I would say, unequivocally, that one of the hardest parts about parenting is the worrying. Now, I’m a worrier by nature (I come from a long line of neurotic Jews), so the feeling is somewhat natural to me, BUT when it was just me, I could talk myself down with thoughts like, “You probably don’t have a brain tumor, but if you still have a pounding headache and blurry vision AFTER the hangover wears off, call the doctor” or “You probably didn’t ruin your life by hitting reply all and ____ (fill in the blank)” or “You’re not going to amount to nothing just because you didn’t write The Devil Wears Prada” or “You don’t have stomach cancer just because you have a stomach ache…the pint of ice cream is probably more likely the cause,” etc.
But, when it comes to kids, these tools we’ve all developed – the ones that we use to tell ourselves we’re being crazy – are completely unreliable because the WHAT IF isn’t about ourselves, it’s about a little person we’re wholly responsible for who can’t fight for themselves. Such as…What if that cough has lasted too long? What if the ‘tummy aches’ are an allergy, not just complaining? What if the speech – which seems less developed than other kids his age – is actually a delay? What if the ear-pulling is an infection, not teething? What if “crying it out” scars them for life? What if sending them to school when they say they don’t want to go every day is doing harm or means the school is somehow not attending to their needs? What if their current refusal to eat vegetables results in anemia or calcium deficiency or stunted growth OR What if forcing the vegetables/refusing junk results in an unhealthy emotional relationship with food, dooming your child to an obsession with candy and/or a future eating disorder? You catch the drift…
The worrying can be endless and I certainly do NOT have the answers, but the doctors below do a great job of breaking down some items we should not worry about….
And I do think the bottom line is that worrying means we love our kids. And if we love our kids and try as hard as possible not to judge them or ourselves, they’ll probably be f***ed up somehow anyways because every grown person is, but they’ll at least know they have loving parents on their side. And take it from a worrier with loving parents – that helps a lot!