There are days that I question whether I’m really cut out for this whole parenting responsibility, especially when I am not working from a stable base emotionally and I fail to parent according to my child-rearing philosophies. It is humbling in those moments thinking about how lost I am and I question whether I am mature enough to be the mom I want to be. I know that I am not alone in this sentiment, as other moms experience this everywhere, but I still wonder sometimes whether getting pregnant at this point in my life was a good idea.
Today I was musing about my current challenge with my son –dealing with aggressive outbursts of emotion—and I felt overwhelmed by the fear of not being able to find an appropriate solution to helping us resolve this issue. All the child development research I have done over the years did not prepare me with the emotional investment I have with my son and how much his distress distresses ME. It is different when you tackle behaviour issues with children in childcare because the connection you have with them is more professional than personal. It makes me anxious seeing how overwhelmed my son is by his emotions and I do not know how to help him all of a sudden. The root of the issue is really that I have no clue how to handle difficult emotions myself and that makes me incompetent in teaching him healthy ways to do so either. My own unresolved issues about emotional intelligence makes me question my ability to parent and I feel like I am still a child myself in some ways.
How do you know when you’ve grown up? How to you gauge that? I have it my head that adults are people who know their place in the world and make choices confidently and with unfettered access to age-old wisdom and common sense. I often still feel like a child despite giving birth to one, stumbling through life wondering how I am going to overcome the next challenge, while other days I am the most confident know-it-all in the universe. Until I had my son, I was mostly the know-it-all, believing in my ability to get through anything life throws at me and now I often question myself which is a good thing and a bad thing I suppose. It is humbling and that is a good thing because my ego needs to be checked sometimes but it is also overwhelming too and that scares me. It makes me wonder whether it is just me that feels like I am groping blindly in the dark when it comes to parenting and that I am simply not mature enough yet to be a good parent or whether this kind of self-doubt is normal for mothers at any age. I mean, I’m not super young or anything, having had my son at 23 and now going on 25, but the current trend is to wait till your thirties before starting a family and I wonder whether that would have been a better choice for me. Am I adult enough yet to parent a child?
Becoming a mother has been helping me grow as a person so much because my son forces me to acknowledge my issues and deal with them because they affect him and that is my responsibility. It is this duty that is overwhelming, especially when the first thing I want to do when I uncover one of my subconscious patterns is to deny it and pretend it doesn’t exist. Putting forth the effort to changing my negative habits and beliefs is no easy task and the procrastinator in me objects to this challenge. But my son is my motivation and so I keep trying to become the mom he deserves, even though I don’t always know how. I wonder if this desire to change in order to take better care of myself and my family is what finally makes me a mature adult.