I honestly crack myself up at the multitude of things of motherhood that I assumed were simply “all bark and no bite.” All of the things that I figured I would never do nor experience because that just wasn’t me; I won’t be that type of mom. And my generally laid back personality added to the beautiful mirage of motherhood that I had created in my naive mind. All of those other moms did all those things because they were so tightly wound, always worrying about everything to begin with, so once they added kids to the mix, they’d simply dove off the deep end. That just ain’t me!
Fast forward thirteen months into being a mother, and I’m still me. (Yes, you read that right. Only thirteen months. I’m not an overflowing fountain of motherly wisdom just yet, I know.) I don’t make a fuss when my little man falls on our hardwood, and I let him shove things that were once on the ground into his mouth. There are probably countless other exceedingly laid back things that I do as a mom, yet I truly wouldn’t even realize they were laid back unless you told me. But, the one thing that I have fallen prey to, the one thing that makes me feel like a bit of a helicopter-mom-in-the-making, is the stinking news. The stories, the articles, and the faces plastered on my news feed reminding me of all of the terrible, appalling things that happen to precious, innocent, vulnerable children – yuck.
It just makes me feel plain gross inside, and yet I find that I can’t even escape it. It follows me to snippets of my morning show, my exercise class, my conversations with friends, and the mom’s group I joined on Facebook. It’s like a black cloud hanging over my heart and mind, and it’s beginning to affect the way I think, relate to others, and even how I live my daily life. I’m twentysomething (I know how old I am – most of the time – it just doesn’t need to be public information), and here I’ve turned into my sweet Grandma who would watch the news daily and relay to me all of the dreadful happenings of the world. Is that really what I want for myself, and is that really the legacy I want to pass on to my children and their children?
The most confusing part is that I believe awareness is a good thing, nay, a great thing. I don’t want to be that ignorant woman who could have prevented something had she just been more mindful. But, it seems as if there was a point where this overload of information shifted from a general awareness of the world and community I live in to fear. Fear of big white vans with curtains pulled in the back windows (Grandma always told me to be wary of those); fear of walking from the grocery store entrance out to my car alone at night; fear of answering my own door in the middle of the day if I don’t know exactly who’s on the other side.
I haven’t always been this fearful of a person. In fact, in many ways, I would have probably considered myself quite fearless at times. But something I have always craved, and something that contributes directly to this heightened sense of agitation, is control. I like to live my life knowing what is happening and what will happen. Now, not in like 10 years (I leave that kind of crazy, way-too-far-in-advance planning to my husband), but at least in the near future. And, to be honest, though I can admit that… I can also admit that I’m not proud of it. I don’t even like the word, control. So, admitting that I’m controlling…that makes me feel nearly as yucky as the news! What I have come to realize, though, is that my fear of the news isn’t that at all; it’s a fear of knowing that, without a shadow of a doubt, I have absolutely zero control over certain things in my life. I think that being aware of these things isn’t the problem, especially since they are an unfortunate reality of the broken world that we live in, but my need for control – that’s the real issue, right there.
Things will happen…heck, things have happened and happen all the time in my life that I have no control over. But here’s what I do have control over: the courage that I instill in the little humans I’ve been blessed to raise, the fearlessness I emulate for them each day, the innocence I encourage them to maintain for as long as possible before being tainted by the world, and how much news I let them watch. Which will be none, for a very long time.