“Mom! Having a baby is a HUGE responsibility!” -Me, at 5 months pregnant, after my mother told me not to worry about becoming a parent.
(Blame it on a Freudian slip, truthful Tourette’s, or the compounding loss of my sanity since the day I found out that I was going to be a mother).
By now I’m certain that some of you have read about the latest parenting trend that’s currently going viral, the CTFD method, a.k.a.- “Calm the Fuck Down” (and for those who have no idea what I’m referring to, here it is).
The concise, 309 word article comes down to the simple but meaningful message that, no matter what my parenting style and approach may be, in the end, my child will turn out just fine. As long as I just calm the fuck down.
If only it were that easy for me.
I would undoubtedly describe myself as a “Type A” personality and I accept and own all of the characteristics that come with the territory (restlessness, being high-strung, and undeniably impatient, among other desirable traits). The manifestations are strong enough so that, at least in my eyes, I come off as a bit of an oddball with some noticeable quirks, but not to the point where it interferes with my daily functioning. Kinda… Well, most of the time. Whatever.
In case you couldn’t tell by reading some of the entries of my blog, one of my greatest weaknesses is that I simply cannot let go of is my tendency to worry (and hence be unable to calm the fuck down). Little wonder why this article intrigued me so and made me start to reflect and wonder.
From the first day that I found out I was pregnant until the night before my caesarean section, I downloaded and purchased 28 (yes, that number is accurate) pregnancy and parenting books, and was able to actually read about two thirds of them, including a chapter in the pregnancy bible, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” about how to deliver my own baby if need be if I am alone when I go into labor. Yeah… I guess the writing was on the wall.
So what’s a thoroughly neurotic but well-meaning mother to do?
I know that the article is a bit tongue in cheek and is meant to be humorous, but in my case, it feels like further evidence that, as honorable as my intentions are, I’m still screwing up as a mother. The fact is, it’s hard for me to let go of my worry-wart nature. It’s simply who I am, as much as I wish it weren’t. I’m no psychological professional, but I still understand and acknowledge that excessive worrying is unhealthy. It’s a craptastic Catch-22 that only makes me feel worse.
I don’t want to be a helicopter parent, and I do not want my son to grow up battling the same demons that I had/have as a result of not being able to accept life’s imperfections (as well as his). I love him far too much for that.
I want to believe and I suppose that this whole “CTFD” thing doesn’t equate to “DGAF” (Don’t Give a Fuck). As time goes by, my darling baby boy will run and jump and play and also subsequently bump into things and fall down (let’s take that that both literally and as a general metaphor for life). In either case, I hope that I will be able to put into practice the “CTFD” parenting approach. I don’t want him to perceive the message that the world is a bad or hostile place, or that he will somehow be unable to handle different new challenges on his own. But how do you CTFD about someone and something you care so passionately about and not accredit it to indifference or passivity? How do you learn how and when to let it go, when it goes against your very instinct to want to protect and nurture your precious child? I guess my question is, to what extent do you or should you need to CTFD? After all, life happens. But it’s not easy for me to distinguish CTFD from permissive/ half-assed parenting.
Hmm… Rereading the last paragraph, I feel a bit ridiculous. But the words are mine.
It makes me wonder, “Am I the only one who thinks this way?”