What I knew about being a mom (before actually becoming a mom) could fit on the tiny head of a pin. Sure, I was the ultimate baby sitter and I grew up in a big extended family. I worked in childcare for YEARS before having children. I had experience with children of all ages.
That doesn’t prepare you for motherhood though. In fact, it might actually do more harm than good! You think you know what you are getting into, but you have no idea.
This series “Things I Did Not Know About Being a Mom” is going to be an ongoing series where I will add all the little realities of motherhood that catch me off guard.
When I think back to my own childhood, I don’t recall my parents being fearful.
I walked to and from school from Kindergarten on (it was at least a half mile…if not a mile each way). I don’t recall my mother tearfully waving goodbye or praying that I would make it to school free from harassment from child predators, text messaging motorists or boys with bad intentions.
Did she have these fears? I’m sure somewhere in the back of her mind, they were there. She’s not around anymore, so I can’t really ask…but I think any good mom fears a tad for her children when they walk off into the wild away from Mama Bear.
It’s a different world we live in today. Or maybe…it’s the same world but with a 24/7 news cycle. I don’t know, I’m not here to debate whether the media or the scariness of our world today is the chicken or the egg.
Because when I walk my son up to the door of his elementary school…my heart drops.
Scenarios run quickly through my head. What could happen between the door and his classroom? Is he ready for this? Am I ready for this?
I don’t let him see that. I project confidence and assurance to my small boy. My sweet, trusting little guy with his glasses that magnify his sweet puppy dog eyes making him look even younger, even more unsure of himself.
That’s what being a mom is about. Keeping those fears inside, under lock and key and sending a little prayer up to God to keep your baby safe. Letting them fall when you know it’s going to happen. Letting them fight with their siblings so they can learn how to compromise. Letting them go hungry so they can learn that it’s not always pizza and ice cream, and that is something they are going to have to deal with.
I didn’t know being a mom was going to involve me (let’s face it, I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve) learning to keep a lid on it. Learning not to let those emotions pass across my face because I need to project to my child something I am no fully sure of myself yet. That he is ready, that I am ready and that he should go forth because it’s time to let the little birdie fly.
Was my mom scared all of those years ago? I feel pretty confident she was.
It was a different day and time and the risk of having me walk by myself to school was worth the confidence and lesson it taught me. We take different risks nowadays, but they still require a level of bravado. A bit of a facade on the part of the parent.
It’s not a lie. We can’t know everything that is out there. Fear is normal and natural and protective.
I didn’t know what it would feel like in my gut. I couldn’t have. It’s something you can’t quite put into words.
It brings to mind the quote I am going to leave you with though. My favorite quote about parenthood because these words ring more true than any other I’ve ever heard:
Did you feel like this dropping your kids off at school this year? Mom’s of older kids, have you taken a leap that you weren’t quite ready for? Maybe let your child walk all the way to school? Ride the bus? Drive a car to school (gulp!)? Answer below.