Raising Girls part 4 or Things I’m Afraid to Tell you

May 3, 2012 |  Category:   favorite posts life me parenting rambling

This post is part of an effort organized by Ez from Creature Comforts encouraging bloggers to open up today and write something about themselves that they might not normally share with their readers (head over to her site to see a list of participating blogs). It probably won’t come as any surprise that I wholeheartedly support more of this openness and it harks back to that post earlier this week about shutting out some of this internet chatter because it’s become so unrealistic to measure ourselves against everything and everyone out there. I remember talking once with a very talented designer whose work I really admired. You know, the kind of person who seemed like creative ideas just came easily and quickly to her, only to discover when she confided in me that she was really insecure and had debilitating anxiety before design projects. Man, I could totally relate to that. But I think back to that conversation often because it reminds me that there’s always more to any carefully crafted veneer than we think we might see.

So the thing that I want to share with you today is that sometimes I have doubts about whether or not I’m being a good mom. It’s not that I think I’m a bad mom by any means, but as the girls get older and their needs get more complex, I worry that I’m not capable of handling any sort of emotional crises, should they arise. I feel like I knew how to take care of babies; their needs were a little more basic, but with girls who will soon be entering into adolescence, then preteen, then teenage years and beyond, the responsibility of raising them to be confident little ladies while acting as their centered, supportive anchor seems overwhelming right now. Sometimes I feel like it’s just an illusion to think that I can raise them right when I battle all kinds of demons like insecurity and bouts of depression myself. To dispense any sort of advice on potential problems with their peers, with school, with relationships, or with their self esteem seems incongruous when I am still trying to figure all of this out myself. I know that we don’t have to have all the answers, that it’s impossible to have all the answers. I know that as a family unit we need to figure things out as life plays along. I just don’t want to look back and feel like I failed as a parent or to feel like I’m living some sort of contradiction where I can’t follow any of the advice myself that sometimes comes out of my mouth.

This never felt more true than last week when an issue arose with one of the girls. I felt like I was in over my head, that it wasn’t something I had any answers for. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough and that I hadn’t paid enough attention. In the end I think things will be ok, but I did find myself in a little panic wondering how I’d be able to handle anything big. It made me think back to when I was a kid and how my mother might have felt when she was faced with certain issues that were going on with me, all the while battling her own demons and life problems. As a kid, I wasn’t really aware of what was going on with her until much later because she was always just “mom” and not necessarily a “person”, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the duality of some of these shared childhood experiences, but from a mother’s point of view now that I’m on the other side. How would I emotionally handle, for example, if it was my daughter who was diagnosed with scoliosis and had to wear an uncomfortable, ugly plastic brace for all of her teenage years and deal with doctor appointments all the way in the Bronx to get x-rayed every month for 5+ years? I know how I felt going through that as a kid. I was angry and insecure and anxiety ridden, but I never really thought about how hard that must have been on my mother as well, and I am deathly afraid that since it is hereditary I will need to relive this all over again from the other side. My mom later told me that she cried a lot during those years, but at the time I never knew. In my eyes, she was just being my mom.

I’ve been thinking too about my short-lived, but very intense bout with an eating disorder I had when I was 18. I think for me it was a rather atypical case of anorexia as it had less to do with body dysmorphic disorder and everything to do with feeling like I was in control of something when life seemed out of control the summer I graduated from high school. From an outsider it may have seemed that I had everything going for me at that point in my life and I had attained pretty much every goal that I had set as a high school senior. But when school ended and I was faced with the daunting prospect of starting over at a new prestigious art school, I was lost and scared and all of those achievements felt empty when there were still issues I hadn’t dealt with. I was scared of failure before I even started. I needed something new to focus on. Unfortunately it channeled itself into a very unhealthy manifestation, but the challenge of seeing how far I could go without anyone noticing became far too tempting to stop. But of course my mom did eventually notice. I think back now to how desperate she must have felt, how alone and scared and in over her head. How could you not think that you failed as a parent on some level when you first realize that your kid is starving herself? I don’t think you can. My mom thinks that it was God who saved me, from all her prayers, but I don’t really believe that. It was the moment when she handed me the phone to talk to a doctor, who told me that I was at a dangerous weight (I had dropped to 89 pounds at that point. I am 5’6″ for reference) and that if I didn’t start eating I would have to be committed. It was again that threat of losing control that scared me back into eating and realizing for the first time the severity of what I was doing and that I was not only ruining my life, but also my mother’s. I gained back the 20 pounds that I lost that summer in 3 weeks.

