a bad case of the mom-days

November 29, 2010

i learned two highly important facts over the holiday weekend.  #1- i hate the holidays.  #2- i have not dodged the first-time-mom syndrome bullet as well as i had originally hoped.

when jude was just a wee little ball of infantile mush i tried to be relaxed, take things in stride.  i didn't want to be one of those crazy over-protective first-time-mom syndrome baby hoverers.  and huzzah! i feel like we mostly escaped the infant stage unscathed.  i at least attempted to look like an old pro, regardless of the fact that jude is the one and only of a one and only.  now we're in a whole new world, toddler-world, and it's knocked the legs out from under me.

over the weekend we were at a hockey rink with a bunch of family, hanging out and goofing off.  jude saw all the other kids running pell-mell all over the place and wanted down to give it a try.  jon set him down so he could give it a go, but, being the newest walker he only made it so far before he went face-down onto the floor.  face down, hands down, floor dirty, i made the ew face and beckoned to jon to pick him back up, because... gross.  jon was mad because i stepped on his parenting toes by not letting him make the decisions and i got called out on my bad case of first-time-toddler syndrome in front of everyone.  the shame, the shame, i have never felt so ashamed that i didn't want to let my kid rub his hands all over an ice-rink floor.  ashamed and angry.

it's been a wake-up call full of internal struggles.

i don't hover, i don't interrupt his private explorations, i help if he asks, but that's about it.  BUT– yes, i watch.  always watch, with nearly my undivided attention from across the room.  i'm not comfortable letting him roam into rooms in other people's houses without one of us supervising the general area.  i'm just not.  and i've always had a problem with him flopping around all over public floors and sidewalks.  BLECH, the dirt.

i didn't feel i was overprotective before; i felt like i was doing a good job.  probably an over-cautious job, i'll admit, but i once found the kid chewing on an upholstery staple– i thought it was normal to closely supervise the toddlbies, and for good reason.  now i don't feel so sure.  should i just let him run around and get into whatever and shrug my shoulders?  if there's no immediate threat of death is that safe enough for me to just sit in the other room?  i feed jude with a fork, and i help him use his own fork.  is it weird that i don't let him just go at it with his hands?  frankly i don't like a mess and we both seem happy with distributing out the foods with forks.  the jude is happy as ever, successful, independent, and curious, but i'm embarrassed to be called out on being "uptight."

it would be one thing if i was comfortable with my new role but i'm not.  i was honestly hoping we could skip the annoying first-timers phase and pretend he was a second.  i wanted to be that relaxed mom that takes everything in stride.  the revelation that i am clearly not that person hurts.  i'm standing at a crossroads- do i continue on with what i HAVE been doing, which has been (i thought) working well for us, or do i take steps to fight my urges and try to "relax?"

if you have to clench your jaw the whole time "relaxing" isn't very... relaxing.

the weekend was stupid, i feel stupid.  i need my parenting mojo back, but right now i don't feel like a confident parent, i feel like an overprotective sissy parent, and it makes me feel sad inside.  the end.
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