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Four Reasons I’ll Be a Terrible Mother

April 17, 2012

A year into marriage and weeks away from turning 32, it’s almost time to try for a baby.  I’m more ready than my husband, but I think that’s usually how it goes (plus he’s a year and half younger than me).  I know people say that nothing can prepare you for children, but I wish there was something.  Before we got married, several books were recommended to us to help prepare us.  No such book exists for starting a family.  There is no “Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Have a Baby,” or “How to Prepare for Children.”  All the pre-baby books are about conception.  I want to know what conversations to have about parenting.  I want to know how our lives will change.  I want to know how to keep focused on our marriage when our family grows.  I don’t understand why a book like this doesn’t exist.  I get worked up thinking about all the things I cannot anticipate.  My husband and I were raised very differently, so I feel we should reconcile some of those differences and decide how things will be handled.  He was spanked, I was not.  He had chores, I did not.  I was given a lot more than he was.  My family members were much more independent of each other than his.  These are the things that worry me.

I also worry about all the ways I will fail.  There are plenty of things about myself that I feel will make me a bad mother in some ways. Here are the top four I worry about:

  1. I took a test a few years ago to determine my strengths for a group I belonged to, and my highest scoring attribute was empathy.  I am a tremendously empathetic person.  I have a heart for the elderly.  I feel deeply for those who are oppressed.  I ache for those who are broken.  But I have very little empathy for people who are sick or in pain.  I wish I knew why.  I am a trouper when it comes to illness.  I go to work with migraines.  I suffered through kidney stones with nothing more than prayer.  I threw away the prescription I was given when my wisdom teeth came out.  I just have a high pain threshold and don’t like whiners.  I have long believed that allergies are mostly psychological so my husband gets eye rolls when his seasonal allergies make him sniffle.  I get actively annoyed by people discussing their flu symptoms.  I want people to deal with it quietly.  This is not conducive to nurturing sick or injured children.  I just hope I can be more empathetic with my children when the time comes, even though I want them to be tough like I am.
  2. I HATE sports.  Passionately.  I’m not an athlete.  Watching sports bores me to tears.  My husband is the opposite and wants our kids to be active.  That’s fine.  I’m just already dreading tee-ball games.  I will be there with magazines, half-pretending to pay attention, then having my kid mad at me because I missed his big moment.  Maybe it’s different when you’re watching your own kids, but I doubt anything at all would make me interested in watching a game of any kind.
  3. Lots of “kid stuff” grosses me out.  I am okay with changing diapers and wiping runny noses but the idea of going to a children’s museum or a PlayPlace at a fast-food restaurant disgusts me.  I feel like everything in those kinds of places is sticky.  The thought of spending time there gives me anxiety.
  4. I don’t think I’ll be good at “Mommy Talk.”  I get irritated by moms who talk incessantly about their kids and I’m going to fight every urge to become one of those women.  I understand that children become the center of your world but that doesn’t mean anyone else cares about them nearly as much as you do.  It’s the same with your vacation or your wedding or your pets.  It’s boring.  I go with an answer questions when asked but don’t volunteer information because no one cares policy.  I’m sure it’s helpful to compare notes and get ideas from other moms, but I don’t know how much of that talk I can handle graciously.

I like to tell myself at least I’m aware of these faults.  And since I recognize them, I can pray about it.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2012 11:46 pm

    I really like your honesty. I have so many of the same questions and the decision to have children is so significantly huge that I don’t want to decide, “yes”, until I feel I could be an unselfish parent, not recent my children if they interfere with my dreams, and not replicate destructive family habits. I know so many who have simply had children because they “wanted to” and that sounds… backwards to me. I won’t feel comfortable bringing a child into the world unless I am willing to actively love them before myself- the same went for getting married.

    For me, I’ve thought so much about what I would do in various scenarios like having a child with a disability. Having a child who adores things I despise – like opera or sports (I’m with ya there) – and how to support their passions and dreams regardless of my personal taste. I was truly lucky to have two parents who didn’t care how different my passions were, but supported them all and took great joy in doing so. I hope I’d be able to do the same. I also think about having a child who is homosexual- I am fine with that, but many others are not, and how would I approach that? Having a child who grows up to have different beliefs than I do (morality, wealth, faith). There is so much to consider and if I have a child, I want always for them to be unconditionally loved and supported despite differences.

    I think the fact that you are thinking about these questions before having a baby, is indicative of how you would enter into motherhood much more responsibly, sacrificially, and lovingly. 🙂

    P.S. I must admit that your discussion on people talking about their vacation/wedding/pets and how “It’s boring,” made me hope hope hope that I haven’t ever done that to you! >.<

    • May 21, 2012 5:25 pm

      Such good points. I feel so much like you about this! I read a Christian writer recently (wish I could remember who) who said something like “It’s false for you to think the number of children you have is up to you.” This shocked me. It doesn’t feel optional to have children sometimes, especially in Christian circles. It amazes me how many people have children without thinking of all the things you listed here. Or without even thinking of the financial aspects, or how it affects your marriage, or 100 other variables that need a lot of thought.

      RE your PS… It’s me. I’m terrible terrible terrible with small talk. I just cannot do it. It might just be a selfish/egotistical streak in my own personality that I am unable to patiently listen to things that don’t interest me. And I genuinely care about things like your wedding (I’m so excited for it).

  2. Kay Blickenstaff permalink
    April 20, 2012 1:17 pm

    Not that I am biased or anything, being your Mom, but I know that you will be a wonderful mother and feel that just the fact that you question yourself shows responsibility. Watching you in the “big sister” role is proof to me that you will be a fabulous Mommy. Being at your kids’ events doesn’t make you a lover of the event, but an observer of the joy your child is feeling.
    Do you sometimes wish that I had been a spanker, rather than a talker/reasoner about your behavior? It would have been over faster, but I wonder if you would have learned as much…

    • May 21, 2012 5:30 pm

      I don’t wish I was spanked, but I think I did just crave a little more structure. I didn’t get spanked, but I didn’t get grounded either… I think talking about it isn’t always enough. I think I might be a more disciplined person if I had had more discipline. Like consequences instead of discussions. Nothing you did wrong at all, just an opinion. I was pretty sensitive too, so anything too punitive would’ve probably been damaging. It depends on the kid, I think.

  3. June 7, 2012 11:25 pm

    I have been away-away from the blog world lately. So pleasant to return and find several recent posts of yours as well as this lovely reply. ^.^

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