Recently the kids and I headed to Arizona with my mom to visit all of our family out there. It was a great trip and the kids loved every single minute of it. The weather was beautiful and we did a lot of hiking (and I use that term very loose here!!) while we were there. The picture above was taken at the top of Mt Lemon where the kids and I walked around and explored for a bit. We also adventured around some land by my grandma's house a few times during the week. The kids loved finding walking sticks and looking around for any other treasures that they might find.
Me on the other hand hated each and every time we went out. Hate may be a strong word, because I loved exploring, being outdoors and being with my kids, but I hated the feelings that I experienced each and every time I was out there. You see, I was scared. Truly scared. I'm a worst case scenario kind of person and the signs that said “watch for bears” might have sent my insides crawling up my throat every second we were atop of Mt Lemon. Or maybe the fact that there are snakes out there and bobcats and plenty of other wild animals that in my mind were simply waiting to pounce on us around every corner. These animals and situations consumed my thoughts. Literally with each step I was creating an evacuation plan, or a scene would play in my mind about how I would jump in front of the bear to save my kids lives, and how they would all live, but be scared for life since they watched their mom get mutilated in front of their eyes.
It was awful people. Awful. I hate that for most of my time out there with my kids I was having to breath deep and trust in God to take care of us. The part that was also hard was faking it to my kids. They never knew these fears or concerns of mine. In fact when Amos cried over his fear of snakes (after my talk about looking out for them and what to do if you see one) and not wanting to be out there, I encouraged him and helped him get through our walk. We held hands the entire time and made him feel safe, all the while my eyes were strained from so much scanning the ground for snakes for both of our sakes!
This summer I experienced another type of fear with my kids, and this time I was open about my fear. We were at Pine Cove with the family and Deacon and I decided to do the power pole together. I did not want to do this, but Deacon suggested it and I couldn't say no to him because of my fear.
I honestly don't think Deacon had any idea what this would be like, but he was willing to try. I made it to the top and got myself standing, which is an accomplishment in itself, and then cheered Deacon on as he climbed the ladder.
I was so scared and by the time Deacon got to the top he had tears in his eyes and wanted to get down. I told Deacon that I was scared too, but we were going to be brave together. We had to work together to overcome our fears and finally I was able to pull Deacon up to the ledge with me.
It was up there on the top of that tiny little ledge that Deacon and I overcame our fears together. I didn't keep my fears to myself, but I was also trying so hard to be brave for my baby as he was struggling with fear as well. I told him I was proud of him and that together we could do this.
And then we did it.
And in that moment I was so proud of US. We did it together. Oh I was also proud of myself for catching that dang bar!
After we got down, Deacon was crying and scared still, but it was a moment of trust for us. We did it together, overcame our fears and encouraged each other all along.
In both of these instances I was so scared and needed to be brave for my kids. While we were hiking, it would have done more damage for me to express my fear to my kids. They weren't fearful, and didn't need to know that I was. They needed to know that everything was fine, so that they could be kids and enjoy the hike. I did not want to put my fear on to them when it wasn't there to start with.
For the power pole, we were both fearful already, and so me telling Deacon about my fears was a chance for us to overcome them together. To trust each other. To trust the counselors. To jump together.
Being fearful as a mom is hard sometimes. I want to be brave for my kids. I think there are moments that our vulnerability is great for our kids to see, and there are other times when we need to put on a brave face for our kids no matter what's going on inside of us.
I'd love to hear how you handle your fears as you mother your kids?
I struggle with fear a lot. Specifically I’m constantly worried someone is going to take my kids (I had a friend who was kidnapped and killed when I was in 6th grade). I don’t want my kids to know that I’m afraid of that, but I do want them to be safe. I’m not good at balancing. I’m the mom who’s constantly hovering over her kids so I know where they are all the time. I know I don’t give them enough space. I want them to learn to be independent, but I’m not giving them the space to do it. My fear controls many things in their life and I would really like that to change.
wow heather! isn’t it crazy how we bring our childhood into our parenthood. I’m kinda guilty of telling my kids there are bad people out there. i don’t want to scare them, but i want them to be aware. that balance is so hard. like the time i was in the shower and they answered the door to a stranger. i lost it and they probably thought their mom was crazy. it scared me more than anything. i love kids innocence and want to preserve that, but also want to be real about the day and age we live in. things aren’t like they used to be. i walked home from school by myself in the 3rd grade. NEVER would i let my kids do that. 🙁