The Biggest Parenting Lesson: You Are Not (Always) In Control

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“I was born a worrier. The intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, and anxiety started at a very young age and never really subsided. As the years passed, I learned how to cope with this internal war in different ways. Some healthy, like prescribed medication, therapy, and meditation – and some not so healthy (hello binge-drinking college years).

But at the end of the day, all these things did for me was serve as a band-aid. A wet, soggy band-aid that was ready to fall off at any given moment – but a band-aid nonetheless.

And then, I became a parent, and that proverbial band-aid slid right off, instantly exposing this intangible, yet still painfully evident wound.

I understand becoming a parent comes with an assumed amount of added concern. It’s normal, natural, and, most importantly, instinctive to worry. Worry is what keeps our kids safe. Worry is what makes us hold their hands as they cross the street, keep a steady eye on them at the playground, and spend years cutting fruit and hotdogs into obnoxiously small pieces.

But what I experienced… Well, let’s just say it went well beyond the scope of what my doctor would consider ‘normal.’ Nevertheless, I was given a presumed diagnosis of postpartum anxiety and was confidently assured it would get better.

Now my daughter is almost four, and I have some disappointing news. It did not magically get better. And if anything, her becoming more independent has only amplified my concerns. But with my growing fears came a grand epiphany: I am not in control.

What do I mean by ‘I am not in control?’

This is a statement that both liberates me and makes me feel smaller than an atom. To me, ‘I am not in control’ means I need to have a certain level of innate trust in the universe and that ultimately, despite all my preventive measures, I don’t get to dictate what may or may not happen in the future.

Every day, I must put forth a certain level of trust that things will be okay. I can’t be there for every fall. I can’t self-diagnose her every ailment on Web MD. And I certainly can’t spend my days asking myself, ‘what if.’

Why? Because ultimately, it isn’t up to me, and stumbling upon this realization has been my biggest lesson in parenthood. I am not in control. I wish I could offer some sort of comforting closure in which I would say, ‘After stumbling upon this realization, all my worries simply melted away!’ But in reality, I still struggle.

But now, instead of desperately trying to force myself into the driver seat, I have ultimately accepted I am simply riding shotgun in this crazy thing called life. And as for my daughter? Well, she’s sturdily strapped into a 5-point-harness car seat because, you know, even if I’m not the one driving the car, there is still plenty I can do to ensure it’s a safe ride.”

mom with her child on the bed smiling at him
Courtesy of Latched Mama

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Latched Mama. It originally appeared here, on their blog. You can follow their journey on FacebookInstagram, and their websiteSubmit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Latched Mama here:

7 Surprising Things About My First Month Of Breastfeeding

I Did Not Feel Back To ‘Normal’ Several Weeks Postpartum—And It’s Time We Talk About It

3 Tips For Accepting You’re Not Your Child’s Preferred Parent

When It Comes To Postpartum Moms, The Most Valuable Help Has Nothing To Do With The Baby At All

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