I had the opportunity to take the kids to a Halloween party at the clubhouse on the caravan site we visit. I was excited. I’d picked out costumes. I’d imagined myself taking Jesse onstage in the fancy dress competition dressed as Mr tumble. I’d imagined…
Then I’d imagined the room full of kids. Crazy fancy dress characters running around. Scary costumes. Bright flashing lights. Very loud music. Manic movement. Decorations. People everywhere. And I imagined this being my kids first experience of a party. It wouldn’t work.
Then I’d imagined my fear taking my kids to a party like that. I’d imagined trying to contain a meltdown. Trying to stop Jesse stealing things off tables, and windows, and kids! I’d imagined Cody clutching his ears on the dance floor. I’d imagined lee blocking the exit 100 times to prevent bolting. I’d imagined the stares when the whole thing crumbled.
And before I knew it I’d talked myself and my kids out of going for fear. Of the unknown.
And it is unknown. I know my kids well enough to know that at the very best I’d have gone one way trying the prevent Jesse from causing mayhem and lee would have gone the other. At the very worst a major meltdown by one or both of the kids followed swiftly by mommy and daddy’s breakdown! But I dont really know which one of those scenarios would have occurred. Both maybe? Eventually? But it’s more the fear that dominates my life and choices. And ultimately the kids.
Other things I fear…
Reactions to weekly shopping
Walks in the parks
Visits to others houses
Others visiting our house
Rooms full of strangers
Strangers in the house
Official appointments with child in tow
Visiting new places
Illness of kids or parents
Others not being available to help
Getting them dressed
Missing our “window of opportunity” to go out
Leaving them with someone else
Me going out alone
Being left on my own to cope
And many many more.
my husband steadfastly denies its fear that takes us over. And he doesn’t suffer the guilt that’s primarily reserved for mothers! im letting the kids down by not supporting them through these situations. but if i stopped viewing it from the guilty side of the fence i could also say im being a good mother by not unnecessarily putting them in stressful situations just because its what “everyone else does with their kids”?
It’s the inability to second guess what’s going to happen and the severity of a reaction if it’s negative that I have still to come to terms with. I’m trying but right now I’m still adopting my “pick your battles” philosophy towards my kids and I realise towards myself. There will be times when I’ll have to grow balls of steel and face a fear. No chance of backing out but if it doesn’t harm anyone or hinder anyone for me to miss the odd family get together or wait until the kids are in school to go shopping or miss a heaving Halloween party then I shouldn’t beat myself up.
Right now it’s time to get a sense of what is possible without pushing boundaries too much. Do what you can cope with and don’t let the sense of what you should be doing or what anyone else is doing stand in the way of what your comfortable with right now.
They’ll be time enough in the future to stop being the cowardly lion and find that courage from somewhere.