mother guilt

My Child Has My Fears And I Can’t Even Fake It To Help Him

By  | 

bugAs a mother, it is only natural to want to make your kids feel as safe as possible in your presence. I know that growing up, seeing my parents as confident and unflappable beings made me feel so much better about the world around me. To me, they were super heroes and as long as they were there, nothing could hurt me.

Of course, this perception of a parent changes as a child gets older. You learn that they are not invincible and that they have fears too. That said, I believe that for a small child, having a parent not showing their fears over everyday things is important. I think it makes the world a softer place for little kids if they have the calming center point of a parent who can show bravery around the things that scare them.

For my husband’s part, he has done an amazing job of not freaking out in front of the kids. There isn’t much that scares him but when they get hurt, I know he gets pretty unglued. Over the years, he has found ways to cope so they never see it and I admire him for that. The kids still seem to view him as the infallible super hero who could move heaven and earth to keep them safe if necessary.

I am sad to say that I cannot claim that same status in my children’s eyes.  I am not as able to push my fears aside the way my husband does. The fear I have the most trouble hiding is my extreme aversion to bees, spiders and pretty much any insect other than ants and flies.

I know it is irrational but I guess if I had to give a reason why they bother me it would be their insidious nature- the fact that they are tiny enough to hide somewhere and have the ability to catch me unaware. It has always annoyed my husband that I run shrieking like an asshole in the presence of a bee and never more so than when we had kids old enough to realize that mommy is losing it. He does not understand why I cannot manage to swallow back my fear in front of them so they don’t end up like me- crippled by the sound of distant buzzing.

Our daughter doesn’t seem affected by my histrionics and (sadly) has rescued me a number of times when a bug was nearby. She has brushed bees away from the front door so I could insert the key and speed through to safety. She has crushed bugs with her little Stride Rite sneaker when I was too afraid to do it. She tries to pump up her younger brother reminding him that he does not need to be afraid but nevertheless, I seem to have passed my ridiculous fear on to the poor little guy. My child has my fears and I feel like it’s my fault. He too will freak out when he spots a spider or hears a bee and naturally,  I can’t help blaming myself.

I would like to say I’ve gotten better since discovering that my son is taking on my fears himself but I have not. It is not for lack of trying- I do make myself stand still for as long as I can once I hear a bee- but I always end up scurrying away like a crazy person once I can’t take it anymore. How can I tell my son not to be afraid of bees and bugs when they are enough to send me into a hot panic? How do I get over this? Until I find the answer, I talk to him about it and remind him that this is something we both need not be afraid of and that it is silly that bugs bother us so much. He’s gotten a little better in recent months and I would like to credit myself but I think he’s just getting braver as he gets older and his logical streak is overruling his hysterical one. I’ve heard him telling my husband about how spiders don’t scare him anymore because he knows he is much bigger than they are. I hope he continues on this path and that a little of his bravery rubs off on me.

(Image: Symbiot/Shutterstock)