Pre-Maternal Anxiety

With years of trying to have a baby under my belt, I've had some time to consider what kind of mother I want to be. I know I'm going to be strict. It's imperative to me that Beastie respect his/her family members and talk and act appropriately around them. This behavior was demanded of both my sister and me as children, and I want to ensure that Beastie grows up always remembering that grandmas and great-grandmas and aunts and uncles are to be treated lovingly and respectfully. I also want to be a parent that my child feels comfortable talking to about anything. I don't plan on being my child's friend (that's not my role), but I also want to be approachable and understanding when Beastie needs guidance.

But there's one particular area in which I feel severely lacking. It's actually got me worried, as my problem becomes more and more apparent the more small children I'm around. I have zero patience.

Up until now, you see, the only person that's really had to deal with my lack of patience ("Can't you clean the bathroom NOW? Let's go eat NOW! I'm hungry. Can you please hurry up in the shower?") is Rich, my husband. And thank god he's got enough patience for both of us. But soon there's going to be another person in my life and in my house. All day, every day. And this person is going to scream and cry and drop things and break things and get dirty and pitch shit hemmorages when he/she doesn't get what's desired. And honestly? I don't know how I'm going to react to this.

My friend Marie and I took a walk with her adorable two-year old son the other day to the playground by my house. When we were leaving the playground, the little guy got upset (as any kid would!) and started to cry. Marie exhibited nothing but soothing maternal patience with him, calming telling him we could visit the playground another time, distracting him with a cup of milk and a toy, and never once, not once, getting nervous or upset or raising her voice. And in mere minutes, the little guy settled down and was completely back to normal.

And I couldn't help but worry that I'm not going to be able to be this type of parent. Would I drag my little girl by her pigtails into her stroller, threatening her with severe bodily harm if she didn't sit in her stroller immediately? Would I scream at my son instead of soothing him? Honestly, I don't know. I'd like to think there's no way I could do this. But I've never been a mother before. I've never been put in that sleep-deprived, starving, frustrated state so many mothers exist in and had to think of the needs of someone else other than myself before. And I tried so hard and for so long to even get to the enviable position I'm in right now, so how could I allow myself to be anything but the mother of the year 24/7?

I've got about 3.5 months to figure this one out.

7 Responses to “Pre-Maternal Anxiety”

  1. # Blogger Christine

    Totally not a parent, but completely opinionated, so you can take it with a grain of salt...

    Even if you do occassionally lose it with the Beastie, pigtail pulling and all, I can only imagine it's normal. Everyone loses their patience sometimes, and it will be balanced by your love of the Beastie. Plus Rich can always serve as a buffer for when you're completely frustrated.

    And while I'm not suggesting this is Marie, and here her son responded positively to soothing, I loathe parents who when their child throws a complete and out of control fit, says, "Junior, let's compromise, if you stop this I'll buy you X,Y,Z, etc" or otherwise pleads with them. I just want to shake them a little and tie them down to watch episodes of "Super Nanny."

    And, if it makes you feel any better, my childhood did involve a some fear of my mother beating the hell out of me or the siblings for misbehaving (not that she ever did, but the threat was always out there)...and I actually think she did a pretty good job. No serial murderers yet!

    Either way, your kid will love you. You just watch.  

  2. # Blogger l

    So not a parent, either, but here are my 2 cents. It sounds to me like you're on the right track with being strict, teaching the importance of RESPECT and recognizing your role isn't that of "friend". Being approachable without crossing into friend territory simply means that Beastie will be able to see/use you for what you are - an authority figure that can offer guidance. I think being strict and instilling a really strong sense of respect for others will go a long way in curtailing any tantrums. Like Christine said, Rich can always be the buffer, and that's the point. You're not in this alone, you do not bear the entire burden for tolerating and dealing with crazy nonsensical Beastie behavior. Fret not! BTW, I've heard from others of the less patiently gifted variety that having a child teaches you patience.  

  3. # Blogger Marie

    There's no way anyone can be patient 24/7 -- I know I'm sure not. And that playground maneuver doesn't always go so well! ;-) If we had been inside the library, I guarantee it wouldn't have gone so well! Because I do get nervous when he melts down in a quiet public place.

    Sometimes I fake it, and sometimes I lose it! Like this afternoon when the little darling got hold of his father's headphones and broke them.

    I've learned to plan a bit for the transitions (like leaving the playground), because generally that's when I expect resistance.

    It does help some to know something about child development / what to expect at each stage. Not that it helps in the heat of the moment, but it's just good to be aware of what's "normal."

    And I know from experience (as a kid) & observation that getting emotional when a child is upset can end up fueling the fire, and making things worse.

    There's a great video I've borrowed from the library, 1-2-3 Magic, which covers a method for managing behavior/discipline with kids 2 & up. I like the guy's approach & recommend it.

    You have to make sure that you make time for yourself regularly, too, because you'll need breaks to recharge. Nobody can be patient running on empty.

    By the way, I think you're totally normal to have this anxiety. And I think you'll do fine... I've never thought of you as an impatient person, Kristi!  

  4. # Blogger Marie

    ps -- and you have more than 3.5 months to "figure it out!" No one knows what they're doing & how they're going to be when they bring a baby home from the hospital. We've been figuring it out as we go along through each stage. It's an adventure! ;-)  

  5. # Blogger Kristi

    Christine-I'm definitely not a fan of bribery parenting either, but of course, I have no experience with ANY kind of parenting, so I can't say I won't resort to it in frustration every once and awhile. I know everyone loses their patience, but I feel like I'm starting out with so much less than everyone else!

    L-Thanks. Yeah, I definitely think of the two of us, I'm going to be the one Beastie hates because I plan on being so strict. And hopefully, I'll learn patience from parenting too.

    Marie-Thanks. I think I'll have a lot to learn as I go along. Thanks for that video recommendation. I'll be doing a lot of reading on the subject too!  

  6. # Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty

    So, I'm obviously not a parent either. But I have no doubt that you and Rich and Beastie will figure things out. Personally though, I think being strict pays off in the long run. It makes me cringe when I see kids being the boss of their parents. And, for what it's worth, (and remember, I don't have kids!) I'm liking that show Nanny 911. She's got some good ideas.  

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