So you’d think with my house on the market, I’d be up late obsessing about whether or not it will sell and where we’ll move to (by the way, 5 showings last week and no offers). But I’m not worrying about it, because I am too obsessed with the minutia of being responsible for the health and well-being of 2 children.
As parents, we are hardwired to worry about our children above anything else. It’s all I’ve been doing lately. I’m not sure if it’s a sign that stay-at-home-moming has officially taken hold and my brain can only process thoughts about my children or if my brain is so overwhelmed by the idea of moving that it’s hyper fixating on other things to stay distracted.
Anyways, I have not been sleeping well because as soon as I shut my eyes at night, my mind inflates with Things I Am Doing Or Might Do That Could Potentially Harm My Kids.
This syndrome, one I know many parents are all too familiar with, began the second Adeline was born, and every time I ascended or descended stairs with her fragile body in my arms, I had visions of tripping and injuring her. Since becoming a mom, whenever I hear a tragic story about a child, I envision it happening to my child…the Oh my god, what if that had been my family? And I want to barf every time it happens, as I feel the anxiety fill by stomach, my heart sink and muscles tense. It sucks, and it’s the worst part about being a parent – worry takes on a whole new definition, becomes a constant companion and sticks with you for the rest of your life.
These days, I worry about the same things I mentioned above, but now throw in things like Am I letting them eat too much sugar? Is the genetically-modified-almost-everything-on-the-grocery-store-shelves messing with them, along with all the other unnatural ingredients? And what about the plastics? The plastics! Plastic sippy cups, plastic bowls, plastic spoons. WTF is plastic even made of ? That mom in music class was using aluminum sippy cups, and I totally should be, too! But what if it’s too late? What if my children have already been poisoned by plastic and Yellow #4 and high fructose corn syrup!?! That is an exact excerpt of my thoughts from last night at around midnight. This is the stuff that keeps me up.
But what’s trumping all my worries lately is a field trip Adeline is supposed to take with her new preschool class (she switched to a new room about a month ago). She’s supposed to ride on a school bus with all 25 of her classmates, who, in her classic, painfully shy and quiet way, she is taking a while to warm up to, and 2-3 teachers to see a high school production of Rumpelstiltskin. I am struggling with this. I’m hung up on there’s no seat belts on buses, which is absurd, because this child has spend her entire life strapped into a 5-point harness car seat and now she’s just supposed to sit on a bench with zero protection? How does that make sense, School Bus Designers and Engineers?
I am so freaked out by this field trip that I have consulted with every mom friend I have with kids Addy’s age that attend preschool. So, has (enter their child’s name) ever gone on a field trip with his/her class? And did they take a bus? And was it fine? And is there any hope that I will one day relax a little as a parent? And of course, all the moms say, “They loved it! It was fine.”
I have the option to attend the field trip as a chaperon, and I’m tempted to do it. But, because Addy is in “watch and learn” mode rather than “dive in and interact” mode with her new classmates (which, p.s. is behavior very typical of her mom), I know if I attend she’ll be stuck to my side the entire time. And I wonder if a new, fantastic experience is just what she needs to unlodge her from her shyness, to shake her out of “watch and learn” and drop her right into “This is awesome! Let’s play and giggle and omg! I love you!” mode with her classmates. But on the other hand, whenever I do go back to work, I will no longer have the opportunity to attend field trips, as one of my mom friends wisely pointed out. And maybe my being there would provide the comfort level she needs to emerge from her shell.
But, furthermore, I am also worrying that I am totally f’ed up because I am worrying about stuff like this. Like W-O-R-R-Y-I-N-G about it. Am I a total weirdo of a mom who needs to chill? Perhaps sleep instead of envision the chemicals filling the air every time I use a non-stick pan when I make my kids’ mac n’ cheese? (The label that comes with non-stick pans tells you to remove small birds from the house before cooking with them because the fumes can kill them! What???!!!)
Oh my god, I’m a freak, aren’t I? A freak who is never going to sleep again because I see my future before me, a trifecta of worries following me around for life - What is best for my children?/The fear of anything bad happening to them/Am I screwing them up? And we all know the answer to that last one is yes, because that’s a given with parenting, just like the worrying. I am going to leave a smudge on their beautiful, perfect, impressionable little souls no matter how much I don’t mean to.
I think these days there’s just a lot a parent can worry about if they let themselves. And clearly I am letting myself. Hopefully our house will sell soon so I can worry about that instead. I’m sure my children would be grateful. And probably my husband, too. And all of my mom friends with school-age kids.