Despite all this moderate business, I can be quite highly strung when I want to be. I get this primarily from my mother, who could create a drama with a piece of string and a safety pin. I'm not sure if this is related or not but I'm also pretty clumsy. I read recently that we shouldn't call our children clumsy because it damages their self esteem but I was called clumsy as a child because I was frickin' clumsy. My partner jokes that he's going to get me a set of plastic dinnerware because I go through ours so quickly, given that I can't be trusted with china you can imagine how anxiety inducing it was to be handed a teeny, helpless newborn and to be told, look after this love.
This pressure definitely dulled some of the shine from the early days. He was so soft and vulnerable and I was so, so tired. Yet somehow we made it through without any major damage to either of us and as his little thighs grew sturdy and he learned to keep his head on his neck I started to breathe more easily. And then he started to move.
I thought was The Ring was scary until I had to watch a fearless two year old with a questionable centre of gravity tearing around a playground full of death traps, sorry, slides. So wherever he is, the place I want to be is one step behind and if I don't know if he can do something I don't want him to try it and since I won't know if he can do it until he tries, I think it's best if we all just sit here and do nothing.
Unfortunately that would be an impossible task and probably not beneficial in the long run. I want him to flourish and to flourish he has to learn and to learn he has to *whispers* try stuff. In order to let that happen I have to keep my overprotective parent under wraps. Here's what I would recommend if you would like to join me...
Plan pushing boundaries. Deciding in advance that you're going to try a new thing means that you can risk assess the situation and also build yourself up to giving it a go. When I first tried baby led weaning the whole no teeth/small throat situation was a bit daunting but I did a lot of research and made sure we tried new food when we were both calm and comfortable. Now he eats anything that isn't nailed down so by and large I think we managed my eating anxiety.
Check in with others. Sometimes I think we put pressure on ourselves as parents to know innately how much is too much. It's fine to ask friends and family with children what they allow their offspring to do. It's also okay to smile warmly on the outside but scream, over my dead body on the inside. The reason to gather opinion is not necessarily to do what they do but to see if what they do resonates with you. You might find that you're not as over protective as you think (doubtful).
Allocate a coach. You need someone that can hold your hand in the tough bits. They might be a partner, relative or BFF. Let yourself tell them all your ghastly parenting fears and allow them to dismiss them all and remind you how awesome both you and your child are.
Respect carers with different boundaries. My in your face agenda for my son is my problem. I do my best not to inflict it upon my husband who has very different ideas on health and safety in our home. I let him know how I feel about stuff and then I have to trust that he has our son's best interests at heart. This is very hard but who am I to say how our child should learn in life? Perhaps he will learn to push boundaries from his father and learn to set them straight again from me.
I'm already dreading when the kid's older and can go out independently and make decisions without my approval. So I know it's important to get in my practice now, when all we're doing is taking the sides off his cot.
I'd love to know what you think. Do you feel like an overprotective parent?