I remember back to when I first imagined myself as a parent, it looked something like this: Three children playing in a fenced-in backyard, skipping while holding hands, all while grinning from ear-to-ear in a neighborhood lined with houses. I would be in the kitchen, baking cookies with one of those cute-looking aprons and my husband would be, I don’t know, reading something. Sounds very 1950’s cliché, right? I’ll answer that with a resounding YES.
I wasn’t too far off – we have all of that, except my boys are more likely to be wrestling around with each other than holding hands, and my husbands absolutely hates reading. I hardly have time to cook (although I really do love it) so we do one of those meal delivery services from Home Chef (no shame here, the food is awesome! Although, I did just eat a bowl of Lucky Charms – don’t judge me). The one thing I feel like might be missing from my pre-children fantasy, however, is that element that every parent craves for their children – that element of safety.
When bad things happen in the world, it’s a natural reaction for us as parents (or even caregivers, for those of you awesome, loving people who have taken in children as your own) to become defensive about the safety of our children. We begin to question whether or not we have adequately prepared them for the many different situations they might one day be faced with. We begin to question whether or not that which was once considered ‘safe’ can still be called such. As parents, part of our job is to protect our children, and it’s almost as if we feel … powerless. And guess what?
Your reaction is normal. Your feelings are valid. You are doing a great job.
The fact that you care enough about your children to have those feelings speaks volumes (because sadly, there are children out there who need parents like you). One thing that we as parents have to remember is that we cannot protect out children from every little thing that happens. Bad things are going to happen, it’s the world that we live in. It’s okay to fear for the safety of our kiddos. At the same time, try not to let that fear paralyze you. Why? Because the entire world isn’t a bad, ugly place. In fact, much of it is beautiful, worth being seen, and who really wants to see it alone?
So go ahead – love on those babies a little extra. Kiss your high schooler on the cheek in front of his teammates (bonus points if you’re wearing lipstick). Show that girlfriend those embarrassing baby photos. After all, now is the time to make those precious memories that you’ll forever hold safe in your heart.