I may experience moments of desperation like these with my daughters – or I may not. It remains to be seen. Sometimes I feel like my life with them has really just started, that we have a long road ahead that doesn’t just stop when they move out of the house. Although some days I may not feel it, I have to trust that I’ll know what to do when the time comes. I also hope that I have the courage like my mother to let go of my kids like she did when I left home freshman year. She hated those years I traveled around the country in a car and hung out with what she probably thought was the “wrong crowd” and was out of touch for months not knowing where or what I was doing. But she didn’t stop me, and while it was exasperating during those years when I thought she just “doesn’t understand”, I hope she understands now that those were the years that really did save me.

I’m thinking about all of this now, particularly that really hard summer because it has so much to do with preserving and keeping up that perfect veneer. I couldn’t sustain that in high school. I tried and I cracked, so I certainly make no attempts to depict any sort of perfect life now. While sharing your life so openly is not comfortable for everyone, I applaud all the bloggers who are participating in Things I’m Afraid To Tell You today. I think we could use a little more realness. Let me end by saying one more thing I’m afraid to tell you. It isn’t easy pressing that publish button on posts like these. I wouldn’t publish something that I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing by any means, but it still isn’t easy. As much as I don’t want to admit it to myself, I still care what other people think. Probably more than I should.

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  • sarah May 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Ahhh, Jenna… I’m sure there is something in my brain that would allow me to compose a well thought out & articulate comment to this post. But honestly I just want to tell you that I think you’re awesome. I love your blog and it brightens my day every single time you post.
    That’s all.
    Oh, and thanks for always sharing. 🙂

  • Julia May 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you Jenna

  • unha engels May 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    xoxoxo

  • Carol May 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    As the mother of a 19 and 22 year old, I’ve been through those years (and am still going through them – do they ever really end?). Raising kids IS really hard, and I think my kids have a harder time dealing with life than I did, growing up in the relatively innocent 70s.
    I’m sure it won’t be necessary, but if one of your girls does ever have to deal with scoliosis, there is a brace developed at the University of Montreal that most people aren’t aware of. Here is a link to one story:
    http://www.macleans.ca/science/health/article.jsp?content=20080123_55198_55198
    Thanks for your candor. I think one of the best things about the internet is finding out you are never alone in having these doubts!

  • Jess May 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    i adore your insights, as always thank you for sharing!

  • Pati May 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Great post Jenna!
    You seem like a wonderful Mom. I have two mostly grown children, and yes it does get harder. The answers are hard to find sometimes…but things always seem to work out.

  • estelle May 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Oh this is so beautiful and you are brave to share all the bits of your experience. Thank you. I am so daunted by the idea of raising my daughter. She’s only 4 and I lay awake some nights thinking about her teenage years and the time when she will start to pull away from me and I get sad and scared and I wonder if I won’t like her as much as I do now. That makes me really scared and sort of ashamed that I would even imagine that, but I can’t help it. Thank you for being so honest with this post.

  • Shilo May 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Oh my gosh Jenna, this is just gutting in it’s honesty. Bravo lady, bravo.

    xoxox

  • Beth May 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    And I’ve heard people say, “it gets easier” – ha! I like where you said, “I think we could use a little more realness”. With toddler twin girls, I sometimes feel like I’m suppose to have it all together with the normal every day happenings. On the outside it may look like things are under control, but on the inside I feel my self getting smaller as I’m stretched in every possible way. I feel ridiculous when I complain bc I wouldn’t want my life any other way, but I have to vent and let off steam. These days I’m trying to remember to roll with the punches, which is difficult when I’m hit in the face with books, poked, pinched and sucked by milk vampires! Your post (and blog) really means a lot to me as I get a glimpse in to the future with two girls. Thanks for being so open and honest.

  • Sora May 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks again, Jenna, for sharing something so honest and personal. I am very mindful now about my girls growing up. Though they are only 5 and 2, I know that the time will come when there will be no toys in the house, no bickering between sisters, no childish stuff. I know I will miss it (as much as I know some of it really is hard for me to deal with right now). And I know that as a mother to girls, it is hard not to feel that extra pressure to be a good role-model.

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag May 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I have a girl. I have ONE girl. And she is likely the ONLY girl I’m going to have. And I feel the same way — what if I screw this up? Am I screwing up already? All my eggs are in the one child basket, as it were. What if she hates me when she grows up? The other day she asked me, ‘Are you cranky today Mama?’ And I thought, she knows…she’s starting to figure it out…that I’m a wreck….and that makes me have to sit down and take a moment to panic and wheeze.

