Most first-time moms, even if they are not unbearably Type A like I am, are inclined to go into full Girl Scout mode when it comes to preparing for a baby. One of many stages of pre-baby preparation involves running through every worst-case scenario we can dream up. For many new moms, this tendency carries over well into their baby's life. For some, it can be an all-out extreme paranoia or gnawing anxiety associated with postpartum depression/anxiety. For others of us, who are lucky enough to be spared such afflictions, we're merely left to feel a little... obnoxious and mildly insane as we run ourselves in circles trying to keep our fresh babes from any pain or even unpleasantness.
I was definitely prone to both over-planning for my daughter's arrival, and over-protecting her once she got here. I used to sidle up to the far side of our dining room, clutching my infant daughter, so as to not accidentally trip and fall out our living room window, which was 43 feet across the apartment. We wrapped every table and wall corner with foam. I never let her wear open-toed sandals, for fear of splinters, even though we live in the concrete jungle of Queens. It was all precaution, all the time, and this, I've come to understand, is the path many first-time parents walk (in close-toed shoes, of course).
But by the time our son was born, two-and-a-half years later, it was like, who has time to evaluate the efficacy of crib bumpers? I'd had a few years to realize that while some safety measures with kids are just good common sense, a lot of the lengths I'd been going to were unnecessary. And beyond safety, a lot of the stuff I'd thought was so important, and had stressed out about so much, in all aspects of parenting... well, it honestly just didn't end up mattering that much. The thing is, you can't really learn what is worth stressing about with your kids and what isn't until you've needlessly stressed about all of it, and gotten enough distance to see what didn't matter. There's kinda no getting around it (especially since the alternative — over-thinking nothing and getting distance and realizing how much you should've been more concerned — doesn't seem like a particularly advisable course). Either way, my mom-of-two self would like to go back and smack some sense into my mom-of-one self (and then hug her and buy her a beer). Here’s what I found myself panicking about with my first kid, but not my second.