Fun Vs. Fear in Parenting

14

December 31, 2014 by Katia

 

Last week we had a few of 5 Year Old’s friends over for a viewing party hosted by Netflix of their new children’s show, All Hail King Julien. One thing led to another and before you knew it my severely sleep-deprived brain produced a thought. The Thought, to be clear, wasn’t actually born AT the viewing party since *pro tip* parties for 5-year-old boys will not generate much thinking (other than of the “THINK FAST!” variety). These kinds of parties are more about reacting.

Just like parenting. Sometimes. You try to put your best foot forward. You read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “How to Talk to Kids So They Will Listen” only to stand there and gawk with your jaw on the floor as you discover that your child’s announcement “check this out!” leads to them jumping out of the bathtub crouching tiger style and breaking their toe. As you watch this scenario unfold the last thing on your mind, I assure you, is crafting a how-to-talk-so-kids-will-listen skilfull response.

During the (interactive) viewing party there was a lot of this:

King Julien

And that:

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And a little bit of this.

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And some of that.

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And even some of this.

Dec 2014 370

I’ll let you keep guessing.

After the party 5 Year Old and I sat down to watch another episode. He insisted on episode 4, which happened to deal with a reign of mindless fun represented by King Julien vs. the reign of terror represented by his devious uncle. Both were grotesque and very hilarious representations reminiscent of Robin Williams’ crazy, unhinged humour, but they brought about thoughts of something very real that I’ve been bothered by for a while.

In an absolutely unexpected twist of fate and contrary to anything I expected, I’ve assumed the role of Not Fun Parent.

Hello. Meet the inspiration behind this tweet. My name is Mama and I am here to bore. If you’re lucky. Otherwise I’ll scold, discipline and if things get really out of control – yell.

I was recently wondering, how is it possible to love my kids so badly, to worship them in a way that would out-cliché any parenting cliché uttered by a super model who just had her first baby, how is it possible to adore them so very much yet to so often spend your days not reacting the way a loving parent should and not experiencing much fun. And why is it, the thought persisted, that my husband seems to enjoy himself so much more than I do? Why is parenting so effortless to him (and Giséle)? Then I realized (remember The Thought?) That the difference lies in fear and its byproduct, stress. In my parenting pie chart terrible, paralyzing, all consuming fear for my fearless rambunctious little boys takes up an enormous portion, while I’m sure my husband’s is far more balanced.

Parenting is about constant learning. The surprising part of it, for me at least, is that so much of it is self-learning, and some of these lessons are attained by long and hard staring at a seemingly distorting mirror, which reflects an image you don’t wish to see. I want to be the parent my children deserve this new year. How do I let go of fear?

***

Do you feel the same way? How do you handle fear and stop it from paralyzing and distorting you as a parent?

***

This post is a Netflix Stream Team post. I want to thank Netflix for their generous hosting of the viewing party and for being Netflix.

I want to thank Ben, Amelia and Rebecca, Brayden and Jen, Alex, Hayden and Joanna and Shawna for attending and bringing life into the party.

***

14 thoughts on “Fun Vs. Fear in Parenting

  1. Charles says:

    You are asking questions that good parents ask. We get caught in the grind and sometimes need to reset. And I suspect your husband has to do it too. Funny piece. Mine haven’t been 5 for a while now but I totally identify with the reacting line. If you are standing still you are going backwards. ..

    • Katia says:

      Charles, thank you so much. I hit “publish” with a bit of a heavy heart. I am always guided by the thought of what would my future teen kids think if they read this. I would hate for them to think that I am suffering through this experience. Your comment helped ease my mind that it’s okay to be stressed out and tired as long as I reset. Thank you and happy new year!

  2. busy lady says:

    I think Mamas have a tendency to worry more than Daddys. About everything. Since my girls are both grown and away from home, I don’t worry (as much) about them. I remember turning them over to the Lord; He loved them much more than I did and I could trust Him, even if what looked bad happened, because I knew He could bring something good from it.

    • Katia says:

      I think I agree about moms vs. Dads. It’s not that my husband has no concern for their safety, it’s just that he is able to not become as immersed in it as I am.🙂

  3. For me, letting go of fear is about letting go of perfectionism. I mess up plenty with my children but the only choices I’ve ever regretted are the ones where I cared too much about what someone else thought or I didn’t trust my instincts. People always say to lead with love with our kids but we also need to lead with love with ourselves and practice self compassion. I’m harder on myself than anyone will ever be on me and one of my biggest life lessons has been to give myself a break. I can’t give space to thoughts about myself that God doesn’t think about me. Happy New Year to you Katia!

  4. Just stopped by to wish you and everyone (there, at your house) a Happy Two Thousand and Fifteen (yeah, I know! aiyeee), from all of us here at the Doctrine.

    I could relate to this post, with only minor adjustment to the context, enjoyable Post…as usual.

    • Katia says:

      I was thinking about you, Clark. Thank you so very much for your heartwarming (and smile bringing) comment. I wish you and yours a year of Clark-Roger-Scott balance (we all need a little bit of each, right?). Hugs.

  5. I feel the same way as you. My hubby seems to be effortlessly high energy and silly with our boys while it is more of a challenge for me….and I used to be a teacher before I became a SAHM. Maybe it is because I am with the boys 24/7? Not sure. Thanks for letting me know that I am not the only one who ponders many of these same questions.

  6. The Waiting says:

    That, my friend, is a paradox I am confronted with on-the-hour, every hour these days. I freaking love my kid so much and want nothing but the best and happiest and most fulfilled life for her, yet I am my own worst enemy when I try to actually give that to her. I’m short tempered and long winded. I’m patient when she doesn’t need me to be, and when she needs me to focus on her, I do anything but. And you are 100% right: fear and stress are at the heart of why I can’t be perfect all the time. I am basically a walking ball in fear.

    The good thing, though, is that we both recognize that fear is BS. It serves nothing. Let’s kick it to the curb, skinned knees be damned!

  7. It’s different here Katia. With my husband dying when my two were little I can’t really answer the question of whether he’d be more easy going. However, I can say that I still wish I was more easy going with my two now adult aged kids. Especially around cooking. Both of them love to cook which is splendid. However, they are not exactly the speediest at it. When there’s a deadline I can’t help but step in and speed things along. Bad Mommy. They get mad and rightly so. I’m working on it. It’s a never ending process. My daughter said to me “good thing you’re not a kindergarten teacher!” I grinned and replied “oh but I’d be SO much more patient if I was paid to do this.”
    As for fear – I never had time for it. Honestly. Life as a single mom for me was so full on that I never really gave fear much thought. I just plowed on through. I really like Karen’s advice though. Think she hit the nail on the head.

  8. Kristi Campbell - findingninee says:

    Sometimes, I see parents at the playground (or on tv where it’s obviously fake and yet it still bugs me) having SO MUCH fun with their kids and I think about what a jerk I sometimes am when I just don’t want to play any more and am bored or whatever. Your party sounds fun though! I get so angry with my husband when he “checks out” lost in his phone on the couch and I realize that the reason I get angry is because I’m kinda jealous and then I feel like a big jerk for being jealous because what does that say about me, ya know? This parenting gig is hard, friend. Happy 2015I I hope I’ll see you this year!!

  9. Roshni says:

    I don’t think I have the excuse of fear! I just feel anxiety and stress and I often take it out on my poor boys! I think catching myself doing that more and more helps me and I have no inhibitions about apologizing to them if I overreacted.

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