Monday, January 16, 2012

Baby Fever or Baby Fears?

As you probably know, I love kids. The last six years of teaching kids have brought me so much joy and laughter. Those children have made me so proud of their accomplishments and so happy for their happiness. However, those same children have also brought me stress, sleepless nights and challenges I sometimes felt I could never solve. In the next few years it will come time to have my own kids, and this really, truly scares me. Teaching is hard, and I know that being a parent will be so much harder. There are no vacations or long weekends from parenting. There is no saying goodbye to responsibilities at night, there are no lunch breaks. There is no saying goodbye at the end of a school year. From the minute I have that baby, there will be no break from being a mom for the rest of my life. I realize people take this plunge every minute somewhere on earth and that I am probably more prepared than some of those people to do this. But I still really, really fear it. There is a brief list of my baby related fears...

1. Sleep. I need it. I'm cranky and I get sick easily when I don't have it. Kids take it away. If it's not a crying and hungry infant, it's a sick and throwing up seven year old. If it isn't a "got in trouble at school today" fourth grader, it's a staying out way too late teenager.

2. Marriage. I once "joked" to Eric in a restaurant in Hawaii that kids ruin relationships, much to the evil eyes of the family next to us, oops. But in all honesty, Eric and I are really happy right now and I do worry that when we start losing sleep and having more responsibilities and less alone time, we will take it out on each other.

3. Work. I have had the pleasure of watching some wonderful teachers at my school become moms, and getting to know some already-mom teachers. I know it can be done and as far as full time jobs go, it's probably a good one to have with kids. But even still I worry about not being as good of a teacher, or as good of a mom. I worry about how I will react to dropping a baby off god-knows-where on my way to work. I worry even more about deciding not to work and surviving both financially and mentally as a stay-at-home mom.

4. Friends. I know it's unrealistic to expect to have as much time to devote to friends when you have kids and I'm okay with that. But I still worry, what if I can't maintain my friendships at all? What if my only friends become my kid's friend's moms? Or worse yet, what if I don't like any of my kid's friend's moms?

5. Kids. It goes without saying that the child itself is a huge fear of mine. Sure, I don't have any idea how to feed a baby, or really anything to do with a baby but I assume I will figure that out (aka ask my mom). I also don't really know what I'll do when my first grader's teacher calls, or my teenager lies to me. I truly believe I'd be able to figure out and manage all these "typical" situations, but what about the atypical? What if my child is born or acquires a real sickness? What if my child has a serious, serious behavior problem or autism or a delay? OR... what if my kid hates me? The possibilities are endless have I mentioned I am not good with throwing up? Kids always throw up... never in the toilet.

6. Tragedy.
I'm not going to go here. I'm sure you can use your imagination. This scares me more than 1-5 put together.

I won't even get into my pregnancy fears.... but they definitely involve throwing up in the middle of teaching my students...

Wow, why do people do this again?

Anyone with me!?!


  1. You just do it. And it works out. If you spend too much time worrying and not doing something, you'll never do it. It's one of those you just gotta leap, you never know what is going to happen until you do it.

  2. I am with you 150%.

    Thank you for writing this - this was a great articulation of all of my fears...

    I know someday Matt and I will be ready to be parents - I'm just not sure when to recognize that day!

    Thank you again for posting this - glad I'm not the only one out there!

  3. Oh yes. Yes yes yes. My biggest thing is that I'm still very selfish. Even when you have pets you still put your life before there's and that's not the case with kids (so I've heard). I like spending my money on me and free time on things I like to do.

    I remember when Caitlin at HTP did a post on planning parenthood right before announcing her pregnancy and someone left a comment saying "if you somehow found out it wouldn't be possible for you to get pregnant for another few years how would you feel" and she commented that she'd be devastated, I think that was a good indicator she was totally ready. I on the other hand would be like, few years? Try 5 or 6!! Ha! Also if someone told me right now that I could choose between having a baby in the next year or never having a baby I would be VERY tempted to choose never having a baby. All signs I'm not ready ;) But when you answer those kinds of questions differently than me I think it's a sign your ready and all those may not go away EVER but raising your child will make living with those fears totally worth it (or so I've heard).

    For example, one of my greatest fears in life is something happening to Eric (read your #5) but that doesn't mean I'm not going to marry him and plan to spend the rest of my life with him, right? Right!

    Great post by the way :)

  4. I should really edit my comments... Should have been all those *fears may not go away and read your #6*

    I was just so anxious to comment because this post hit home for me :D

  5. Yes, I have all those same fears and I have just about 2.5 months to get over them, right? I think becoming a parent is the scariest thing you can ever do yet I always hear that it is also the most rewarding. I think that being a teacher (esp a teacher who teaches YOUNG kids) is very difficult because you already take care of so many kids that it just seems really impossible to care for your own on top of that. I definitely wonder what teaching will feel like once I am a mom. I think I will have more empathy for parents, yet I worry that I will be cranky with my own child after working. You are spot on with your concerns. I always felt NOT READY, but then at a certain point, we felt ready to try to get pregnant and then once I was pregnant I started to feel myself changing and becoming more open to all the changes and difficulties that I know I will face. It's hard to explain but even just being pregnant changes the way you think about things. Knowing that we made this little person is an incredible feeling and I just can't wait to meet her!

  6. For me, I think I felt ready when the fear of not having a baby (or having a lot of trouble having one) greatly outweighed the fears of having one. For Ronnie, he says he felt like that was something in his life that he always knew he wanted, but it shifted to feeling like it was something missing from our lives. We weren't ready before, so nothing felt "missing" from our lives, but eventually we just felt like we were ready to be parents. I don't know that you can pinpoint the moment it happens, but eventually you'll just know it's what you both want.

  7. I am so with you! In fact, there are multiple times where I've discussed with my husband how having children ruins relationships (kind of joking). All spontaneous, random date nights, and the freedom to go where ever whenever goes out the door.

    I am extremely terrified of pregnancy, also.

    My level of fear is a sign that I'm so not ready for kiddos!!

  8. Ok I was expecting so much worse. These fears (not that I would really know) are totally normal. I've considered all of these, and I haven't even really THOUGHT about having kids any time in the near future. I like the firfirst comment, and I have to agree. Kids are one of those things that you just do and figure it out/worry about it later. You'll be fine, especially cause you have two awesome set of parents that are close by to help you out. And me!
    As for their being no breaks from your kids like you have from your students, just think of the rewards you get from teaching, and now imagine those times 100000 with your own kids.

  9. Wow, this post could not have come at a better time. I feel like I am surrounded by baby-talk! One of my good friends is due in February (we just threw her a shower this weekend!) and I just found out yesterday that my boss AND her boss is pregnant (with twins!)I cannot imagine having children right now, but when the time comes, I have the same. exact. fears. I don't have any comforting thoughts...but just know you aren't alone!

  10. I haven't really had to think about kids since I am not married, but I think I would fear many of the same things. I had a really demanding career and a full life - it's hard to imagine adding a child to that equation. But I know that I likely will (if I get married). One things that bums me out is that because of my age, I won't be able to really wait long to have children. I see myself getting married and trying to have kids right away... It is what it is! I had my fun in my 20s, so I don't feel like I am missing out on anything, I just get bummed that I won't have those years of just being a couple with my husband (most likely, who knows what the future truly holds).