Joanna Anastasia

parent

Are we the worst parents ever

Is our generation of anxious parents the worst ever?

After reading the editorial letter in the February issue of Today’s Parents Magazine, and a great article following it, I got thinking about other sources of our collective anxieties as parents, then the onces stated by Sasha Emmons. The article was describing our generation as anxious, over involved parents, who are constantly comparing their children and competing between each other. And the outcome of our collective overprotective and over-controlling behaviour, is (as stated by Canadian psychologists) a growing number of anxieties and narcism in young people. And the question was, are we the worst generation of parents ever?

And it got me wondering. Are we really? Why do we compare ourselves, doubt and constantly look for an advice? When did parenting become a noun?

Are we the worst parents ever

Us, parents in the digital era, we do constantly compare ourselves, feeling that we’re never doing god enough. And yet, as a group, we are believed to be raising entitled kids, little centres of the world. And even If we are doing a great job, we constantly doubt in our competences and choices.

I think it’s because of the never-ending stream of new information. In the past, our grandmothers could only compare themselves with a couple of their friends and family members. And since people used to live in more culturally unified groups and less multicultural environments, the parenting styles within a group where more similar.

Same with food. When my Polish grandmother was deciding what to make for dinner, she had much less choise: it was Polish food, or Polish food. And she could only use seasonal ingredients. While me, I have the choise of Italian, Indian, Vietnamese, Mexican, Vegetarian, Paleo, GMO Free.. So many choices, it’s easy to get lost and discouraged only by thinking about dinner!

And as humans, we evolved to compare and to make decisions based on what others around us are doing. We are a species of imitators. Imitation used to benefit us, as a group, as it helped spread new ideas and advance our culture. And if you’re a parent of a young child, then you know that kids imitate other kids and us adults all the time! But there used to be so much less choices around and therefore so much less anxiety!

So I think that yes, we do compare ourselves more, and with much more choise and possibilities offered to us, we are often lost and anxious. We see so many ways to parent, that we doubt and double-guess ourselves.

But I don’t think that we’re the worst parents ever. We don’t sell our kids to work as parents did in middle ages, and we don’t encourage our barely-hitting-puberty daughters to get married (now that’s being the worst parent ever!). We don’t neglect our kids feelings like our grandparents generation did, and we don’t smoke in their faces like our parents did.

[bctt tweet=”Are we the perfect parents? No. And kids don’t need parents to be perfect either. “]

Do we over-question ourselves? Yes. Do we constantly look for validation of our actions? Perhaps. Are we the perfect parents? No. And kids don’t need parents to be perfect either. They need good-enough parents. Good enough parenting means responding to most of our children needs. Not all of them.

And so I think that in the end, with our collective effort to raise happy, good and sensitive people, we might be actually doing a pretty good job!

If you’d like to learn more about the connection between too much choice and anxiety , see the paradox of choice Ted talk by a psychologist Barry Schwartz.

Anxious mom

Anxious mom

I am a mom. And I get anxious because of my kids. I am an anxious mom.
I used to be careless and positive thinking. I used to believe that it’s going to be all good. Not any more.

If my kids are calm and sound asleep I need to check if they are breathing right.( yes they are). If they cry I worry that they suffer (probably not) or are deeply unhappy (most probably sad or uncomfortable but not deeply unhappy).

If they’ll wake up in the middle of the night crying, I run to see them worried that they might feel abandoned if I won’t came.

I worry about there health (without a reason). I worry about there safety. I imagine pedophiles, car accidents, kidnappers and deadly viruses. I read about these terrible things happening to other people kids, and then I can’t sleep. I get anxious.

But there are also every day issues that make me an anxious mom.

Just the other day my daughter came back from daycare with a runny nose. Again. And my baby started to have a runny nose. Again. And then I started to worry that they’ll both get ear infection. Again.

And soon I’ll be taking a flight with my baby, leaving my three year old with my hubby at home for a couple of days. Do I have to explain how many times I already imagined the plane crushing, leaving my daughter an orphan without a mom? Too many times, to tell you the truth. Way to many.

So now I’m asking myself, how do I deal with this? Do I want to live my life as an anxious mom? Do I want to worry all the time for no particular reason? Obviously I can’t stop my kids from living there life, only because I’m scared. It would be really owfull if I would. If I’d decided that they won’t ever go on a sleep over, because I’m scared of pedophiles. If we’d stop traveling because I’m imagining a plane crush.

And if I’d make them believe that a world is a dangerous place and that they should never trust any stranger then they might never get kidnaped, but they might never fall in love neither. If they see me scared because of them, they’ll believe that they too should be scared. And I don’t want my kids to be scared of living there lives.

So I’m trying to imagine positive scenarios. I stopped reading about child abuse. I breathe.
I’d love to say that I do yoga, but I don’t. I’m to busy lazy and I eat chocolate instead,which works just fine for me ;).

Honestly I think that anxiety is a part of being a parent, a price that we pay for loving someone so deeply. Also it’s biologics way of making sure that we’ll take care of our offspring. So I don’t think I’ll ever totally stop being an anxious mom. But I’m trying to stay rational and not get overwhelmed by my fears. I don’t want anything bad happening to my kids, but it would be terrible and heart braking if they wouldn’t live anything worth living because of my fears.

And you, are you an anxious parent? How do you deal with it?