Mom Worry

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.

Social Media.

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.

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3 thoughts on “Mom Worry

  1. It is unfortunate that you worry so much Louise. I think you are right in it being symptomatic of today’s parent. One of the reasons may be that we live farther away from our families and consider ourselves the only ones that can protect our children. Don’t get me wrong, I still worry about my kids and they are 31 and 33. So unfortunately it does not go away. It does become less consuming, unless a crisis arises. I remember one time when I was in my teens and we had gone to bed and my mother and her sisters had stayed up late. I was sleeping in the living room, as my bedroom was occupied by our guests. I overheard their conversation and something one of them said stuck with me. She said to my mom, the biggest gift she gave her children was wings. It is important and healthy for them and for you to explore and take chances. Hang in there girl.

  2. It sounds like the amount of worrying you do is quite draining – I suspect I am right? Someone once told me (as a fellow worrier) “imagine if you could put the amount of effort you place on an (often times) wasted emotion into something else” Maybe say, how happy your kids would be to share the fun that they had on a big adventure once they came back home? Sure, it is healthy to have a bit of the worry bug – but too much can be too unbearable. BTW that person was a behavioral psychologist – and let me say it does get better with repetition, time and if you stop being so hard on yourself.

  3. It might help to let your kids do things in nice small incremental steps. Start with a tent in the living room and then backyard and see how that goes. Make sure they take swimming lessons and sign them up for Cubs/Scouts/Brownies/Guides where they will learn some outdoor skills from other people ie not their own parents. Worrying is part of the parental package the trick is to hide it. I got busted by my kid today when she pointed out that I use an invisible brake when she drives. When they ask for the car keys for the first time, camping will seem so much less scary. Good luck. You will survive this and remember that is why they make hair dye.

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