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What parts of parenting push your comfort zone, and how far?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

My kids are homeschooling, and dd1's "thing" is spiders, especially tarantulas. I'm fairly seriously arachnaphobic. I've reached a point where I can handle the really tiny spiders that turn up around the house sometimes, and I can have a spider (garden spider size) in the same room as me without freaking out, as long as I know exactly where it is, or see it vanish under something. But, even being in the same room as a tarantula - even if in a fully enclosed glass case - makes me wiggy.


So, we had a guy come to our homelearning meetup recently with part of his collection of small animals. He has reptiles, amphibians, mammals, insects, arachnids, birds, and a couple that fit none of those categories (eg. a hermit crab). The kids each got to request an animal that the particularly wanted to see. DD1 requested a goliath bird-eating tarantula, or, if it wasn't available (it was listed as "sometimes" available), then she wanted a Mexican red-legged tarantula. He brought the latter.

 

So, dd1 got to pet it and look at it up close, and let it crawl on her shirt. I got in pretty close so that I could get a good picture, because I knew this was just huge for her. She's seen tarantulas in cases several times, and touched some molts, but this was her first chance to actually touch a living one.

 

I kept it cool - dd1 knows I'm freaked out by tarantulas, but I try not to let it interfere with her life, but I was pretty freaked out by being that close to an actual tarantula. If I didn't have kids, it wouldn't have happened in a million, billion years!

 

It got me thinking about how often I have to push outside my comfort zone for my kids - from getting up in front of groups for parent/tot activities, to just general social interactions, to volunteering with our homelearning co-op, to actually sitting and reading to a group of Cub Scouts at one of ds1's meetings, to seeing doctors when the kids need one, even though I hate being there, etc. I know that not everyone has my social phobias, so a lot of things that I find really tough wouldn't be as hard for some others (and probably even harder for yet another group!). But, everyone has a comfort zone, and I'm sure every parent has to push outside it sometimes.


What do you all do that pushes your comfort zones?

post #2 of 37

First off, let me commend you on keeping your cool around the tarantula. I would have run out of there screaming. I don't do spiders! In fact, when I came running out of the bathroom after taking a pregnancy and finding out I was pregnant with DS, DH looked at me and said "What's wrong? Is it a spider?" lol.gif

 

This is an interesting topic though, I don't think I've actually thought about it before. I would say probably the biggest thing that pushes me out of my comfort zone is DS's desire to do anything that gets him dirty. He loves playing in the dirt or mud outside, shoveling the gravel, etc. I have become a total germaphobe as an adult and I can feel myself getting anxious whenever he starts exploring outside. I know this is something I need to work on being more laid back about. I want him to love playing outdoors and helping with the garden. It's just dirt, right?

post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrugalGranolaMom View Post

First off, let me commend you on keeping your cool around the tarantula. I would have run out of there screaming. I don't do spiders! In fact, when I came running out of the bathroom after taking a pregnancy and finding out I was pregnant with DS, DH looked at me and said "What's wrong? Is it a spider?" lol.gif


That's hilarious!

 

I'm amazed I made it through the whole thing - he also had a large scorpion. But, I've had a certain amount of desensitization, because spiders have been dd1's "thing" since before kindergarten (she's in 3rd grade now). I've looked at more horrible, terrifying pictures of spiders, and calmly (somehow) read my way through more graphic descriptions of how they eat and mate and everything else than I can count. Blech.

 

This is an interesting topic though, I don't think I've actually thought about it before. I would say probably the biggest thing that pushes me out of my comfort zone is DS's desire to do anything that gets him dirty. He loves playing in the dirt or mud outside, shoveling the gravel, etc. I have become a total germaphobe as an adult and I can feel myself getting anxious whenever he starts exploring outside. I know this is something I need to work on being more laid back about. I want him to love playing outdoors and helping with the garden. It's just dirt, right?

 

Oh - that's an interesting one. I don't like the cleanup, but dirt doesn't really bother me, in a germaphobe sense. I'll bet that would be tough to deal with, because they really do love getting outside and getting dirty!
 

