Monday’s eclipse has become a fun opportunity to focus our collective eyes and attention on a rare and exciting solar event. Scientists will enjoy their day in the sun on the news, people are flocking to the stores to find eclipse glasses, and we’re even having a little eclipse party in my home, since the kids aren’t yet in school!
My worry wart mom brain usually becomes swamped with sometimes crazy worst case scenario thoughts, at times like these, as I imagine what would become of my children on such a day if they were with their father instead of me? My fears have been adequately fed by the warnings, sometimes reaching paranoia levels, about not looking directly into the sun. I have read accounts of those who made that mistake during previous eclipses and who now have permanent eye damage as a result.
If eclipse day fell on dad’s week instead of mine, would my children’s precious retinas be sizzled like bacon because they’re not under the watchful gaze of me in my helicopter? Sigh. Deep breath. Unlikely!
Like many moms, I have this deeply-rooted belief that no one can do it like I can. No one can nurture, protect, love, or possibly prevent irreversible optical damage like me. No grandparent. No babysitter. No stepmother. Not even their dad!
But, I’m wrong, and it’s wrong to doubt the intentions and abilities of others who also care about them!
Of course, there will always be those who aren’t as involved, aren’t as aware, and haven’t formed a deep and loving bond. That goes for any of us and our connection to any other human under the soon-to-be eclipsed sun!
I will naturally care about my own children more than I would a stranger; but, I have formed a deep level of care and affection for my stepchildren that would prompt me to go out of my way to protect them, do loving things for them, or put them before myself.
It’s hard for us moms to accept or trust that others could possibly love the ones we carried in our wombs and nurtured through infancy even close to the degree that we do. If a love competition is what we want, perhaps no one will ever “beat” us in the level of devotion we have for our offspring; but, I would wager that there’s an awful lot of people we can count on to go to extremes to love and care for our children!
I may not understand or agree with many things that my ex does; however, I know that he deeply loves our children (as much as I do!), and he would never want to see anything bad happen to them. Why would I ever doubt that he would never neglect their needs, put them in harm’s way, or let them become blind watching an eclipse?
I’m not the only person I know who watches the news or listened in science class! It’s not as though I have the market cornered on common sense and no one else is capable of making a good decision! It’s not necessary for me to insult his intelligence or question his love for our children by asking him if he makes them wear a seatbelt, stops them from running with scissors, or cooks chicken thoroughly before serving it!
If I seriously married a person so dense that he doesn’t know to tell children not to take rides from strangers, play with fire, or run into traffic, then I should have my head examined for ever marrying, let alone breeding with him!
If he ever proved to me along the way that he didn’t have their best interests at heart, couldn’t be trusted with them for any reason, or put them into dangerous situations; then, my situation would be completely different, and I would have justification to implement more safety measures for their sake. However, if my fears are simply my own maternal superiority complex, then I need to chill a bit.
I guarantee that my ex and I will never completely agree about things like bedtime, discipline, and some other issues. This is partly why we are divorced. He doesn’t have to think just like me or parent just like me to be right- or vice versa. For the sake of our kids, it is best for us to try to be as much on the same page as possible and to present a united front to our children, and to show the kids that we at least trust one another with them.
Kids feed off of our emotions, so if I appear freaked out by the idea of them being cared for by their father then, that will breed unnecessary fears in them. They shouldn’t have to worry about anything but being kids- oh, and not looking directly at the sun during the eclipse; but, either their dad or I have that covered!
Learning to trust and, in a way, let go is one of the most difficult parts of co-parenting. We can drive ourselves mad with worry about every little difference or detail. In the big scheme of things, many of those little details won’t matter. Our kids will come to love and appreciate the differences contained within each parent and each home. Those differences, when combined, are what our children are made of. They will certainly come to love and appreciate all of the love, concern, and care we gave them as children; so, we need to learn to have more faith in our exes and the contribution they make.