Buckle up for a brain emptying, cathartic, unstructured rambling by yours truly!
I think often about the universality of parenting. Although, of course, there are differences based on where you end up in the world, culture, religion etc. there is a sense of sameness when it comes to parenting. As though once you join the club you’re plugged into this network that has always been there and always will be.
I think about how different parenting was just a few generations ago but then at the same time how perfectly the same it is. Our challenges are different, yes, but the goal is the same. It also bears wondering if many of the challenges that exist now were always there – it was simply a lack of available information that ultimately withheld knowledge of certain concerns. If you don’t know about it can you be anxious about it?
Did parents worry then about illness like we do now? Or did they not even have the time to worry because by the time they even found out about the existence of an illness it was already upon them impacting their family. We have the capacity now with modern technology and medicine to track trends, to capture data…to vaccinate. Has access to that degree of knowledge created a generation plagued with constant anxiety? Maybe. Has access to limitless & (mostly) uncensored information created misinformation and the notion that every idea is as valid as the next? Has it allowed there to be blurred lines between opinion and fact?
Several times just since becoming a parent I’ve seen things go viral online in the name of protecting children and guiding parents. The majority of those things, though varied in subject, had one commonality and that (to me) was fear. Fear that you would do one simple thing wrong and by making that mistake it was putting your child in danger. It put you on the path of being the “bad parent”. One post leads to two leads to 700 and all of a sudden you’re paranoid about every single decision you make for your child and you realize that since they were born into the world you’ve been holding your breath. Waiting for your slip-up.
Inherent paranoia seemingly goes hand in hand with becoming a parent. I think often about that long walk down the hallway as Derek and I left the maternity floor with the twins that first day. Somewhere in my mind the nurses are standing behind us waving and thinking “hope you like being fucking scared of everything, enjoy!!”. I can’t remember now where I heard it but it was someone discussing how once you become a parent you start feeling personally responsible for the state of the world that your children have to grow up in and that could not be more accurate. All of a sudden you have heightened awareness of things like intolerance, violence and danger and how those things can and will impact your kids. There has to be some kind of graph that shows a correlation between becoming a parent and your increased vigilante-like tendencies.
The internet is SO FULL of parents blindly wandering around trying to find someone that will tell them how to do it and what decisions to make that just the sheer amount of opinion is suffocating. I think when I started this blog I saw myself as being a part of that dialogue – of simply sharing what I’m doing and hoping that it helps someone. But does that mean I’m just contributing to the clutter and confusion that already exists? I’m really not sure. I decided that I will not fill a blog with “parenting tips” and “hacks” because…honestly, there’s enough of that and I legitimately don’t think I have any. (BESIDES THE SUPER SWADDLE). I like writing when I feel like I need an external hard drive for my brain so that some of the conversations I have in my own mind can be released and maybe I can make better sense of them when I can look at them, edit & manipulate them. Maybe the conversations I’m having with myself match the ones other parents are having with themselves.
I guess the whole point of saying any of this was just to put words to the fear I find myself drowning in every once in a while. A fear that I’m sure I’m not alone in but truly some days it can feel like a deserted island that exists in my head that I put myself on. When I look too far into the future I get anxiety and if I look too hard at the past I feel regretful and so that really only gives me one choice, which is to exist in the moments I have right now and do what I can to make those count. God, I wish that didn’t sound so tacky.
P.S. Google less. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
P.P.S. None of us know what we’re doing – it’s all of our first time at life.