 

post #4 of 37

Yeah, it's definitely something I am working on. I don't want to push my anxiety onto DS. It's funny because I don't really remember when it started to develop. When I was a kid I was always playing in the dirt, climbing trees, riding my bike anywhere it would take me...there was a lot of dirt in my childhood, lol. However, my dad is a total neat freak, very OCD when it comes to cleanliness and organization. I have seen myself start to exhibit those same behaviors in certain areas of my life and sometimes wonder if it is just conditioning from my childhood or part of my genetic makeup.

post #5 of 37

DD is into spiders, too. Once she came up to me holding her hand up and excitedly saying "Look Mommy, Look!" I turned around to her hand right in my face with a spider dangling from a web on her finger. In our last house, we had a house spider above a window in the living room. She named her Charlotte and insisted that I could get rid of all the other spiders, but Charlotte had to stay. She was devouring the hornets that kept coming into the house, so I called a truce. Then she made babies, and one day while I was on the computer, hundreds of creepy, mini Charlottes came floating down around my head and I had a little freakout. Floating babies kind of violated the truce. DD begged, and I let her stay. Then Charlotte reproduced again, and that was too much for me, so I finally told her I was having Charlotte evicted. I tried to work around DD's eight legged friend, but the continuous supply of baby creepy crawlies Charlotte provided was more than I could handle. Now she wants a spider in a jar, which may happen, but I'm kind of afraid of her getting it out to play with it. I'll likely end up agreeing to it, but we'll see.

 

post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooraloora View Post

DD is into spiders, too. Once she came up to me holding her hand up and excitedly saying "Look Mommy, Look!" I turned around to her hand right in my face with a spider dangling from a web on her finger. In our last house, we had a house spider above a window in the living room. She named her Charlotte and insisted that I could get rid of all the other spiders, but Charlotte had to stay. She was devouring the hornets that kept coming into the house, so I called a truce. Then she made babies, and one day while I was on the computer, hundreds of creepy, mini Charlottes came floating down around my head and I had a little freakout. Floating babies kind of violated the truce. DD begged, and I let her stay. Then Charlotte reproduced again, and that was too much for me, so I finally told her I was having Charlotte evicted. I tried to work around DD's eight legged friend, but the continuous supply of baby creepy crawlies Charlotte provided was more than I could handle. Now she wants a spider in a jar, which may happen, but I'm kind of afraid of her getting it out to play with it. I'll likely end up agreeing to it, but we'll see.

 


OMG! OMG! OMG! I reeeeeaaaalllly hope DS doesn't get into spiders!

 

post #7 of 37

Storm Bride - I share several of your social-type phobias, so really dislike going to the doctor or planning gatherings for the kids and talking on the phone  (though I also try and do it for them, they'd probably like that more often. . . not the doctor, though).

 

Dh conquered a longtime fear of geese, however.  Even as an adult when we met he was pretty freaked out by them (he was 'attacked' by a goose as a kid, so it makes sense).

post #8 of 37

I am working on conquering my phobia of talking to other moms.  :)  Funny thing is that I'm really very comfortable in large groups where I know some people.  But my DH, who is ridden with social anxiety, has shown me up several times lately when we've been in gatherings of parents from DD's preschool class, and I'm realizing that I do tend to stand to the side and just observe.  DD wants playdates with other kids, so I've been pushing myself to talk to different parents.  

 

DH and I are younger than most parents in our area (we're not particularly young parents, just younger), and we're at least two steps down in terms of our financial situation, so that adds to my trepidation about talking to these other older, much more elaborately dressed women.  Like I said, I'm working on it.  Slowly.

post #9 of 37

I hate hate hate bugs with a passion, especially when they land on me or come near me, but I brought my dd to the butterfly exhibit at our zoo every year until they stopped having it last year.  I even managed to talk up the butterflies when she wasn't quite sure about them the first time and to not to freak out visibly when they landed on me.  I also bring my dd to all sorts of gatherings even though I would rather not be around other people even a fourth as much as she thrives on it.  I tend to be shy and happy to be left alone after working all week with people, but I push myself to fake an outgoing personality so she can have a fun time.

post #10 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrugalGranolaMom View Post

Yeah, it's definitely something I am working on. I don't want to push my anxiety onto DS. It's funny because I don't really remember when it started to develop. When I was a kid I was always playing in the dirt, climbing trees, riding my bike anywhere it would take me...there was a lot of dirt in my childhood, lol. However, my dad is a total neat freak, very OCD when it comes to cleanliness and organization. I have seen myself start to exhibit those same behaviors in certain areas of my life and sometimes wonder if it is just conditioning from my childhood or part of my genetic makeup.



