I used to be a fairly adventurous person. I traveled the world, was a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, and lived on my own in Washington D.C. at the gender age 19. I really didn't fear much of anything, and I took a lot of risks. That is, until I had kids. There are a ton of normal things that terrify me now that I have kids, which is as frustrating as it is slightly confusing.
This constant state of fear has been compounded by the fact that, as a person living with anxiety, I constantly ask myself, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" and then convince myself that "worst thing" is absolutely going to happen. As a result of that perceived inevitability, I obsess over how to prevent "the worst thing" from happening or blame myself for not being able to prevent it. Being a mom is not for the faint of heart.
From the moment a line appears on a pregnancy test until the moment our children are adults (and my mom tells me it doesn't even stop then), moms worry. And, if you are like me, you worry about everything; even things that are either not likely to happen at all, not possible given the laws of physics, or just plain silly. It's like become a mother instills in us the question, "What if?" and we can't stop thinking about worst case scenarios no matter how hard we try. So, if you are brave or you want to feel normal about your own fears and anxieties, read on for a few of mine.
Any And All Pregnancy Symptoms
I advise moms-to-be to throw out their pregnancy books and stay off the internet. While there are some symptoms that are absolutely important to monitor during pregnancy, most are completely normal and not a sign of impending doom.
I used to love thunderstorms, and even snow. Now, I think about tornadoes, icy roads, and natural disasters separating me from my kids or them getting hurt. A simple snowfall might mean being stuck in the house for days, potentially running out of food and water (or worse, coffee) and losing power and heat.
I don't know about you, but I have been afraid to sleep (or let my kids sleep) so many times since their births. Many nights have been spent staring at them, making sure they are still breathing, and wondering if I should wake them. Maybe if I just nudge them a bit, they will let me know that they are OK?
Every time my kids take a bath, I imagine them drowning. I am so scared that something bad might happen, that I am constantly worried.
My youngest child is fearless. He'll regularly climb to the top of playground equipment and then jump off, trusting that someone will be there to catch him. I know that kids fall and get hurt and that's how they learn, but it's hard to not follow a foot behind to catch him if he does.
Getting sick before having kids was a pain. Getting sick after having kids means that you may not be able to care for them, or worse, could possibly leave them without a mother. The only thing that's worse than getting sick as a mom is having your kids get sick. I know I can't prevent it from happening, but I am going to wash my and their hands frequently and may cringe when I think about how germy indoor playgrounds, the Children's Museum, the doctor's office, and most preschools are.
I want to premise this with the fact that I know that children are unlikely to be abducted by strangers. However, I have always seemed to have an invisible tattoo that causes strangers to approach me and tell me their life stories. This came in handy when I worked in social services but now, as a parent, I am constantly suspicious of their motives and imagine them wanting to kidnap my children.
I was the mom who cut up grapes and blueberries for my kids well past the toddler stage. It's hard not to do it now that the youngest is a 4-year old. I am also terrified of my kids choking on small toys, even after they reach the age on the package. I am perpetually saying, "Please don't put that in your mouth."
Running Out Of Coffee
When I was childless, running out of coffee meant a quick trip to the drive thru on my way to work. Now, running out of coffee is terrifying. I either have to get the kids up and ready without having had coffee or go to the store without having had coffee. Both of those scenarios seem impossible.
I used to speed and run yellow lights. Now, I drive like a proverbial grandma. Driving with kids is super scary. I am also so scared that I might accidentally lock them in the car, that I rarely shut all of the car doors at the same time unless we are all in or all out, even when it's cold or hot outside and my kids are begging me to.
Dogs And Wild Animals
I used to see dogs, squirrels and raccoons and think, "Aww cute." Now, I imagine them killing and eating my children.
I have to admit, after 2016 the future is pretty scary. However, I don't think that zombie apocalypse or any kind of apocalypse is likely to happen in the near future. That doesn't stop me from wondering how I would get to my children, feed, and protect them if it does.