Mothers worry! Full stop. There is no secret or mystery in this statement. Mothers were, are and will always worry about their kids. Some mothers will be close to panic attacks and some will have a normal level of worry in them. How do you know though, when worry is too much worry? And what are we worrying about?
My girl is only five, and I am only starting to worry. I worry about that hole in her tooth every time she says “Ouch!” thinking, that it’s going to really hurt now and she will have to go through that awful pain and I won’t be able to help her. I worry about the fear that she will have walking down the corridor into the dentist’s chair and that feeling of fear paralyses, when you are so scared that every muscle in your body becomes stiff and you can’t move. I worry, that she might have such a bad experience with the dentist that she will develop life long fear of them and every visit would feel like a worst torture multiplied by hundred. I worry that she is not going to put her sun hat on while in playschool and get a sun stroke, or that the sun cream wears off and she will get burnt. Of course, my imagination takes me to darker places then, drawing scenarios of small children with skin cancer living in agony. I worry that if she goes for a walk with my neighbor and her kids, they will end up somewhere up the hill and she might trip over and fall and I will never see her again. That if I leave her outside for a few minutes on her own, a big white van will be passing by and a big bad man will take her. Or a driver won’t notice the child and something terrible might happen. Trust me, I know how crazy it sounds. And for a certain amount of time I thought I was going crazy, but then realized that it’s not just my sick imagination. There are mothers like me there, who have same “crazy” thoughts.
And she is only five!!! What is going to happen when she grows up and becomes a teenager? School bullying, internet, child porn, drugs and so on, and on, and on… Social media and news are not making it easier. Every day you hear about some sick people doing some sick things, about plane crashes, about diseases and school shootings. Seriously! Is it ever going to stop? And then when she becomes an adult. Is she going to be happy? Is she going to be successful? Will she have good and kind people around her? Will she be able to fit in and adapt to new things? But this is far away just yet, so I don’t seem to overthink it now. My main concern is to make sure she gets there.
And men don’t seem to worry that much about their kids. I am not telling they don’t worry at all, of course they do. They just seem to be able to control it better. Maybe they are more sensible? Although this is not what is going through my head when I see, that he did let her go without the sun hat again. “Do you even care, that she can get a sun stroke?” And then on top of worrying I get angry with him. Then, I get angry with myself, because maybe he is right, maybe I am overreacting?
It’s like a vicious circle. One thought brings another one, and then another one. The more you start thinking about it, the darker you see the situation. Instead of being happy and proud that she wasn’t afraid to go on a little adventure with her friends (and their mum), I am going through all the bad things that can happen with some really colorful visual effects.
And then I think about my own mother, who worried about me the way I am worrying about my little girl now. I realize now, I have put her through all circles of hell, especially when I was a teenager. I can only imagine how much grey hair she got because of my “no check in phone calls”, or because of me not being back home at the expected time.
I do understand, that I worry too much sometimes. When you think about life/death situations on the playground, I admit, I might be overreacting from time to time. Sometimes I have to talk some sense into me and try to calm myself down. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. What I can do though, is try to differentiate if I do or don’t have control of the situation at a given time. Like, if my husband did let the child go off for a walk in the woods with the neighbor, I can’t really do anything about it. I have to believe that all is going to be fine, hope that she is having great time and try to appreciate the fact that neighbors kids made it just fine through the first few years of their lives, so their mum must know what she is doing or at least is on the same level of keeping small people alive as myself.
So, when is worrying, too much worrying? Where is that fine line between being a good mother and being the crazy one? Honestly, I don’t know. I still debate with myself every time and try to figure out if it’s a genuine concern or if I am just going nuts. I still have more “worry free” days, than days with dark thoughts over my head. And saying that, “worry free” days are the ones when I still worry, but it’s not overwhelming. For example, if she had her dinner, if she is drinking enough, or having a good day, or getting enough to do to develop and grow properly.
Everything in moderation. Balance is the key. It’s ok to worry, and it’s natural, as long as it doesn’t effect negatively your life, your relationship with your partner and most importantly with your child. Yes, the one you worry about, that child. Don’t let your imagination take control and hijack your thoughts. Don’t let it ruin your life.
Try to stay as calm as possible and get control of your thoughts. It’s your head that comes up with bad scenarios. You just have to have a bit of trust, that situations you have no control over will be fine.
PS. Do you worry? Of course, you do… What are your “mad” worries about your kids?