That's really interesting...and I was actually kind of the same way about spiders. I wasn't ever as into them as dd1 is (she wants to be a professional arachnologist when she grows up), but I thought they were really cool, and I can remember taking garden spiders out of their webs and letting them spin webs between my fingers. Sometime in my early teens, I did a complete 180 and started completely freaking out whenever they got anywhere near me!

 

I think it's awesome that you're working on that. I think it would be really easy to give in to that one, as clean kids are very socially accepted, yk? But, I do think muckingin the dirt is one of  the great joys of childhood. It sounds as though your ds will get to enjoy it...possibly not as much as he'd like, but probably more than you'd like! :)

post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooraloora View Post

DD is into spiders, too. Once she came up to me holding her hand up and excitedly saying "Look Mommy, Look!" I turned around to her hand right in my face with a spider dangling from a web on her finger. In our last house, we had a house spider above a window in the living room. She named her Charlotte and insisted that I could get rid of all the other spiders, but Charlotte had to stay. She was devouring the hornets that kept coming into the house, so I called a truce. Then she made babies, and one day while I was on the computer, hundreds of creepy, mini Charlottes came floating down around my head and I had a little freakout. Floating babies kind of violated the truce. DD begged, and I let her stay. Then Charlotte reproduced again, and that was too much for me, so I finally told her I was having Charlotte evicted. I tried to work around DD's eight legged friend, but the continuous supply of baby creepy crawlies Charlotte provided was more than I could handle. Now she wants a spider in a jar, which may happen, but I'm kind of afraid of her getting it out to play with it. I'll likely end up agreeing to it, but we'll see.

 



Gah! Baby paratroopers! I'd die. We had a "paratrooper" spider or two in the house a year or two ago. I was making my coffee one morning, and turned around from the stove with the kettle in my hand, took a step and missed walking face first into a spider by about half an inch. It was hanging directly in front of my eyes!! Agh!! So, dd1 took it outside (it was a garden spider - no idea why it was in the house) and I spent half the morning trying to calm back down. The next morning, I went to put pn a CD, and another one dropped down - right at eye level - in front of the CD player. I was actually afraid to walk in my own house for about a week. :o

 

You did great, mama. I've let the kids have a spider in the corner of a window...but I don't think I'd have made it through the first round of babies...

post #12 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyMama View Post

I am working on conquering my phobia of talking to other moms.  :)  Funny thing is that I'm really very comfortable in large groups where I know some people.  But my DH, who is ridden with social anxiety, has shown me up several times lately when we've been in gatherings of parents from DD's preschool class, and I'm realizing that I do tend to stand to the side and just observe.  DD wants playdates with other kids, so I've been pushing myself to talk to different parents.  

 

That part is hard. We've got the homeschooling co-op, and that's pretty good, because I know most of the other moms now. But, when we do random meetups or activities, it's really, really awkward. I feel as though I should be getting better at it, but I don't think I am.

 

DH and I are younger than most parents in our area (we're not particularly young parents, just younger), and we're at least two steps down in terms of our financial situation, so that adds to my trepidation about talking to these other older, much more elaborately dressed women.  Like I said, I'm working on it.  Slowly.



This has actually been a problem for dh. He's 7+ years younger than me, and I was only 24 when I had ds1. So, once you figure in that several of ds1's friend's parents were a bit older than me when they started having kids, and that many of his friends are the younger siblings, you can imagine the age gap between their parents and dh. At ds1's grad banquet, dh was the youngest parent at the table. He was 35. I was 43 (just). The next youngest (I think) at the table was 49, and I believe the other parents were all in their early 50s. Their last kids were graduating, and dh and I had a two year old at home. It was...weird. I didn't feel as though I fit in, but I think dh felt really out of place.

post #13 of 37

If DD ever gets "into" cockroaches, praying mantises or stick insects, she's on her own. And if she tries to bring one to show me I will sell her to a travelling circus. Personal development can go hang.

