Military mama: Mommies must learn to face fears

There are a lot of frightening situations that as adults we are forced to deal with, whether we like it or not. The bar is raised when we become parents because not only are we forced to face our own fears head on; we also feel the obligation to show no terror to our children.

It’s simple, if there’s a big fat hairy spider it’s time to put on the super mom cape and pretend that its eight legs and beady eyes are no problem. I simply have to turn off my ears and ignore the crunch as whatever shoe, book, or other solid object nearby does the dirty work. Because if my son realizes that the spider on his wall practically needed its own zip code, his terror level raises to extreme and suddenly a solid phobia will be born.

Keeping one’s composure in even the most uncomfortable situations helps to prevent future backlash from the kids. Of course it’s not always possible, sometimes I’m simply going to freak out. But, if there are small eyes keeping tabs on my actions I will then laugh off my overreaction and make the entire scare into a joke — even if I’m still shaking.

When things go creak in the night and my oldest runs into my bedroom expecting an explanation, it’s my duty to wander on out and groggily explore the dark to ensure that no monsters or bad guys have invaded our home. (Another perk of being a military mommy is that traditionally ‘daddy’ roles become mommy jobs when he is away or on nights.)

Our windswept city becomes its own nightmare fuel this time of year. Have you ever tried to explain that the scraping noise on a bedroom window was actually a tumbleweed just passing through? I’m grateful that my son is no longer practically peeing himself at every clap of thunder, because there sure are an awful lot of opportunities for wet drawers around these parts.

My sister is expecting her first child and is absolutely terrified of thunderstorms. She was asking me how she is going to be able to soothe her daughter when the rain and thunder have her reeling. Not to worry, nature kicks in and her protective instincts will overrule her own fears. In fight or flight, even if she opts to run she will no doubt cradle her munchkin with her while hiding under the covers. It’s all part of the parenting gig. There are certain fears that are easily avoided, but it’s hard to escape the dark, storms, and strange noises in the night. The best you can do is put on a brave face and focus on keeping the little one(s) calm.