The words “new parents” and “anxiety” seem to be synonymous. If you Google the phrase “parent anxiety,” you’ll see titles such as “49 Parent Fears And How To Ease Them” and “Top 10 Fears Of New Moms.” As a relatively new parent myself, I can tell you I feel anxious about something regarding my daughter, Arden, just about every day.
Just today, in fact, I was inside the grocery store and looked down to grab my debit card out of my purse. In that short time, Arden took an avocado from its bag and bitten a piece of it, barcode, peel and all. At first, it was funny—even more so because I can’t get Arden to eat avocado when it’s sliced or in guacamole. Then, my mind started wondering about pesticides. “Did she just eat poison? Should I call the doctor just in case?” I stopped short of Googling possible symptoms of pesticide poisoning because nothing good ever comes from researching symptoms online.
What fear tells you
Parenting in this generation looks a lot differently than in generations past. According to Pamela Druckerman, author of New York Times bestseller, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers The Wisdom Of French Parenting, this generation of parents are the most psychoanalyzed than any other. We have instant access to all kinds of research that tell us what we’re doing wrong. This overload of information leaves us feeling stressed and afraid we’re unable to properly care for our children.
Most new parent anxieties are centered around the same themes:
Fear tells you: I’m not good enough.
Blog and social media posts are constant reminders that the world is full of perfect parents and we’re not among them. We often wonder if we’re reading to our children enough, if we’re socializing them enough, and if we’re doing enough to aid in their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual development.
. . . but the truth is: You are more than enough.
God has entrusted you with this child for a reason. Trust that He will lead you in his or her upbringing. You are everything your child needs.
Fear tells you: I’ll mess up/unintentionally hurt my kid.
There’s bound to be some research out there that supports the idea that whatever way you’re raising your child is secretly scarring them for life. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? To spank or not spank? Either side always ends in your kid needing therapy when they get older.
. . . but the truth is: Your child is under God’s protection.
There’s nothing you can do that will cause irreparable damage when you submit your kids to God and surrender your parenting to Him daily. They are safe and secure in Him.
Fear tells you: Other people are judging my parenting.
Your kid throws a full-on fit in the middle of the grocery store and you can just feel all kinds of judgement from onlookers. You’re certain they think you’re a bad parent who is incapable of controlling a child.
. . . but the truth is: No one is thinking about you because they’re too worried about themselves.
As a person who constantly worries too much about what others think, there’s a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Big Magic, that has spoken to my heart: “People don’t have time to worry about what you’re doing, or how well you’re doing it, because they’re all caught up in their own dramas . . . While it may seem lonely and horrible at first to imagine that you aren’t anyone else’s first order of business, there is also a great release to be found in this idea.”
I like that word, “release.” New parents, join me in releasing our fears that our kids won’t reach their full potential because of something we’re doing wrong. Instead, let’s replace those fears with truth that we are enough to parent our children as God calls us to.