They say when you become a parent for the first time, you are extra cautious. You have top-of-the-line everything from your diapers to the stroller. The hottest baby gadgets to hit the market fill your home. Every baby book is read from cover to cover. Every sharp corner is cushioned and stairway gated. Come your second, things get a bit more lax. Whoops – the pacifier fell on the floor, but there is no need to worry, for the 5 second rule is always in effect.
Somehow, our family did things backwards.
Our first daughter was born and people would comment on how relaxed I was with her. I received countless statements starting with ‘I can’t believe you don’t freak out over …‘. That was my personality. I didn’t stress over the fact that I couldn’t breastfeed for longer than 3 months. Or that she cried – A LOT – in the middle of the night. Don’t get me wrong, I had my meltdown moments but I let her roam, explore and learn with out being the dreaded 1st time helicopter mom. I was Relaxed Mom, and I freakin’ loved it. Come my second daughter, I did things the exact same way until November 6, 2014. Yes, I remember the exact date of when my entire parental mindset changed because on that one day in November, my relaxed world almost came crashing down with one single fall off a toy slide.
When our precocious second born was around 1 years old, her personality was bolder than ever & she acts older than she seems. It is something we absolutely adore about our little daredevil, tough-cookie who won’t let anything or anyone get in her way or knock her down. Seeing that quality in such a tiny being makes me know that she is going to be a damn strong woman one day. It is the same quality that let’s me put my guard down with her, forgetting that she is still, in fact, a baby. That morning of November 6th, my guard completely down, she climbed her way up to her new slide that sat 3 feet above the cushiony carpet. That same slide she had climbed, slid and even tumbled off of dozens and dozens of times. But today was different. She fell off the top of the slide backwards, smacking her head – hard – causing a seizure.
A fucking seizure.
My husband and I didn’t know what the hell was going on. They don’t tell you what a seizure looks like in those baby books. They don’t give you a step-by-step illustration on how to handle it. They don’t tell you what to do when your baby starts turning blue around her mouth, not breathing and beginning to seize. No one told me that I would have to lay my unresponsive baby on the floor and administer CPR to her blue mouth until she began to breath again. Those 5 minutes (which felt like hours) of waiting, panicking and responding will forever be burned in to my memory. It was that, right there, when Relaxed Mom packed up her yoga pants & cute tanks, moved on out and Paranoid Mom moved in.
Paranoid Mom made herself quite at home with in minutes of arriving. No matter what I say or do, this broad just won’t leave! I find myself missing the old, Relaxed Mom; the old me who wasn’t constantly hovering over her kids. I find myself often reminiscing about Relaxed Mom; how she let the girls play, explore, fall and learn the life lessons every kid should be learning. This new mom jumps to conclusions, which are typically the absolute worst. Even if it is something small as a mosquito bite or getting poked in the eye, the second that little peanut screams-her heart sinks to her stomach and she goes straight into panic mode. There is screaming, shaking and sometimes there is even crying. Who the hell is this woman? Because, shit, this is SO not me.
I have grown to resent this Paranoid Mom. Where does she get off coming in to our home and invading our family like this? She is taking valuable childhood experiences away from my girls. They should be running, jumping, falling, tripping, crying with out their mom immediately jumping to their rescue and coddling their boo-boo’s. She needs to let them learn that it’s ok to take a tumble once and a while, so maybe they will think, ‘Hey-I probably should not jump off the top of the couch on to that pile of blocks’. I have no control over this Paranoid Mom. I have tried to confront her, even told her to get the hell out of here multiple times, but when I do, she shows me that image of my baby laying there on the carpet.
Well played, Paranoid Mom, well played.
I’ll be honest, I’m not naive. I know that this Paranoid Mom will never be leaving. She is here to stay for the long haul. She will be up with me when my girls get their drivers licenses, when they go out on dates or with their friends and when they are off at college doing God knows what. She’ll be with me, keeping me company while I’m sleepless and paranoid. It is thanks to this Paranoid Mom that I will no longer judge my fellow moms who hover. This whole parenting thing is hard, who the hell am I to judge! So just a word to the wise, the next time you are at the park and you see one of us Paranoid Moms, keep the snarking to a minimum. I beg of you. You don’t know what made us get to that level of paranoia. We could have been born with it or we could have something burned into our memories. Just know at the bottom of our hovering, wiping, screaming and arm waving is a scared heart trying to never EVER get back to that burned memory that floods our brain.