All the What Ifs of an Inexperienced Parent
Pressure is building, and we can feel the excitement. No, we are not pregnant. But all of our hard work and panning have led to this year. The year we plan to settle down and start a family.
I thought I would be elated. All of my co-workers that are of similar age have had babies. “It’s YOUR turn!” I am constantly reminded. All of my older cousins are mothers, some multiple times over.
They all seem to be doing a perfect job. Perfect parenting hacks, Instagram and Facebook posts. Innovative ideas in teaching their children how to eat, potty, talk, walk, you name it.
Now, it’s my turn. I have planned this over and over in my head. How will my career balance with an infant? Where are the best schools? What kind of mother will I be? What will our discipline style look like?
Then last night, as I lie awake next to the roaring snoring husband, the thought hit me. God! I hope I don’t have a boy. Flashbacks from teaching middle school race across my mind. I make a mental list of all the reasons it would be devastating if I brought a baby boy into the world.
Why I Don’t Want A Boy:
1. Puberty- It is already set in stone in my mind that the hubbie has complete control over “The Talk.”
2. Be a Man- What does it even mean to be a man in this century anymore? How can I raise a boy in such a climate? What if he doesn’t treat women well or have pride in himself?
3. Sheer Strength- I remember my baby brother growing up. If he didn’t want to be picked up or moved, he turned into a stiff pile of lead. Impossible to move or carry, just a screaming mass of embarrassment. I also remember the day my baby brother could overpower me, physically dominant, I felt helpless and somewhat afraid. What if my boy is a baby hulk?
Countless other silly reasons rambled through my sleepless brain. But there is hope right? It might not be a boy. THEN HORROR! GOD! What if I have a girl? The new list of fear started forming quickly.
Why I don’t Want a Girl:
1. Puberty- Well, I guess I would be responsible for “The Talk.”
2. Boy Crazy- I remember this stage of life. No amount of reason or logic can change a boy crazy girl’s mind. What if she falls for the wrong boy at school? What if she is corrupted and turns from all of our advice down the wrong path in life?
3. Over-competitive- What if I drill my ideas into her sweet pliable brain that she needs to be just as powerful as the men in her life at work and school, nay- more powerful. What if I smother her with my over competitive nature and create a monster?
Is there a third option?
Being real though, I have thought about what I think are all the “What Ifs.” What if my child is gay, transsexual, bi-sexual, transgender or some category that I have little experience in? I know in my heart I can adapt, support and love, but can my family? Can my husband?
What if they are bullied? What if they are the bully? What if they don’t treat others with respect, even though I try to lead by example? OMG, what if they are a psycho serial killer?
I suppose, the fact that I am worried so much about my unborn child’s moral character is proof that I will go to great lengths to raise a respectable child. Which opens another great door to worry, what if they do grow up to be a responsible, respectable citizen and the world treats them like crap?
Can I bear to see my babies heart break? Can I listen to their tales of rejection and unfair work environments without taking arms and destroying anyone who would get in my child’s way? What if I turn into the psycho overprotective mother (that is probably more likely).
As you can see, I am inexperienced in the ways of raising children. Until I have experiences of my own, I will continue to rely on the advice and great writings of other parents. Your funny stories of inspiration make me laugh and your experiences of loss and heartbreak bring tears to my eyes.
Isn’t it part of the human experience to share what we know, and learn from those more seasoned in areas we have no clue?
To all of you expert parents out there, feel free to share your comments. What would you say to a friend who has non-stop worries about being a new parent? How would you calm the sea of what ifs?