 

My two major phobias are whales and stuffed animals (taxidermy, not plush), and so far DD hasn't evinced a particular interest in either. She does have a "Great Big Book of Knowledge" with an orca on the cover, and went through a brief phase of bringing it up to me and saying "This is a WHALE. Do you like whales?"... I hid it. We haven't been to any museums, but at the age of three I doubt it's blighted her life. If we ever get over to the USA for our Los Angeles/San Diego holiday, DH can take her to Sea World while I skulk at a mall or something.

 

So yeah, I'm not so much a "face your fears" person as a "run gibbering from them" one. Parenting has made me face three fears: pregnancy, childbirth and driving. My current feelings on those are, respectively, a sulky "I'll do it once more, but don't expect me to like it", cautious optimism, and a dull, mostly manageable sense of dread. For me, that's pretty chipper.

 

 

post #14 of 37

Not as dramatic as the spiders and creepy crawlies, but . .. . crafty stuff!  I'm seriously non-creative (well ... I'm creative in how I think about stuff for my work, how I approach problems, etc., but not with my hands) and DS is *super* creative. He loves to draw, paint, work with clay, build stuff, carve, and knit. In fact, for various reasons, including his love of working with his hands, he moved to a Waldorf school last year. The problem with the Waldorf school is that they expect parents to particpate in a lot of the projects and want us to make stuff for him. Thankfully, my best friend is super creative and I just off load making the hand puppet, pencil case, cover for the notebook, etc. to her! wink1.gif

 

He so wants me to help him with his projects and participate with him and it's a challenge for me. I'm objectively not good at any of it and don't really enjoy it. I've more or less ok with that now, as is he. We both think it's kind of cool that he does things neither DH nor I do, and that he's much better at, even at age 8, than we are. He does drawing and clay lessons and we make sure he's got lots of supplies at home.

post #15 of 37
Eeek I'm not arachnaphobic but I am very much NOT into spiders!!! Sounds like you handled yourself really well smile.gif

There aren't too many things outside my comfort zone yet (DS is only 2) but I have social anxiety too so I know it may get worse!! Things that are tough for me now:

-Singing to DS & his friends. My mom always made a big deal about how none of us kids could sing and as a result I hate singing around others (turned down a choir solo, etc.) -- dancing is hard too but singing is the worst.

-Like a PP, letting DS roll in the mud... I let him, of course, but inside I am squirming! Ewwww!!!
Edited by crunchy_mommy - 11/7/11 at 2:54pm
post #16 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

If DD ever gets "into" cockroaches, praying mantises or stick insects, she's on her own. And if she tries to bring one to show me I will sell her to a travelling circus. Personal development can go hang.

 

My two major phobias are whales and stuffed animals (taxidermy, not plush), and so far DD hasn't evinced a particular interest in either. She does have a "Great Big Book of Knowledge" with an orca on the cover, and went through a brief phase of bringing it up to me and saying "This is a WHALE. Do you like whales?"... I hid it. We haven't been to any museums, but at the age of three I doubt it's blighted her life. If we ever get over to the USA for our Los Angeles/San Diego holiday, DH can take her to Sea World while I skulk at a mall or something.

 

So yeah, I'm not so much a "face your fears" person as a "run gibbering from them" one. Parenting has made me face three fears: pregnancy, childbirth and driving. My current feelings on those are, respectively, a sulky "I'll do it once more, but don't expect me to like it", cautious optimism, and a dull, mostly manageable sense of dread. For me, that's pretty chipper.