    Sometimes I wonder….will it ever go away? I used to be on anxiety meds and it really didn’t help all that much after the first month. Will I look back on my life and only see the panic and fear? I hope not.

  • ag May 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    i am going through this right now–my daughter, 13 was also diagnosed with scoliosis 3 years ago and had to wear a brace at some point, and now the possibility of spine fusion surgery is looming in the horizon. i remember the day that she was diagnosed, and felt devastated by it even more so than she did, i think. but i guess something kicks in–instinct maybe–that i knew not to show her how truly upset i was, or not to cry about it at least not in front of her (like your mom did,) and try to be strong and supportive of her no matter how heartbreaking it may be.

    i think the most painful thing that happened, which is around this time also, was when she departed from me. gone was the child who depended so much on me, and became or is fighting to be her independent self. this i wasn’t prepared for and it seemed to have happened overnight. there were lots of fights and yelling and screaming (also very new to me at the time)–but in the end i have to try to remember not to take it personally and that most kids will fight to be heard. we are better now, thankfully, but i still can’t help feel a pang of pain every time i realize that i am not the center of her universe anymore. thank goodness i have a 4-year old who makes up for it.

  • erin loechner May 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Oh, Jenna – this is such an honest and open post, and I feel so privileged to be able to read it. Truly. I’m expecting a daughter in July and have had so many swirling anxieties about what it will mean to raise her to have confidence in her own body, to feel good in her own skin. How can we possibly pull that off when we’re battling insecurities of our own?

    I trust we’ll put on our brave faces (and at times, our not so brave ones) and power through. At the very least, we’ll handle everything that comes our way with love, and that just might be the most important thing.

    You’re a wonderful mother, Jenna – I can see it in your images and hear it in your words. Keep up the awesome work. 🙂

  • Jenna May 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    @ag, I remember when you emailed me about your story last year. It actually was the first time it got me really thinking about how the whole experience must have been with my mother. Good luck with you and your daughter. Thanks for opening my eyes.

  • Jenna May 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    @Carol – thanks for that article. I wonder if it does the same thing as what my brace did, as that was more of a muscle retrainer, or so I thought. Recently at a doctor, we discussed watching my girls for spine curves. I asked if anything had changed with treatment as far as back braces go and she said that it really hadn’t. Kind of made my heart sink…

  • Nicole May 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    What I’ve always admired about you as a blogger is that you’re always honest and willing to share even the scary moments with the rest of us. As a reader, its incredibly refreshing to read about real life, and to actually see some of my own personal experiences being echoed in some way by the stories you share. I hope that one day I will learn to be as candid as you are in my work, and I hope you know that there are a lot of people out there / out here in the real world that admire you and the work that you do! Keep doing what you do Jenna… because it really is inspiring!

  • mau May 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Your worries are those of all the mums out there, I’m sure. I feel the same fear for my daughters, especially my 7 year old. It’s a tough world out there and no matter how open-minded we are as parents, the truth will always be that letting go of them is our worst nightmare. You’re an inspiration to all those who read your blog and your daughters are living proof of what a wonderful job you’re doing as their mum.

  • elizabeth antonia May 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    i worry about these things too. having babies is so easy compared to helping our children on their path through adolescence into adulthood. your girls have you and this in itself makes me know that they will turn out as loving, compassionate young women.

  • hannah singer May 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    jenna, proud of you for sharing your heart so openly here. i think that it’s good to realize that we may find ourselves in those deseprate times with our children. you seem grounded and prepared to LOVE strongly. that’s a gift. thanks for inspiring me today! xo

  • Melissa de la Fuente May 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Oh, Jenna….I so hear you. Raising girls, raising kids…if it matters to you as much as it does to me ( and clearly it does) the nagging doubts & worry are there. I think BECAUSE you care so much, is why you worry. I think the same things. Am I going to be able to do the best job I WANT to be able to do. Will I fuck it up or will I be their champion? Of course I want to be their champion but….who knows? I applaud your honesty and courage. Not just for this post but, for coming through all of it. No doubt, you will have to just TRUST. I tell myself this all the time too. And I believe, that most of the time, we WILL be their champions. Because we love them so.
    Thanks for sharing this hun, I know it wasn’t easy but, the truth is: I just admire you more for it.
    xo
    Melissa

  • Meghann @ Fuzzy.Little.Wishballs May 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I love reading your thoughts and insights. When I read and nod my head, it makes me feel like I’m not alone and, therefore, not completely lost in this world.
    Keep on sharing.

