Before I had children, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew the mom I wanted to be, but wasn’t stupid enough to think it would be that easy. I knew there was going to be sleep deprivation, tantrums, teething and wrestling. I also knew I would worry. I thought I would worry about them getting lost at Wonderland or their schooling. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of worry I would live with since having them. And yes, I still worry about Wonderland and school, but there are so many scarier things I come up with in my head. Often my worries aren’t even probable at the time I am worrying. I worry about drowning when they are asleep in bed, car accidents when we are watching a movie. It is one of the only things that I don’t like about being a parent… all the worry.
I was talking about a potential camping trip my boys were invited on with their paternal grandmother. I was talking to my aunt, who I admire a great deal. I was telling her how I don’t think I could let them go because I’m worried. I’m worried they’ll be scared, they’ll get lost, they’ll swim out too deep and God forbid. I fully expected her to agree when I told her that I’m not letting them go, but she disagreed with me. We went deeper into the conversation and told me she believes that parenting has changed since she was in her prime mothering days. We parents now-a-days worry about everything, she says. We discussed it further and I tried to dig deep into the reason I worry so much.
Just in the last few weeks my brain has been bombarded with the tragic and fluke accidents of children all over the world. First the Cincinnati Zoo incident, then the Disney alligator attack. Did you also know that cinnamon can kill you? Ever heard of dry drowning? These are the stories and warnings I read on Facebook on a daily basis.
I don’t know if I can change. After my daughter’s first few months I got hooked up with a doctor so I could talk through my feelings. I brought up the worry, and we tried to work through it but not much has changed. I think I have a bit of a problem but I’m surrounded by moms who struggle and worry the same way. Are we the new norm? Is this sometimes all-consuming worry a part of 21st century parenting?
My aunt seems to think so.
So no, my kids won’t go on this camping trip. I say they can when they can swim well enough on their own. I hope I mean that.