Thank heavens Paula Spencer of Chapel Hill, NC wrote Newsweek and thank heavens Newsweek published what she wrote in their "My Turn" weekly column. (Not mentioned in the Newsweek article is that Paula is an "Author * Magazine Writer * Columnist * Family/Health Specialist * Editor * Mom - And not in that particular order." She also has a blog: "Momfidence".)
The title of Paula's article is "We Protect Kids from Everything but Fear." She makes a great case for parents to just chill out. She says:
But you can't go around afraid of everything. It's too exhausting! No matter how careful you are, bad stuff happens (diaper rash, stitches, all your friends assigned to another class). And it's seldom the end of the world.
I've got to tell you a secret - I'm one of the nervous moms she talks about and I never thought I would be! I'm not as nervous as some (it would never occur to me to put our girls in long-sleeve bathing suits and I don't bother about skinned knees and believe that children have a constitutional right to ice-cream and chocolate chip cookies). I am, however, certainly more nervous than, say, my mother was. I worry about what schools to send our girls to, their making friends, about them falling off the top of their play set and breaking their neck, even what to bring for show-and-tell for gosh sake - and I'm beyond tired. I have to keep reminding myself that I made it through childhood just fine even though it wasn't perfect - and they will too.
Thanks Paula for reminding me and all moms to calm down, chill out, and enjoy our kids. There will be struggles and disappointments but those are the things that teach lessons. There will also be times of great joy and fun.
As an aside: Here's Paula's take on the "My Turn" column. Visit her blog, Momfidence, which she describes as "Momfidence! is about worrying less, winging it more. Parenting by the seat of your commonsense mid-rise mom jeans."
Newsweek My Turn: Who is Paula Spencer?"We Protect Kids From Everything But Fear" is the title of my 'My Turn' essay in the current issue of Newsweek.
On the down side, I'm pretty disappointed that there is no mention of "Momfidence" --either the book, column, or the blog--in the bio. Aside from losing out on a chance to make a wider link to those things (since the My Turn piece, as you can tell from the title, is right up my usual alley), not mentioning either Momfidence or the fact that I'm a journalist in the bio is a slightly disingenuous. It just says "Spencer lives in Chapel Hill, NC" which makes me sound like your basic ranting mommy. Which would be fine, except I am also the author of "Momfidence" and a half-dozen other parenting books, a columnist for Woman's Day and a contributing editor at Parenting and Babytalk--in other words, this is my profession as well as my opinion.
On the plus side, Page and Margaret are mighty cute in the foto running with the essay. We had a great time being photographed that afternoon by Patrick Davison, who teaches at UNC and also happens to be a Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer!