Why do Moms worry? I don't know. But I'm a Mom, and I worry!
I was not a worrier before I had children, but when I became a Mom some terrible transformation took place and I worried about most things when the kids were young.
Worry: The kids will stop breathing in their sleep.
This was an easy one to handle as we just let them sleep with us until they were ready to shave. Lucky for us, they were late bloomers. It's a little weird, but it worked for me. You just need a big bed.
Worry: The kids will choke on their food.
"Chokers" was a category in my Food Pyramid. "You can't eat that. It's a choker!" If I found a piece of hard candy in the house it was like I found a Quaalude. "Oh my God, whose Jolly Rancher is this? Jesus."
This is a reasonable concern, right? In fact, my oldest son choked on calamari at a restaurant when he was about 8 years old. Thankfully, he was super calm and I'm terrific in a crisis. Kidding. He stood on his chair and waved his hands in the air as I stood up and screamed, "He's choking! He's choking! He's choking!" At no time during the crisis did I actually try to help him.
Fortunately, my husband is actually good in a crisis, and he calmly reached down his throat and pulled out the calamari. I still cannot look at calamari without breaking out in a sweat.
I also worry about other people's children choking. Once at a restaurant I was unable to eat my meal because I was so concerned about a 3-year old girl eating chicken wings. I could barely swallow as I watched her eat 10 wings. She was fine and her parents tossed her a wet nap when she was done. Go figure.
Worry: The kids will have an illness.
I could write pages on this scenario, but let's just say WebMD is bookmarked on my laptop.
Worry: The kids will be abducted.
This was a big one for me. I think it stems from watching too many episodes of America's Most Wanted, the TV show hosted by John Walsh, whose son was actually abducted.
To this day, when I see a white van without windows I assume it's being driven by a man with a bag of candy on his lap and a bunch of kids tied up in the back.
When my boys were young I created a "secret word" for them to memorize. The idea was that if anyone ever came to pick them up, and said that I sent them to do so, they would have to tell the boys the "secret word."
The problem with the "secret word" was that every time we practiced I couldn't remember the word, and I confused them about when to use the word because I kept inventing new possible scenarios. They probably thought it would be simpler to go with whoever wanted them because there was no chance that person was as nuts as their own mother.
Thinking your kids will get stolen is not something my Mom thought about. When my youngest was about 2 years old he wondered away from me at the mall. I immediately freaked out. My Mom, who was with me, just calmly started calling his name. I remember looking at my watch to get the specific time because I knew from watching TV shows that the police would need to know exactly what time he went missing. I then ran to find a mall cop, so that he could lock down the exits. Getting the mall cop? I was really thinking clearly.
I was hyperventilating and was certain he was the victim of an underground adoption ring targeting little blonde-haired and blue-eyed boys. Meanwhile, my Mom found my son in Border's bookstore and was at Friendly's getting him ice cream. She never broke a sweat. I didn't sleep for a week.
Worry: The kids will get lost.
My dogs have microchips implanted in their necks. You know I would have been all over that technology if it had existed when my kids were young. I was tempted to use leashes. Okay, I was more than tempted, I bought one, but my husband would not allow me to use it. Jerko.
We went to Disney World when the kids were young and I made stickers with their names and my phone number and put them inside their shoes. On the way to the park, I quizzed the boys about what they should do if they got lost.
Yes, I actually instructed the boys to stand in place and take their shoes off if they got lost. Wow. Talk about giving your kids the tools to survive. I'm the best. It seemed like a good idea, but in hindsight I don't think anyone would have assumed a child standing still holding their shoes was lost, and I was potentially giving an abductor their names. For the record, I did not include the "secret word" on the stickers. I probably could not remember it!
Fortunately, they didn't get lost and I abandoned the sticker in the shoe idea when I saw that their information was smeared from their sweaty feet.
Worry: The kids will get hurt.
This one covered a lot of area. Too much even for me to think about. Let's just say, it's not easy for the boys to truly enjoy going to the movies because of me. Thank goodness for Netflix.
First, there's the concern about contracting lice from the seat. It could happen. Then there's the stress of being aware of all the exits and everybody sitting around you. Good thing previews last 20 minutes because that's how long their reconnaissance takes. Finally, it does not matter what is happening in the movie, you need to watch out for any person walking around the theatre.
I will concede that some of my behavior has been over the top, but we do live in a scary world and I've just tried to protect the boys from harm and make them aware of their surroundings. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Do not think for a minute that I don't know that I am, at least partly, responsible for their anxiety. And, amazingly none of us are medicated.
Thank goodness they are older now and I only have to worry about driving, drinking, drugs and unwanted pregnancy. "I'm happy I made it through the tough parts," said NO PARENT EVER.
Why Do Moms Worry? I don't know. But I'm a Mom, and I worry!
Do you worry?