On spiders: arachnophobia and motherhood

I am afraid of spiders.  To be honest, I’m not terribly keen on most bugs–ants freak me out, crickets are not OK, and those crazy pincer bugs can just rot as far as I’m concerned–but spiders are the worst.  I know what you’re thinking.  If you’re also an arachnophobe, you’re thinking, “That’s right, sister!”; if you aren’t bothered by spiders, you’re thinking, “They’re so small, and you’re so big… what’s there to be afraid of?”  I really hate that latter response.  Seriously, all of us are insecure about or afraid of something, sometimes many things, and how helpful is it when someone belittles or invalidates us because of our fears?  Here’s my reality: spiders are evil, and they are always plotting to jump on my face and kill me.  I don’t care if they’re the harmless (to me) kind who eat other spiders or the evil soul-sucking kind.  They’re all bastards, and I’d be happier in a world where they continue to exist (else we’d be overrun with other bugs) but have all been served a 10-foot restraining order against coming in my presence.


Lately, there have been a few too many spiders disregarding that restraining order.  On Tuesday, a big one decided it would be awesome to climb aboard a box that I had to carry out to my car, and I still don’t know if it originated in the box (which came from my boss’ garage) or crawled out from underneath the reception chair in my office.  I wouldn’t be too surprised to learn that there are full-grown spiders lurking in the dark corners of my office, but I can’t think about that right now.  On Wednesday, I killed a tiny one on my desk.  It was on my correction tape.  Yesterday afternoon, I killed a tiny one in my car.  It was swinging perilously close to my face, and I’m sure the guy in the car behind me thought I was absolutely nuts when I completely freaked out while going 40 miles per hour up Indian Hill Blvd…  Finally, last night a spider had the audacity to confront me in my own home, crawling along the arm of the sofa on which I was sitting, reading.

That last one is the worst, because I like to think that I’m safe at home, but now I know for certain that I’m not.  I couldn’t kill it.  I couldn’t even turn the light off before I finally crept to my bedroom to lie awake for an hour, in a full but desperately silent panic (I was, frankly, too ashamed to risk waking my husband).  I couldn’t kill it, and now it’s in my house, alive, angry, and very close to the area where my children play. I couldn’t kill it, and I feel like a failure as a mother, because isn’t my concern for my children supposed to overcome my fears?

Anyway, if I were a better person, I’d be more on top of cleaning my house.  Didn’t my mother always teach me that spiders like dark, neglected spaces?  I know this, and I still fail to keep my house clean.  It is my fault both that my children are at risk today because I failed to kill the spider last night and that the spider was even in my house to begin with because I’m a lazy asshole who can’t be bothered to keep a clean house for her children and husband.

I know I’m being unfair, but I’m also being honest.  Spiders suck, but even I cannot attribute to them the blame in the situation.  If I kept a clean car, I wouldn’t have had to deal with a spider dropping down on me while I was driving.  That was my fault.  If I kept a clean house, I wouldn’t have been surprised by that awful couch buddy.  That was my fault, too.  So today is, obviously, one of those bad days.  I really hope I don’t make any mistakes at work… I doubt I’ll be able to respond rationally.


6 thoughts on “On spiders: arachnophobia and motherhood

  1. Oh Kel, I do feel your pain (actually more accurately, angst). You are way way too hard on yourself… truth is… even extremely clean houses suffer the lurking of spiders. They are unfortunately a fact of life. Your children are not so much at risk as you think… you are an excellent Mom.. I know this for a FACT. I wish so much as your Mom that I could qualm you but as it were, I too fear spiders, all I can do is tell you that I know that if it ever comes to a spider being in the close proximity of your child… you will without a doubt step up and smear the spider. This I know for an absolute certainty! It’s in your DNA, after all you are your mother’s daughter! LOL

    • Thanks, Mom! I felt a lot better just getting all those horrible thoughts out of my system and out into the wide ether of the Internet. We never did find the spider, but Joe’s been keeping a lookout for it. Anyway, thanks for the kind words–it means a lot to me that you read this thing! Love!

  2. I think that you are being too hard on yourself. A spider can sometimes wander into even the cleanest of houses once in a while, so even if your house was spotless, you may have still encountered your intruder. About protecting your children, here is my opinion. Although I fully understand how real your fear of spiders is, there is a part of you who understands that it is an irrational fear. I assume that if it were a poisonous spider you would have wakened your husband. Therefore, as a “harmless” spider, it caused no real danger to your children so the rational side of your brain gave no reason for your maternal instinct to kick in, leaving room for fear to rule. If there had been a real danger, like an axe murderer or a black widow, I’m sure the outcome would have been different. I to tally agree that spiders are the spawn of Satan, but I don’t think you’re a failure. Cut yourself some slack.

    • Thanks I worried about the wisdom of so openly broadcasting my neurosis, but I’m glad I did it. If nothing else, I now have a record, other than my changeable memory, of what my thought patterns morph into both during and after a spider-related panic attack. It is amazing how much one can change during such an event. Posting all that nonsense helped me put it in the proper perspective. Sometimes I have to write it all down in order to realize that I’m being ridiculous. Anyway, I really appreciate your words about the rational vs. irrational sides of fear. Love!

  3. We all have things that we have a crazy response too. It isn’t spiders for me, it is millipedes and centipedes. They seriously freak me out. If I saw one crawling around I’d be waking everyone up to make it go away. Christina kept it a secret for years that she saw a giant one in her apartment once because she knew I may never visit again if I knew about it. When she finally told me about it I freaked out that I had ever been that close to one unknowingly.

    • Those things are totally freaky, and I would probably panic if one came near me… If you want to hear awful, yet somehow entertaining, spider stories sometime, ask Laura about her time in China. They have giant ones there that move really fast. Those spiders are the A #1 Lucky Best reason I will never voluntarily travel to China. If it makes you feel any better, I have never found a centipede or millipede in or around my house.
      How about those roly poly bugs? Do those freak you out?

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