 

 



Wow - can't believe I didn't even think about driving. Parenting didn't make me face that one, exactly. I managed with my feet and transit until ds1 was 12! But, with ds2 on the way, and ds1's activities increasing, and dd1 being a toddler, it was time to drive. I've had my license for about 6.5 years...and I still don't like it! But, it does help the family a lot, since dh can't drive. WIthout my license, we couldn't take road trips, and I'd have to be insanely organized about the activities I put the kids in, to make sure we could get to and from all of them. We'd also probably never have met the families we do the homelearning co-op with...

 

But, yeah - driving is scary.

 

I think I tend to be more of a "run gibbering from them" person, too. But, I also find life really scary on multiple fronts, and if I ran gibbering from all my fears, I'd spend my entire life on the couch, watching bad tv. :o

post #17 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DariusMom View Post

Not as dramatic as the spiders and creepy crawlies, but . .. . crafty stuff!  I'm seriously non-creative (well ... I'm creative in how I think about stuff for my work, how I approach problems, etc., but not with my hands) and DS is *super* creative. He loves to draw, paint, work with clay, build stuff, carve, and knit. In fact, for various reasons, including his love of working with his hands, he moved to a Waldorf school last year. The problem with the Waldorf school is that they expect parents to particpate in a lot of the projects and want us to make stuff for him. Thankfully, my best friend is super creative and I just off load making the hand puppet, pencil case, cover for the notebook, etc. to her! wink1.gif

 

He so wants me to help him with his projects and participate with him and it's a challenge for me. I'm objectively not good at any of it and don't really enjoy it. I've more or less ok with that now, as is he. We both think it's kind of cool that he does things neither DH nor I do, and that he's much better at, even at age 8, than we are. He does drawing and clay lessons and we make sure he's got lots of supplies at home.



That's awesome. I'm not very good at crafts, either...mostly because I've never done many. I do kind of enjoy them, but I have to put my inner perfectionist on a tight leash when the kids are working on something, because I have a lot of trouble remembering that they're a lot younger than me, and have different aesthetic standards, and are working towards a final product that isn't what I'd be working towards, yk?

post #18 of 37

The main thing that's come up for me thus far is trying not to project my own social anxiety onto my daughter. I am fine as an adult, but as a child, I was kind of a weird kid who had trouble with peers. I always had a handful of close friends my age, but they tended to be other misfits like myself. I preferred the company of adults and found social situations with lots of other kids really challenging. For some reason I worry about this more because she's a girl. Perhaps those junior high peer interactions just scarred me for life!

 

It was funny, when DD was a newborn, both my partner & I had rounds of new parent anxiety. DP's top fears were that DD would stop breathing or be abducted by a stranger. My top fear was that our house was so messy that she'd never be able to invite friends over, and therefore she would be a social outcast. I look back on that now and think, WTH, she was 3 weeks old, why was I worrying about her social life?! But at the time, it seemed like a really legit concern to me. BTW, our house is still pretty messy, but it's slowly getting better, at least to the point where I wouldn't be too embarrassed to have her invite a friend over.

post #19 of 37

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyMama View Post

I am working on conquering my phobia of talking to other moms.  :)  Funny thing is that I'm really very comfortable in large groups where I know some people.  But my DH, who is ridden with social anxiety, has shown me up several times lately when we've been in gatherings of parents from DD's preschool class, and I'm realizing that I do tend to stand to the side and just observe.  DD wants playdates with other kids, so I've been pushing myself to talk to different parents.  

 

DH and I are younger than most parents in our area (we're not particularly young parents, just younger), and we're at least two steps down in terms of our financial situation, so that adds to my trepidation about talking to these other older, much more elaborately dressed women.  Like I said, I'm working on it.  Slowly.


Oh, me too. My son is almost two months old and I have yet to go to a single story hour, mommy group, or the park... Sigh. 

 

post #20 of 37

I'm right there with the social anxiety.  I avoid interacting with other moms at the park, but even worse (and much harder to avoid) is having to interact with all the other kids.  I love MY kid, but am definitely not a "kid person." I have a lot of other weird phobia-type things, too - stupid things, like detached hair, or pen/marker marks on skin.  DD at 19 months already says "Yucky!" and makes a grossed out face whenever she finds a hair.  Whoops.  So much for not pushing my issues onto my child...

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