  • gia May 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks so much. I’m feeling over-emotional these days, and like I’m surrounded by people that aren’t… and can’t handle me. So thanks for sharing. I know I want to have more compassion for them and their situation. It’s like the thought of someone showing their love even if it isn’t they way you show love. xo

  • Tina May 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    You are very brave to post these words Jenna! And the internet would be a much more helpful place if we could all be more honest and a bit more human. As the mom of an 18 year old off to college in the fall I just want to tell you that it is exactly those moments when you reveal to them YOUR failings and shortcomings that make you a good parent. Kids don’t need to feel like they are failing all the time, trying to live up to an impossible ideal. They need real human parents who laugh, cry and make mistakes. You seem like a wonderful parent and you are just the mother your daughters need, believe it!

  • Denise in PA May 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Jenna, thanks for being so open and sharing this. I am a mom to a 23-year-old. I feel like this all the time. When she’s going through something tough, it just kills me. When they are little kids, you are in control. When they grow up, you aren’t in control any more – but you still feel responsible. Does it get better? I don’t know. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.

  • Meg May 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    This post was lovely. Thank you so much.

  • Bethley May 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    wonderful post, Jenna. I care what people think, too, and still hoping to grow out of it. I’m 33, mother to a 3 yr old girl. Your girls are lucky to have such a reflective mother.

  • Leslie May 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks so much for opening up and sharing. This whole post makes me feel relieved to know I’m not the only one. 😉

  • Theresa May 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    As always, thank you for sharing your very honest and raw emotions, concerns, and memories. Like you, I am raising a girl (plus, a boy) who reminds me of myself more and more each day. I jokingly tell my family that if my daughter gives me even half the heartache and pain I gave my mom, it will be proper payback. In truth, I’m bracing myself and scared to death.
    I appreciate that Creature Comforts started “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You.” It’s courageous and inspiring. I think your blog has always maintained this level of openness from the start.

  • crystal May 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    hi jenna,
    i’m a frequent reader of your blog but this is the first time i’m commenting. i’m not a mom but this post really touched me. your blog, among lifestyle blogs, is one of my favorites because you are often a rare honest voice about your struggles despite leading what seems like an amazing life. it’s truly an inspiration for the rest of us and a reminder that things aren’t easy for anyone, but we gotta keep going 🙂 also, you are simply an incredible writer. thank you.

  • oilandgarlic May 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing. You seem to be one of the most honest design/lifestyle bloggers out there. I read a few design websites but I always start thinking that the blogger owns all the lovely clothes/furniture/decor that they spotlight, and they may since they probably make money via sponsored posts, but anyway that’s a recipe for envy and discontent so I often have to read other types of blogs for perspective.

  • Heather M May 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Such a wonderful photo. For me, totally captures a certain stage in life. Bravo for this post. Your words are always so thoughtful and raise so many great questions, leaving the reader to think about his or her own answers. I really appreciate that.

  • Michelle May 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Jenna, I applaud your bravery and honesty. I have a daughter and a son, now both grown. It was much harder to raise my daughter — girls are just more complicated, often needing to strike out against their mothers and rebel. And as a woman, nothing stirs up all these feelings like raising a daughter — “What do I want to teach her? Who am I in her eyes? Am I enough for her? What the HELL is a woman anyway — how can I show her how to be one, be a woman who satisfies her own expectations of herself? How do I help her reconcile all of the things that she is expected to be with her own desires?”

    We are on the other side now — she is grown, and became a therapist, of all things. And we have had many conversations about the past and present, and I know we will have more. All I can say to you is just keep talking to them. Some times they will roll their eyes, and your feelings may get hurt, and you will wonder if you’re getting through. But please remember that it doesn’t hurt them to see you falter, get angry, or question. It helps them realize that things won’t always be perfect, but that with family and friends you can help find a way to the other side. Teach them to ask for help, and if they’re uncomfortable talking to you when they’re adolescents, let them know that it’s fine to talk to a beloved teacher, aunt, friend, or therapist. They will be watching you carefully, and much that is unsaid will be the most important lessons. Let them know that there are good times and bad, and how you handle them both will make you grow that much stronger.

    Don’t be afraid. We’re all in this together!

