have ended with me foaming at the mouth). But as far as being obedient, I was a perfect child. I practiced my piano dutifully each day. I never even tried a cigarette until I was 24 (and even then it was like a puff). When I was 10 or 11 my mom told me I wasn't allowed to watch "Pretty Women" because it created unrealistic expectations in women. It took me until like Grade 12 to work up the courage to disobey her edict. I always got A's in school and was an extremely concientious student. As for Adders, well, he may not have been quite the goody-goody that I was (and still am!), but as far as teenage rebellion goes, he was an exemplarly kid. Got good grades, was close with his parents and siblings, always had a part-time job, went to parties but never got too wild, graduated and immediately chose a career path and stuck with it.

But my fear is that we're going to somehow produce this wild child that neither of us can relate to and what then? WHAT THEN?!! And yes, of course, I know the answer: God, spirituality, prayer, yes, I believe! And I will do that (hell, I've already started). Yet nevertheless, I still have a hard time wondering how I will do the physical aspect of parenting. Like what books/movies/video games do I make verboten? I'm not interested like some parents in being LB's "friend" per se, but no one wants to be an over-bearing parent either. You have to allow the kid some freedom and growth. But how do you find the right balance?

It doesn't help - well, maybe it does - I don't know. Nevertheless, I have big shoes to fill. Just like every other parent in the world, my Mom wasn't always perfect in her role as "mom." And our relationship has certainly had to endure some hardships over the years as we struggled to transition from a mother/daughter relationship where I was (albeit quite contentedly) very controlled to a more relationship of equals. But all in all, she's pretty much the best mom anyone could ask for. She was fun, she was wise, she was strict but she was laidback. No one was more terrifying than her but the respect she commanded was part of what made her so amazing (it's odd to talk about her in the past tense like she's dead because she's not! She's alive and well and still as awesome as ever but I'm referring to her from the viewpoint of my childhood). And if I do say so myself, not many mothers out there have accomplished what she has: three happy, well-adjusted, God-fearing kids, all while keeping her marriage intact as well.

It wasn't always easy. She herself would attest to the blood, sweat and tears and, above all else, the enormous amount of prayer and trust in God that it took to raise us three successfully. But she did it. So how do I do it? How do I do it when I don't feel like I'm the spiritual giant that she is? How do I do it when I already recognize that I'm much more over-bearing than she is, and uptight about things she didn't concern herself with (tidy house, etc). No seriously, how do I? Because in comparison, labour seems like a walk in the park compared with navigating the trials and tribulations of raising a happy, normal kid.

Sigh. Why am I doing this again? Oh, right. Baby thighs that I can munch on.


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