I experienced a genuine moment the other day when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the responsibility of parenthood. I spent the morning at the park with my daughter who has a newfound appreciation for mischief, climbing on everything and anything, putting sand in her mouth, turning on the playground water faucets, and so forth. Basically, she’s a 16-month-old TODDLER who is loving and exploring life. This is all wonderful, except that a part of me wants to keep her locked inside our apartment forever where she can’t get hurt.
While I was at the playground a young boy was throwing water balloons and breaking them inside the sand box. Totally harmless, except that no one was picking up the broken balloon pieces, one of the most deadly chocking hazards. My mom instinct just couldn’t let this go, so I politely asked his babysitter to pick up the broken pieces (I helped as well) and explained how dangerous they were to small children, like my daughter. She was so pleasant and even though I told her I had no authority to tell her what to do, I just felt like picking up the pieces would benefit everyone.
I’m not sure if I was experiencing one of those mothering days or what, but I left the park feeling overwhelmed and frustrated after realizing how close she or any other child could have come to swallowing a piece of balloon. In all reality, I knew it wasn’t just the balloons that had me feeling stressed, it was simply the weight and responsibility of parenting. What if I hadn’t noticed the broken balloons? I know it’s not worth dwelling on the what-if, but the whole experience made me realize that I truly can’t take my eyes off her, at least not until she’s a little older.
It’s true that parenting comes with a great deal of responsibility and sometimes it’s daunting to realize before having a baby, I couldn’t even keep a plant alive, but thankfully these moments are fleeting. I am thankful for the moments when I am unsure, overwhelmed, or stressed because it usually means I’m reflecting, learning and growing. I can’t stay complacent as a parent with a young child, there are simply to many broken balloons in this world to look out for.
Do you have days where you feel a bit overwhelmed about the responsibility of parenting?