  • Amy May 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Jenna, I have always loved your blog posts. They have always felt so open and honest, even if you many not think so. I think you’re very brave to post about your fears and I think that being willing to talk about it is the first step to figuring things out. I don’t have kids, but I know what it was like to be raised by a mother who never actually showed me what she was thinking or feeling. I like to think that if she had been honest about her own fears, insecurities and doubts, that I would have learned that it was okay for things to not always work out the way you plan.

    I’m sure your girls and family love you just the way you are!

  • lete May 3, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    jenna, although we don’t have many things is common so many of your posts resonate with me. i, too have two girls. i came to the us more than a decade ago and as my girls are growing, i can’t help but think how hard it would be to navigate through unknown territory of cultural codes. my upbringing was so different. i don’t want my kids to feel bad, because their parents don’t act “normal”. raising girls is hard enough, raising them in a adopted -but nonetheless- different culture is harder. that’s why i love your mixed-race project, it’s so good to see the harmony those families have, despite the spikes. it gives me hope.

  • Annie May 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Thank you so much for your honesty in this post – in fact I like that you often post openly and honestly about what you’re thinking and feeling. With two 12 year old boys I too struggle with how I will cope/perform as a mother through the years ahead, far more so than I did when they were smaller. Perhaps like you it’s because I know I had a tough time at times, and I can see so much of me in them – so I wonder will they go through the same things. I do know I clashed with my mother so often through my teenage years (and beyond), and only now really, fully understand how she must have felt.

  • Mariela Ramos May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Lovely post, thank you for your honesty, big hug!.

  • jacqui May 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    i applaud this initiative for honesty in blog land and i appreciate your openness in this post.
    As a mother to a 10.5 yo girl and a 12 yo boy I have to say that absolutely nothing prepared me for the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, pure unadulterated worry that being a parent of growing children entails; I am/was such an innocent in the ways of this mothering-land!
    And, the most difficult thing is parenting when one feels so unfinished, so ill-equipped, so flawed oneself.
    ‘Just do your best’ is like a mantra in my head!
    Beautiful photo, as always.

  • Jackie May 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Jenna,

    I’m glad you published this post. I think that your girls are very happy from the pictures that I see of them on here; and the way that you talk about them says that you love them. As a child that has not turned into a mother (not yet anyway), all you can really do is love them. This post really makes me think of all my difficulties as a child and the one thing I wanted from my mother during that time was to love me and listen to me and let me cry. But now I’m also thinking of how scared and dismayed she must have felt and I couldn’t imagine! I think that you are a great mom, you love your girls, that’s obvious and I think that’s all you need. I say that because sometimes I think my mom worried too much and tried to fix things when I just needed her to be there to encourage me to fix things myself. I don’t know…But I’m glad to red your post, it gives me a new admiration for my mom.

  • Carolyn May 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Thank you for your honesty, openness and depth. Great post and remember we are all in the same oat though all the ups, downs and everything in between.

  • Lynn May 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    I actually thought that most cases of anorexia were related to control issues, not body image.

  • Jo May 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Your honesty is such courage, Jenna.

    My mother had an undiagnosed eating disorder when she was in her teens, right up to when I was growing up. It was probably anorexia, but in Asia in those days no one really sought help for these kind of things. Then right out of high school, I also developed a short but intense flirtation with an ED, and was saved by a person- my then boyfriend, now husband.

    I became a psychotherapist in part to fully understand and accept my history and my mother’s history. I treated many girls- preteen, late adolescence, women- with various EDs, and realized that a lot of their struggles with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, destructive relationships etc- came from neglectful/abusive/critical parenting; but through no fault of their mothers’, because I saw that their mothers were doing to best they can, with the little they had. So now I work mainly with women, with mothers, to help them become the parents they want to be.

    We are all human, and we will all fail. But I think the first step to changing that cycle of hurt in our families is looking within ourselves, like you continuously do on this blog. You already are a good mother.

  • M May 3, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Jenna, I completely understand your feelings. I’ve been through similar experiences myself. The need for control, my OCD, chronic anxiety and hypochondria, and my low self esteem is still affecting me to this day. I dealt with an OCD-eating disorder too,not Anorexia but namely Orthorexia, which was misdiagnosed as Anorexia because back then my condition wasn’t fully understood (it’s still not recognised as a mental illness by the American Psychological association to this day, unfortunately). It doesn’t relate to weight and body shape, it ties in with being in control, anxiety/fear and OCD about health. I’m happy to say that the eating disorder doesn’t affect me anymore, however I still struggle with OCD, anxiety and hypochondria.

