Moms are fearless. We brave the most terrifying diapers, navigate emotional ups and downs, and tackle napless days. Yes, it is easy to think of us as unflappable, but when it comes to this list of frightful happenings, we are brought to our knees. Even if we don’t show it.
There is nothing more terrifying than a house with children that is silent. As I type, my five-year-old is upstairs playing. Supposedly. After a full day of loud mess making, sibling rivalry, and inexplicable whining, it is silent. Sounds great, right? Not to a trained mom. What is really happening upstairs is more often than not the stuff of mom nightmares. Messes beyond compare, broken things, and worse yet, the mischief we can’t prepare for. One such mischievous act from one mischievous little girl happened just on a day like this two years ago. Two minutes alone in the dreaded silence, and I returned to a three-year-old covered from head to toe in Vaseline. Trying to hold her down while removing the water-resistant compound was like catching a greased pig. Nightmare.
The Midnight Stare
Whether transitioning from co-sleeping or moving from the crib to a toddler bed, the change in nighttime routine can cause uncertainty among moms. The thought that anything might disturb precious sleep routines is scary. The more terrifying thought though is knowing at any time you might awake to find that they have wandered from their bed and are staring at you while you sleep. There is a reason so many horror movies feature creepy, silent staring children.
This is when the high stakes come in. The important topics like drugs, sex, and body image are discussed, and the decisions they make can follow them into adulthood. Not to mention they are reasoning with a brain that isn’t fully formed, and thanks to social media, mistakes can be very, very public. It’s enough to make a sane mom paranoid.
The precursor to high school with even less reasoning ability and their bodies are introduced to hormones — such is middle school. Social interactions are awkward, and understanding between child and parent is close to nonexistent. I do not have firsthand experience of high school or middle school yet. It’s the unknown and uncertainty that strikes fear in my heart.
What They Say in Public
While we hope that our kids will act like little sponges soaking up all that they are taught in school, in all of our infinite wisdom, we know that they are like little parrots randomly selecting and repeating pieces of information. Which is where the fear comes in. What random tidbits of their home life leak out to those they come in contact with and how? Lately, I have been starting my mornings with a simple protein shake – just almond milk and protein powder. The almond milk, being different than their milk, has now been affectionately referred to in our house as mommy’s milk, and the girls are always eager to have a taste before I finish it off. I thought nothing of this routine until one morning this week it dawned on me. Should they go to school and retell the tale, it is very likely to sound as though I still breastfeed my two-and-a-half- and five-year-old daughters.
We know what to do when they are talking back. We know what to do when they aren’t listening and when they are pushing boundaries. We expect it. But when they are cooperating? If it’s not the Christmas season, then watch out. Something is coming.