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Old 07-24-2007, 11:48 PM   #1
mommy2kb
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Parenting Angst

First meaningful post here and its a doozy.

Some background -- I have a six year old, Kelsey, and I'm expecting #2 in January.

So, I'm having some jitters and I've been introspecting a lot about it and I suspect that it is because a.) my six year old is growing up and b.) I'm worried about the change in our family dynamic that a second baby will create. I actually think the fear of B is exaggerating my fear of A.

How do you continue to the parent with the attachment parenting philosophy into the later years of childhood (like 5-preteen)? I've A/P'd Kelsey with great success (nursing, baby wearing, co-sleeping, etc. etc.) It has been, unqualified, the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. But I feel like she and I are losing our "connection", so to speak. More plainly, I feel like I am "losing" her to culture, television/computer, friends, school, etc. And when I say it like that, I realize that, perhaps, my fear of "losing" her is actually just my anxiety over her (gulp) growing more and more independent. Maybe its not so much that I feel like I'm losing my connection with her -- its more that I'm losing my *control* over her environment and influences.

So, I'm feeling the heat more than ever about being a "good" parent -- how to best guide her with regards to more complex things, like interpersonal relationships, questions of morality and ethics, the dangers of modern living, value systems, etc. Things that make teaching her the self-control not to throw her food off the high chair look like a walk in the friggin' park. I'm pretty sure this is all normal parenting sh!t, to be honest. I just want to do it with the same love and respect and empathy and compassion that I did when parenting was much more straightforward. Things were more clear cut when she was a "baby" -- her needs were, while not always obvious, relatively easy to meet. Now she asks questions for which there is no clear cut answer -- questions for which I don't always have an answer. Her needs are not always obvious -- and I am not always sure I can meet them.

And I think this fear/anxiety/whatever over my parenting ability with her is amped up by the fact that I'm ramping up to do the whole A/P thing again with this next child. I feel slightly guilty that I'm going to be parenting the new baby in a way that (I'm afraid) is more gratifying than what I can give to her. I guess its the nature of the beast -- each age requires a different kind of parenting, I know. And, of course, there is the ever-present fear of -- am I doing my best? Could I be doing/giving more? And I'm scared that the devotion a new baby requires will somehow take away from my ability to be a good parent to her. I'm not scared of the love thing -- since I conceived this child, I was certain that love only grows exponentially. I'm worried about the logistics --- how will I have enough time to make sure I'm doing a good job with her when I am spending so much time tending to an infant? Where can I buy more time?

Now, to be fair, I have never met a child more excited to be a big sister than Kelsey. Since we have a very open relationship, she has expressed to me some fear (and it seems very minor right now) about how the new baby will affect my relationship with her. I think that being honest with her has gone a long way towards bolstering her sense of security. Overall, I think SHE will do fine with the new baby around. I think it will be one of the most gratifying experiences she will ever have -- I know that being a sibling did, and continues to do, that for me, even when its not all peachy between my brother and I. I feel like I have already started making conscious efforts to make sure she feels secure in her place as my daughter, in her place as the eldest, in the love that we have for her, what is expected of her, in the joy she brings us as parents, etc. And I feel like that is, really, all I can do at this point.

Its just that I've just been a mother of one for so long now -- I'm kind of scared I will fail her at a time when she really needs me to be my sharpest. Thanks for "listening" and for any practical suggestions.

PS. I told DH that I was having a crisis of confidence in my parenting skills and he said pithily, "Eh, take her to the pool tomorrow afternoon. She'll love you." Gee, thanks, Einstein. So I'm counting on you, veteran moms.

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Last edited by mommy2kb; 07-24-2007 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:46 AM   #2
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Re: Parenting Angst

LOL at your hubby. I think we all have these fears and while it is difficult at times it makes it all that more amazing when you do begin to see it all come together. I look at my two little ones together and it just amazes me. I can especially empathize with your feeling of "losing" your baby, I felt the same way about DS when DD was on the way and it broke my heart, but like you said DD is becoming more of her own person and you will connect in other awesome ways as you help her figure out who she is. Don't stress too much mama, it will be okay.
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