What you wish you knew about motherhood before becoming one?

That’s one of the questions I ask in our monthly chats with Mums and Dads.  If you haven’t read any of the features, do come and have a little read.  I’ve been lucky to be able to  interview really good bloggers out there, each of them, worth a read and have shared little gems of truths about parenthood.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about that question lately.  The truth is, it’s actually always in my mind and this post has been saved in my draft box for the longest time.  Now if someone asked me that question, my truthful answer would be:

“I wish I knew that I’d be scared all the time.  No one, not even my mother, warned me about that lingering fear that would keep me awake late at night thinking about the “what ifs”.  That fear and knowing that for the rest of my life, this fear will stay with me forever.”

Fear of Failing your child:

I never knew that being a mother would be the scariest experience in my life, and I’m not even talking about little T’s  birth story, although that experience in itself is scary.  I’m talking about the enormous responsibility of a parent, of raising a child and having the power to either make or break your child’s life.  That whatever kind of person she becomes will be a direct result of the kind of people you were as a parent and upbringing she has had in her life.  And that thought scares the shit out of me.

Being Happy is all that matters

It took me awhile to realise that you can’t keep blaming your parents for every single failure or mistake that you have made in your life.  I think I was in my late 20s when I realised that I can’t blame my parents for my own faults anymore.  I’m more than old enough to know that I made wrong decisions in my life, not because of what they did, or haven’t done, but it’s because of my own doing.  I used to think that the reason why I’m not ambitious was because my parents never really pushed me to be the best that I can be.  For them, being happy was all that matters and I’m learning now, they were right of course!

Once I was torn whether to quit a job I absolutely abhorred, or to stay, especially since I was up for another promotion.  This was the boss who told me “Stick with me Dean and we’ll climb up the corporate ladder together”.  I remember sitting in her office and staring out the window when she said this to me.  And all I could think of was wanting to jump out right there and then.  I phoned my mother and the only thing she said was “If you’re not happy, leave”.  And that’s what I did.

Paranoia:  The bane of parenthood

As a first-time parent, I know it’s normal to be paranoid about your child’s safety.  That irrational fear of worrying about your child when they are not with you.  That she might be in harm’s way.  Little T has another school trip tomorrow, because she is small, I worry that they might lose her, or that she might not know how to buckle her seatbelt up in the bus and she might fall and hurt herself.  I know that fear is unfounded, because I trust the school and her teachers and know that they always make sure that all the children are safe.

The fear of dying

Being older parents, I worry a lot about my health.  I fear getting sick, every pain I feel I wonder, is it something serious?  When the husband is away, I say a little prayer to keep him safe all the time.  I want her to have both of us around for a very long, long time.  Is that impossible to ask?

And now you know why I rarely have a good night’s sleep.  For those out there who have the same fears and have been in this parenting business far longer than I have, my question is, does it get any better?  Do the fears dissipate as my daughter gets older?

What is your greatest fear as a parent, as a person?


  1. South of the Strait

    The fears change but they are always there. No matter how big they get they are always your little baby. I still find the unknown is the most frightening part of parenting.

    • Thanks. Now I also know why my own mother never gets enough sleep either.

  2. ortsofsorts

    What a real and raw expression of your fears! I was less fearful when my oldest child (now almost 25) was young. The older she got, and the more children I had the more I feared for my children. I slept less and worried more. I also prayed more. I recently told my oldest that I had never prayed as much in my life as when she started high school and began driving. Now, I have 4 daughters ages 24, 19, 12, and 10 – and the fears are still there. They change with the ages and the times – but they still remain. I find some peace knowing I have done the best I can for each of them from the place I was at in my life at that time. Oh, and I still pray a lot!

    • Oh dear, that’s what I keep telling my husband. She’s only four and yet I can’t seem to silence my fears. What more when she’s a teenager? Oh and yes, prayers do help 🙂

  3. Life in the Wylde West

    I love how open and honest you are. I have a friend who is a few years behind me in raising her boys. She flat out gets made at me…she will say things like “you didn’t warn me!” So I feel such a refreshing feeling when I read this. You are expressing so many things I have thought or experienced. Thank you.

    • I am in constant communication with my mom through Skype/viber/face-time, thank goodness for technology, but I haven’t really discussed with her all my fears as a mother to little T. We are going home for a holiday over the summer break and I plan to have a real and honest dialogue with her and to thank her for raising me and my siblings. This “motherhood thing” astonishes me daily! From what I’ve read of your blog-posts, I find you very honest too and know for one what a lovely mother you are 😉 I wish to follow your footsteps as well as my own mother and other mothers I also admire.

    • Kate @ Did That Just Happen?

      I have a friend that will sometimes go “You did’t warn me!!” and in turn I ask “Where’s the fun in that?” 🙂

  4. Kriss MacDonald

    When we lived in the US my kid’s school – like most American schools – had regular lockdown drills. Basically they would all hide in nooks in classrooms and elsewhere and have to be completely silent so they would be prepared if a mad person ever came to their school and started shooting. The local police would then walk around the school to make sure they were all quiet and hiding. Instead of reassuring me these drills filled me with absolute fear about them being in a US school. So every single morning before school I was paranoid that no matter how hurried or late we were I had to give them huge hugs, kisses and tell them how much I loved them. As a former journalist I’ve been in war zones and such like, but I’ve never experienced or felt so much fear as a parent.

    • Dean B

      I’d be a nervous wreck if we lived in lived in the States. I have family there and it amazes and shocks me how even them (who weren’t born there) are so nonchalant about drills and guns as if it’s all normal and part of living!

  5. Kate @ Did That Just Happen?

    I read some where that “what-ifs” are the monsters in the parent’s closet.

    And I have found it to be so very, very true. The what-ifs keep me up at night, the what-ifs leave me in a puddle of tears in the middle of my bed. What if he if the school loses her? What if he is robbed as he is closing the store one night and shot? Seriously, if you want to have a nervous breakdown, open the closet door! I have had to learn how to live in the moment. Right now, he is okay. Right now, he is safe. Right now, everything is okay, and that is all I can ask for, that right now we are okay.

    I want him to live a full and rich life, filled to the brim with adventure and excitement and love and sorrow and joy. And to do that, right now I tell myself to just close the closet door, take a breath and send up a prayer!

    • Dean B

      Lovely words Kate! You are so right, at the moment, all we can do as parents is live at the present and that’s all that matters. Like you aid, right now, they are safe, right now, they are healthy, right now, they are happy. Like you, I’ll try to keep the monsters safely locked in the closet.

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