Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Desire to Be Perfect

One of the key reasons I am not a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) is that I would constantly be worrying that I am not stimulating enough. I fear that by not giving her my undivided attention when I am at home with her that I am short-changing her. This is irrational. I know it is. Otherwise it would be impossible for SAHMs or working moms to get anything done in the house.

This craziness started from LP's birth. For the first weeks when we were home and couldn't leave the house much I would wonder - if I play music, should I sing along too? Then when we could go to the mall once she had her shots I would worry - she isn't getting one-on-one interaction - is watching the people walk by stimulating enough?

My daughter is already a leg up on the world. She is fortunate to have two parents who love her more than anything else, she has a loving extended family, she is better off than many others in the world. And yet...I put pressure on myself to be energetic, stimulating, attentive, etc. constantly.

I am not paralyzed with fear, but I do wonder about this a lot. I know I am not alone - what irrational fears do you have? How do you manage them?


kim said...

Irrational fears, those are my specialty! Where do I even start? Nursing vs formula? Day care vs nanny? TV or no TV? I figure that if I try my best and do what I truly believe is right, that she will be okay. I was raised by alcoholic parents who smoked, let my brother and I sit on the arm rest in the front seat of the car (which we fought over), and they let us eat candy, sugary cereals and ride bikes without helmets. I think that after all those things, I have turned out alright.

anne said...

I have the same concern that I'm not doing all the right things to ensure that my baby grows up to be the smartest, kindest, cleverest, funniest and resourceful-est (hi! I'm an editor/writer) person he can be. But I think that's a very common concern among first-time parents. I know from other moms (including my own, as well as my sister) that these worries are somewhat abated when the subsequent children arrive and are happy with whatever attention they get. So I probably shouldn't worry as much as I do about being the Amazing Stimuli Circus during every waking moment. But, of course, I do -- even though I turned out just fine after being the the little sister of two spotlight-grabbers (perhaps they were my stimuli), and so I suspect I probably didn't get the same amount of undivided, one-on-one attention that my son is currently getting.

Having said all that, I'm confident that he'll get great care and a stimulating environment at his day care center once he starts (soon!). And for that, I'm very grateful.

But as you noted, love and security do trump all. On that score I'm sure we're all doing brilliantly!