How Parenthood Scares You When You Don’t Like Your Parents

September 25, 2018  |  
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Motherhood anxiety Black woman standing holding baby daughter

No family is perfect—except the ones who are and they are creepy what is wrong with them? The majority of us would say that all of our families have some kinks. And even family therapists can confirm that. But there are families with problems and families with problems. Whenever friends and I get into a “Whose family is more nuts?” contest, I always win and…I’m not happy to win. People will share their stories and I’ll be awkwardly silent. They’ll nudge me, “Go ahead—tell us! You can tell us anything!” then I’ll tell them and they’ll say, “That was too much.” See! I told them! But they wouldn’t listen. Some things that have happened within my family are so bizarre and screwed up that it’s hard to believe they’re true. But they are. And, for that reason, I am very hesitant about making a family of my own. Here is how parenthood frightens you when you have crazy parents.

Motherhood anxiety Mother and Daughter working at a Kitchen table

What if it skips a generation?

I turned out alright but, was that by my own doing (aka fighting desperately through therapy to not be messed up) or…does crazy just skip a generation in my family? If so, that would mean my kids would be next. I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone.

mother daughter time and daughter taking a break and a snack and interacting their wireless technology

Are all parents aloof?

I feel that my parents are pretty out of touch with who I am and what my life is like, but they think they are in touch. That’s a pretty big disconnect. Is that common? If I had children, would I be completely oblivious to the fact that I didn’t know them at all?

childcare choices talking to her nanny

What if I’m self-involved?

We all know those parents who live for their kids—who are very involved in their children’s lives and revolve their schedule around being present for their children. My parents, well, were not those parents. Let’s just say we had a very active nanny, and my parents had very active travel and country club schedules. But I know that they thought they were very present. Would I fall subject to the same delusion?

Motherhood anxiety black family having fun in the morning while playing on the bed.

My romantic relationship better be strong

The reality is that, my parents’ romantic relationship was not on solid ground when they started making kids—that’s why so much of their attention had to go to just trying to keep that alive, rather than to focusing on their kids. So my relationship with my partner needs to be in very good shape before we have kids. Of course, if you’re someone smart enough to be critical of your life and relationship, you’ll probably never think it’s good enough.

Motherhood anxiety woman looking at her daughter using tablet on a picnic

Will they hide stuff from me?

I hid so much from my parents. So much. And it was so easy due to the self-involvement mentioned before. If my children hid from me the things I hid from my parents, I’d be mortified. But how would I know? If I was able to hide stuff, my kids might be able to, too.

talk therapy African American woman gestures while talking with a female therapist. The patient has a concerned expression on her face.

Will they talk to their therapist about me?

Will my kids talk to their therapist about me? Will they go to a therapist because of me? I went to therapy over my parents, so…

discipline a child with kids

Will they like other parents better?

I may or may not have known a few other sets of parents who I wish my parents were more like. They just had such open, loving, and involved relationships with their kids. The family just…clicked.

Motherhood anxiety view of a mixed race African-American and Hispanic father and his teenage 13 year old son. They are sitting outdoors on a park bench with a view of a city waterfront. The man is giving the teenage boy some fatherly advice.

And go to others for guidance?

I also may or may not have had some people I called my “second parents”—these were just adults whose opinions I respected and wisdom I trusted. But if I had kids, I’d hope they didn’t feel the need for second parents.

Motherhood anxiety People

Will they blog about me?

My family provided a lot of fodder for some of my blogs back in the day, and my short stories in my creative writing classes. I would not want to be the subject of my kid’s creative literature.

Motherhood anxiety holding hands

Will they rebel with whom they date?

I acted out for a while by dating people who I felt represented the complete opposite of my parents, or the life I had with them. I would hope my kids would just have the freedom to date who they really liked or loved, and not people they felt were just an act of rebellion.

Motherhood anxiety race woman packing suitcase in bed

Will they move far away?

I moved very far away from my family at one point. I eventually moved closer but I would not move back to their town. That’s a hard no for me. But I’d be so sad if my kids felt that way about me.

childcare choices

Mother and daughter baking in kitchen

Will they respect my opinion?

Will my children respect my opinion? Or will they judge my life choices, and think that I’m the last person from whom they should take advice?

Motherhood anxiety daughter family

Will they want to be parents?

Seeing as my parents made me not want to have kids, would I make my kids sour on the idea, too?

Motherhood anxiety elderly Woman and young girl embracing outdoors

And want the grandparents around?

If I have children, and they have children, I want to be involved in my grandkid’s lives! But what if my kids don’t want me influencing their children’s development?

Motherhood anxiety and daughter

Will they open up to me?

Will my children consider me a friend? Will I be the one they call after heartbreak? Or when they need a pep talk about their career? Because, truthfully, my parents are not who I call for that.

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