Want to scare yourself? Scroll through your newsfeed and catch up on current events. Want to terrify yourself so badly, that you crawl under the covers, and rock back in forth in a cold sweat? Scroll through your newsfeed, and then look into the eyes of a toddler (preferably yours, or ones that you actually know. Otherwise it’s creepy) and think about the fact that you are responsible for raising them in this crazy world. I promise, you will never sleep soundly again.
I have been terrified raising toddlers since I first became a mother. Newborns I understand. When every problem can be solved with food, sleep, or a trip to the bathroom, I am on board. Maybe it’s because I can totally relate….
Whatever the case, as soon as my kids hit about 18 months old, I panicked. The thought of having to impart actual life lessons and experiences to my toddlers was, and still is too much to bear. Not only am I responsible for teaching them things like walking, talking, and using a toilet, but it is my responsibility to teach them letters, numbers, and how to tie their shoes. Do you remember learning your address and phone number? Me neither! But now I have to make sure a three-year-old and four-year-old know theirs. Then there are the really complicated lessons like ethics, morals, and why you can’t lick the floor of the grocery store. All this, while trying to make sure that they respect themselves and others. It’s dizzying, and frankly when I start going down the rabbit hole of all the ways I could permanently damage my children, it is hard for me to find my way out.
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways that have helped me to cope with the paralyzing fear that accompanies Millennial Motherhood. The first is prayer. I pray for this world, I pray for our country, and I pray for my kids. I pray for the people who have influence on my children, especially when I am not with them. It has taken me a long time to let go and realize that I cannot be the sole influence on my children for the rest of their lives (Trust me this is a wonderful thing. The last thing the world needs are two more neurotic extroverts who burst out into song and make pretentious comments about everything).
The second thing I have found that brings me comfort is books. I am not talking parenting books, or self-help books, which I also enjoy. No, much to my husband’s chagrin I have made it a habit of researching and purchasing books that break down complicated subjects in a way that easily digested by young kids. Most of these I found through two amazing parenting resources: the website A Mighty Girl and my favorite parenting podcast The Longest Shortest Time. Yes, I know that just reading these books to my kids will not make them good people. The reality is, that as parents we have more influence than we can ever imagine. But that’s what we signed up for. Is it scary? Downright petrifying. But it is also beautiful. I am forever grateful that wiser people than me have had the foresight to introduce hard topic better than I could ever imagine.
Whether or not my kids are getting anything from them is debatable. But I have learned so much about how to talk to my kids. Reading these books has helped me realize the kind of people I want to raise, and how I want them to relate to the world around them. On the #MillennialMama homepage, you will find a Resource list that includes some of my favorite books. Eventually I hope to build the Resource page to include articles, Podcasts, blogs, etc. I encourage you to comment with suggestions of things that have helped you through your journey, whether it be navigating motherhood, relationships, business, or social issues. Together we can support one another so raising these little people doesn’t seem quite as terrifying.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go teach my son the art of using a plunger…