This is a guest post I wrote a while back for Tahlia at The Parenting Files and seeing as I am constantly in a state of worry and I have had numerous conversations with friends about worrying over the past 2 weeks, I thought I would share it again here.
There is something that nobody told me about BEFORE I had children. Something so huge that surely it should come with some sort of warning. Perhaps even its own little info pack that is given to you the moment you give birth for the first time. What is it? I am sure you are incredibly familiar with this not so little emotion, in fact I am pretty damn sure it has set itself up very comfortably in generous sized accommodation in your mind – WORRY!
Yep the crappy worry bug! It comes wrapped up tightly in the same packaging as your precious little newborn. It is the bonus Steak Knives that you really didn’t need or want.
Now I am sure that there must be some way to tame this beast. I have images of myself in my mind holding a whip and a stool as I battle to control this insidious emotion as it snarls and lunges at me, spitting another ferocious fear in my face
Often I worry about how much I worry. (There is irony in there somewhere). But I really do wonder, do others lose as much sleep over worrying about things as much as I do? I truly am not exaggerating, in fact I feel compelled to share with you the Top 5 worries I have experienced since my babies first came into my life.
1. Is he breathing?
Hmmm I am positive you are nodding your head as you read this one. How many times do we get up in the night to check if our most precious little ones are still breathing.
I recall myself quietly hovering over the bassinet with a torch to look for the rise and fall of the chest that indicates everything is AOK. Then in moments of panic, I would scare my poor sleeping child witless as I would poke him awake, waiting for the cry that would tell me that it’s ok, he is really is breathing. It was almost like I developed some kind of breathing related OCD.
Just as I settled myself back into bed to try and grab some zzzzzzs, I would find myself worrying again, Oh crap - did something happen between the time I left his side a minute ago, until now? And once again I would rise from my bed to check that he was STILL ok.
Sometimes I would even wake my poor husband to go and check as well, you know, just to be sure.
2. Is this sneeze the start of Pneumonia?
Every time my little one would let out an innocent sneeze, it would send me spiralling into panic mode. Out would come the thermometers to check his temperature. I became thermometer obsessed and I would frequently browse the baby aisle in my local chemist looking for a new brand of thermometer, a bigger and better, more reliable one.
The baby books would come out (like they were ever really put away) and I would wear the pages thin as I devoured every bit of information on caring for a sick baby. My fingers were often crippled with RSI from repeatedly typing into Google search various combinations of Baby Cold, Baby Sneeze, Symptoms of Pneumonia in a Baby.
I would like to tell you that as my children got older, things calmed down a little in this area. But if I am being honest with you – they didn’t.
3. Why isn’t my baby doing (insert whatever here) yet?
I actually had to ban myself from reading age and development checklists as I became so obsessed with them. I kid you not! I would worry myself sick if one of my children could not do something out of the million and one things a child should be able to do by his age.
Time would eventually prove to me that kids do everything in their own time and they do not necessarily follow the order that these lists suggest.
I remember breaking out in a cold sweat at playgroup when little Sally’s mum proudly informed us that her pride and joy could say “Mamma Juice” when she wanted a drink. I found myself shifting my eyes over to gaze upon my own little man who was happily banging his head against the doll house in the corner, and once again I would question my skills and qualifications for this parenting gig.
4. Does my child have some to play with at preschool / school?
Surely there are laws against stalking parents lurking outside the school yard, anxiously scanning the hoards of children in the hope of spotting my child happily playing with his friends. If there are laws for this, I so deserved to be locked up with a lifetime sentence.
OK so I don’t really do it to my older 2 kids now they are at school, as I have much more efficient ways of keeping this worry in check. Are they being invited to parties? Do they get invited for play dates? Etc etc.
But I do remember doing drive bys when my first son went to preschool. It was super convenient that the playground could easily be spotted without me having to leave the anonymity of my car, and I could do a quick check that all was ok on my way to and from appointments for work.
These days my youngest goes to a preschool that is tucked away in the hills and doesn’t accommodate the quick drive by. But the excuse of a forgotten drink bottle or spare jumper is usually suffice to gain me entry for a quick check up.
5. Will I still be the most important person in my boys life when they grow up?
I am lucky to have 3 little Mummy’s boys who just love to cuddle up with me for some Snuggle Time. Every morning I am greeted with huge hugs and squeals of delight as they see me for the first time that day, and every afternoon when they return home from kindy or school, they all race in to be the first to tell me about their day.
They love to sit on the floor in the bathroom and chat to me as I get ready, adorably telling me how I pretty I look. And I have to admit that I am somewhat touched by the raw emotion attached to the way they cling to my legs if Heaven forbid I attempt to exit the front door without them.
Being the mum of 3 boys, I know that somewhere in the future most likely lurks a DIL (Daughter in Law). And that DIL poses a threat of the magnitude I have yet had to face. DIL will potentially replace me as the centre of my child’s universe. Her cooking will be better than mine. She will wash and iron their clothes better than I do, and her lunchbox notes will take the place of my own on top of their lovingly made sandwiches . That DIL will bring her own unique joy to my boy’s lives that I cannot give them. Jealous much? Yep! So my strategy on this one is this.... be kind to the girls my boys bring home. Give them respect and love them and treat them as my own, as one day I may be their MIL and I want to ensure that they allow me to continue to be an important part of my boy’s life.
So you see, I worry about a lot. I am the first to say that many of my worries are completely irrational, but I was never prepared for the overwhelming completely unconditional and all absorbing love I would have for these little beings I am lucky enough to call my children.
I am thinking that surely some allowances need to be made when it comes to questioning my sanity. And besides I never claimed to be a sane Mum!