    The chronic anxiety occurs on a daily basis and can be about the most general things in life that shouldn’t normally affect a person to such an extent. My parents said I was a difficult infant and a very anxious child, and that anxiety seems to have continued into my adulthood and caused me so many problems. It’s deeply rooted in my personality and very difficult to overcome, though I am doing as much as I can to get better.

    I will be raising two sons, and in a way I feel a little bit relieved that someone like me don’t have to raise a daughter. I don’t think I’m a good role model due to my issues, I don’t like the pressure of being someone ‘perfect’ for my daughter when I don’t have the self esteem to be, and I absolutely would not want her to become like me in any way, if I had a daughter. That said, it doesn’t mean everyone feels like this and won’t be good mothers/role models to their daughters. I only feel like this about myself. Also, I’m very tomboyish by nature and have always been able to connect better with males compared to females. So in a way, I’m glad I will be having boys to raise.

    However I do believe that you are already a good mother to your daughters, even if you may not feel that you are. Once you have daughters you adapt to the responsibility and needs of raising a daughter, and any initial fear may then disappear unnoticed. I think people like us who deal with hardship involving anxiety and control an be very harsh on ourselves, criticising everything we do. Perhaps we can’t see it but other people see how unfair we are to ourselves.
    After all, you are you, and that’s why people love and admire you – for the person you are. So does your husband and your daughters. You can’t really change fundamentals of your personality to become like someone else, become this ‘better mom’ figure, it will only happen to an extent but anything beyond that may not work in long term. Your daughters I’m sure appreciate you for the woman and mother you ARE. After all, no parent is ever perfect anyway. We all have our parenting mistakes. If you trust yourself and your ability to be the best mom that’s naturally in you, not someone else, I’m sure you will handle it just fine 🙂 .

    Take care!
    M.

  • Bec Nolan May 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing. This hit a soft spot with me – although I don’t have children (I do however have a lot of probably fear based reasons as to why not!), my mum had to deal with a lot in her life that would have been plenty bad without having to put on a “mum’s ok” front. Any post that lets us appreciate our mums a little more is a good post indeed!

  • Tina May 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I have a 9 year old daughter and I, too, struggle with the idea as to how to raise a self-confident girl when I am full of insecurities and anxieties. Thank you for your honesty and to let us all know that we are not alone.

  • Juju May 3, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I never thought of what my mother must have gone through as she watched me struggle through the various difficult moments in my life. Your story made me think of all the phone calls my mom made to check up on me when I left for college. As well as the care packages she sent me full of my favorite “healthy” food as I too dealt with a bout of eating disorder. Thank you for your story. And I can’t wait to see my mom on Mother’s Day and give her a big hug.

  • Diane May 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Your openness in this and other posts is why I come here nearly everyday. I think you found your answer in that one sentence: “I’ll have to trust that I know what to do when the time comes.” Having a raised an only daughter as a single parent, I had many, many thoughts and fears that you expressed, and she has become a beautiful, confident woman from the inside out. So yes, trust your instincts and you are, and will be, a wonderful mom – always!

  • Marichelle May 3, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Hi Jenna! First of all, I’m so glad I finally had the chance to meet you in person. Thank you so much for publishing this post – as a soon-to-be mother of two girls myself I’ve definitely been thinking a lot about my parenting abilities. It’s a relief to know that we’re all sorta in the same boat. I love my Mother to pieces but the cultural and generation gap (my mother had me when she was 43 and we moved to the US when she was 50) definitely did a number on me. One of my biggest fears is that somehow no matter how hard I try to do things differently, a part of my upbringing will manifest its way into my own parenting style. Hopefully being aware of it is already half the battle!

  • jen May 4, 2012 at 12:14 am

    thanks jenna for this honest post. you’re not alone. i have the same fears. and yes, my mom prays for me too and tells me that when good things happen to me it’s because she prayed to god.

  • Susannah May 4, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Your blog rocks my world – its honesty, its beauty without pretension, your realness just flow forth in the most impactful way. Thank you.

  • jacqueline May 4, 2012 at 12:31 am

    I’m somewhat at a loss of what to say. This was such an honest and reflective post and is going to make me think a lot for awhile. About my own mom, about many of my fears about children, and about my own insecurities I hide. Thank so much for sharing. And I think that the fact you think about these things and try to work out how best to handle them will ultimately be what makes you a great mother.

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