Back when I was young, carefree in college, I worried about things like making rent, making grades, making it to work on time. I didn’t create things to worry about, like what would happen if… And the quality of worry was that I could more or less control these things, so it compelled me to work hard in school, be on time for work and be very frugal in my spending. In short, it was productive concern.
I never thought of myself as being wound tightly, highly strung or otherwise. Anxiety wasn’t something I particularly understood. It seemed without purpose.
And even when I got married, things didn’t increase in worry much.
However, when I had my first child, things changed. I became a professional worrier, only I wasn’t being paid.
Remember this character from that Lemony Snicket movie? She lived in a house on a bluff propped up by a couple beams and it seemed to teeter back and forth. She warned her guests not to stand near to the fridge, or it might fall on them. Not to use the crystal doorknobs in case they exploded, and refused to use her own stove. Worrying to a comical level.
I began to wonder what in the world was going on with all this worrying. I began to catch myself and make myself stop. I wondered if other moms had the ridiculous things occur to them that would occur to me. I never wanted to admit that I had begun to worry to an extent that was a tad overboard.
I worried that the bubbles in her bath might give her an infection, that she might pinch herself in the parts of her crib, and to say nothing of the early days when I counted her breaths while she slept. Anywhere she was, carseat, floor, chair…there seemed to be sharp edges, choking hazards, germs and things that could potentially harm the child everywhere. It was maddening.
These thoughts still occur to me, but since she is older now the worry has diminished slightly. Also, I choose not to worry about enough things.
Today I am pregnant with my second child. I am hoping for a more worry free time of it. But then there is news about number 7 plastic that leeches toxins into milk in baby bottles….and it all begins again. Chlorine free diapers? Are my current diapers hurting the kid because they probably aren’t the “organic” kind? Blarg! Hormones in the milk? Do I have to buy organic milk otherwise I am unwittingly hurting the kid?
I tend to think that other moms were dealing with the same number of “worries” as I was. And if parenting makes a person crazy, these details would be why. “Can I microwave this plastic? Can I microwave this milk at all?”
I remember Aunt Josephine on A Series of Unfortunate Events, laugh and aim for the balance.