There are many things that frighten me or make me anxious. Aside from the usual fears/anxieties that come with parenting, I also don’t like heights (although if I feel safe I can cope with them), I hate polystyrene (eugh even the thought makes me shiver), I don’t like feeling trapped and I’m not particularly keen on spiders.
However, since I’ve brought two tiny humans into the world I have decided that I would hate for either of them to acquire any or all of my fears by witnessing me fearing them, so I am making myself face the things I am afraid of, if and when I am faced with them. In one of my early posts Eggs and Bugs I talked about how Munchkin1 held a Tarantula when we visited Bugtopia in Hornsea. I didnt hold it myself but I sat calmly next to Munchkin1 as she held it, and I even built up the confidence to touch its leg at the end of the talk. Munchkin1 absolutely loved holding the Tarantula (and the other creepy crawlies) and she now wants to hold every spider she sees or any other insect/animal she thinks is cute; this includes bees! In fact one of her favourite daily activities is to go spider hunting in the garden, not just our own but any garden, with her bug viewing tub. I refuse to let myself visbly flinch, jump or be afraid in any way and it has actually taught me to not be afraid. I love spending time with her bug or spider hunting because I see how confident she is and that makes me feel like I’m doing a good job.
Another favourite garden activity is collecting the snails, placing them in any container she can find (plant pot, bowl, cup, etc) and then collecting grass and leaves for them to eat as well as bits of water for them to drink. She calls them her ‘little guys’ and even talks for each one. It’s like watching a TV drama about the daily affairs of a snail family!
Inevitably, though, there are things that she has become frightened or anxious about. Loud, unseen aircraft passing by is a main one and depending on how loud and for how long she can hear it without seeing it, her reactions can be anything from being a little anxious to being petrified and running to me in hysterics. Seeing her this frightened and upset breaks my heart and is exactly the reason why I don’t want her to be scared of things like I am. I know I can’t stop her, or her brother, from being scared of every single thing but I have promised to try my hardest to stop them from spending their days afraid of unimportant things so that they can enjoy life to the max.
The last time Munchkin1 was that frightened was at a local event that we attended which had some children’s rides there, including a little crocodile roller coaster. It’s only one small circle of track and doesnt go very fast but it was enough to make her cry in fear. I knew she wouldn’t like it, but the operator very kindly offered to let it go around once before she made her mind up. I watched her face as it set off and saw her immediately scrunch it up and turn white, and my heart just plummeted to the ground. I felt instant guilt, I should have been on it with her. She needed her Mummy there to help her feel safe and then maybe she would have seen it’s not so scary and would have enjoyed the ride! After she had calmed down I asked her if she would like a ride on the Teacups. I held on to her and talked to her for the duration of the ride and the more I reassured her, the more I could feel her relax and enjoy it more. By the time it had finished she was saying how good it was and that she would like another go.
There will be times in their lives that they will frighten me half to death if they do something that makes me fear for their safety, and it will be those times that I will be happy for them to see how scared I am so that they will learn how serious the situation is. The rest of the time I will face my own fears if necessary in a calm and controlled manner to show them that there really is no need to be afraid. I remember as a child I would really hate to see my own Mummy upset in any way, I can still remember how lost I would feel. My Mummy was my strength and my safety, and if she didn’t feel that herself then I wouldn’t know what to do.
It’s almost impossible to hide it from my babies all of the time, I’m only human after all, but I will always try my best to be strong and brave for them. I’m a very anxious person at times, I worry about a lot of things and on a bad day I can be quite emotional and not be able to get out. Since having children I have forced myself to fight through those days, to get out and do things with them and form new friendships so that my Munchkins can have friends to play with. It has and still is helping, I’ve improved massively. I do it to help my kids grow into strong, confident people. I know it is working, I only have to look at Munchkin1 to see I’m not doing that bad at being a parent. Of course I can’t take all of the credit, they do have a pretty awesome Daddy too! He’s not afraid of anything. Or if he is, he’s very good at hiding it!
The Tale of Mummyhood