There comes in a time in all of our lives where we find ourselves reduced to a gelatinous pile of nervous goop on the floor.
In highschool, for me, it was talking to a boy I liked, or passing him a stupid fucking note that asked if he liked me (so mature, I know) or public speaking projects.
As an adult it was waiting to get a call back about a job, or an apartment- EVERY time my boss called me into her office, and interviews (hey, that’s more mature!)
And then came kids. Holy shitballs- the nervous energy they bring into our lives cannot be measure on any kind of scale concocted by human technology.
First you worry your expanding ass off about the pregnancy, when will I go into labor, will it be painful? Am I going to shit the table? Am I going to be torn in half? Is the baby going to be healthy? Am I going to be able to do this? WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?
From that point on, you learn that every day there is something new to be nervous/worried/terrified/freaked out about. Every damn day! It never relents.
From the feedings to the diaperings to the rashes and the fevers, the firsts and the milestones; the delays and the strides forward. Teething or is it teething? Sleeping and not sleeping..
It’s really no wonder that once you have kids come tumbling into your life via vagina or belly, the grays and wrinkles and stress headaches are not far behind. Neither are the days where you actually look FORWARD to bedtime instead of relishing being able to stay up late because WEEEE you’re an adult now!!!
Over the years, i’ve gotten so used to being a paranoid ball of nerves so often, it became like another appendage that had grown onto me. I couldn’t see my life WITHOUT it. Of course i’m always going to worry about my kids! They’re my KIDS. And they’re little! And little kids do dumb shit, and I worry about them doing dumb shit. I have been nervous so long that I just sort of got used to being nervous, damn that 3rd arm, I began to forget it was even there- it became natural to me to have this little voice screaming in the back of my head “hey WATCH IT! He could fall and crack his head on something!”
I got SO used to parental nervousness, that somewhere along the way I forgot what ACTUAL nervousness is.
Yes, there is most definitely a difference… at least a few years into parenting when you become numb to the paranoia generally associated with children.
Real world nerves, outside the comfort of your own home, outside the comfort of your own personal comfort. You can either make them work from you and excel under pressure, or let them hold you down, and hold you back. You can buckle under the pressure, or use the energy to work in your favor. Use it to motivate you, push you. Turn nerves into fuel.
Things that have nothing to do with kids, but to do with your life, your future outside of parenthood (if you so choose to pursue one, as parenthood IS a full time job in and of itself). Maybe a dream, or a wish, or a want. A career, a job, a gig- anything. The feeling is completely different, more panicky- maybe because we have been so caught up in the stress of parenthood that we forget what everything else is like. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.. but the shit is HARD.
How do you get past it? That sinking feeling in your stomach that is saying “holy shit i’m going to freak out, can I do this?”
This is what I tell myself, and have been telling myself as I am going through one of those giant nerve-wracking times in my life right now:
Breathe. Then breathe again. Life is all about experiences. Remember that being nervous is usually a sign that it’s something you want- so give it your best shot. And then breathe again. Turn that nervous energy into what it really is: excitement. Did I mention breathe? Because you’re going to need to continue to do that in order to get through this, and you CAN. Talk yourself into it, talk your brain out of the nerves- and do it.
Now… do you feel better? I do.
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