Those of us who are computer savvy know that there are traditional ways of saving data (File -> Save) , advanced ways of saving data (File -> Save As) and new media ways of backing up the data (drag and drop on to external, email to yourself, dropbox.com, etc.) How many of us have the same advanced contingency plans for our parenting?
It has occurred to me that I had more of a parenting safety net when I was deferring parenthood then now that I have three children. I don’t know how many Cocoa Mamas are still on the condom AND birth control AND rhythm method plan but I remember, well, the rigid discipline of that engagement. It was a way of backing up the back up plan, that just no longer rests with my leisurely approach to motherhood.
One related secret confession is that I do not have any life insurance for myself or my children. What does it mean that my five person family has no “death plan.” Having faced, on the ground, the logistical nightmare of trying to bury my little cousin without income or insurance last year was a vivid, yet stalled, rude awakening in this regard. I may be a little too chill. I have no real set “plan” for how I am governing my children’s lives. We are winging it big time.
Tonight I thought, again, about the quite possibly urgent need to engage my oldest, in particular, in extra-curriculars. (He is finally taking piano once a week). I think about parents who spend most of their non-working hours strategically placing their children in competitive athletics, music or some other socializing force. I often see parents who are acting more out of self-interest in doing so. The stereotypical “at home” mother who is “living through her children,” is one generic example of this. However, even the structured arrangement of your child’s free time can be a way to back up their back-up plan, helping to create a “future” for them that is both economically viable and otherwise personally fulfilling.
In my marriage, as a related side note, I am the one who is most inattentive to the pursuit of home ownership. I know, theoretically, it is a way to increase wealth and create a “fail safe,” but I am not what you would call a motivated buyer.
My fear, as a mom, is that one day my world will get so completely turned on its head that all the love, patience and “dreams” I contribute; will fail to matter because I have let them down in some bare bones, irreconcilable way.
Short of a Y2K paranoia, I am seriously starting to wonder if my parenting/partnering is tightroping without a net.