worry

I was never really a worrier until I became a mom. Of all the things that have surprised me about parenthood, the one that blindsided me the most is worry. I worry about everything all the time. I worry about what my kids eat and don't eat. I worry about them getting sick. I worry about them getting hurt. I worry that they will be unhappy. These things keep me up at night (so does Anya, but that's a whole different issue). I look calm and collected on the outside but inside I'm often a tangle of knots and anxiety about nothing and everything in particular, this despite the fact that my two children are thus far happy, healthy and as normal as they can be.

I think part of the problem is that my children currently occupy just about every waking (and sleeping) moment of my life. I am not employed (my 5 piano students don't really count), and I am no longer in school, so I don't have any kind of professional balance right now. That's just how it's going to be a for a little while, I'm afraid.

Is there something wrong with me? Does every parent feel this way? I wish I could just let go and deal with the hard stuff as it comes, but I can't. It's not like if I worry about stuff before it happens I'll save myself the trouble later. I need some reassurance here, or some help.

(BTW: I am not concerned that I'm dealing with any kind of anxiety disorder or PPD. I know enough about those conditions to know that my problem is not that severe. I'm not having panic attacks or symptoms of serious depression. I just...worry a lot.)

Comments

Rachel said…
In my experience, worry is a natural part of this parenting gig, and more so when you're with the kids day in and day out (I've noticed that Sam expresses more worries about our kids when he's on vacation). There are moments when worry--whatever it may be--makes me sit up straight in bed, thick with panic in the middle of the night, and I can't go back to sleep until I've purged my worries in writing (and even then, it often takes awhile). It's interesting to me that Sam and I often have different worries about our kids. Like, I was in no way worried when Ella couldn't count to ten and her best buds could (she can count just fine, now), and Sam doesn't worry like I do when the kids are sick or when it's time to get certain vaccines. We both worry about our kids being surrounded by a consumer-driven, violent, mean culture. I could go on and on. I don't know why parents don't talk more about their worries to each other, maybe because speaking something out loud makes it seem real. Huh. What I'm really trying to say is: You're not alone.
Suze said…
Thanks, Rachel. That's just what I needed. :)
katie said…
I, too, became much more of a worrier when I became a mom. It's one of those emotional changes that is hard to explain until you experience it. I also became more weepy, and started tearing up at touching moments more than I ever did before. As far as the worry, mine has waned a bit since I stopped watching T.V. Well, I watch some, but I stopped watching any shows that made me anxious, like cop shows and ER and shows where normal people with normal lives had awful things happening to them. That stuff just clutters my mind with possible things that could happen to my kids. That's just how I respond to them.
Claire said…
Ditto! Ditto! Ditto!
Pam said…
I come from a family of worriers. I guess I always thought it was genetic, because I have worried for a long time and don't have any children. However, I think when I started really, really worrying was soon after I adopted my two kitties, Vana and Jezebel. I used to worry about them all the time (Of course, it doesn't help that one of them almost died about a month after I adopted them...). So, even though they are not human, I still think it's quite possible that taking care of them stimulated my maternal instinct to worry, which I know is very strong in my mother and (was very, very strong in) my grandmother. For whatever it's worth, I think it's totally normal. And, I'm sorry, because worrying sucks. But, I think that's where a little faith comes in handy.
Animal said…
Yeah, I think that worry comes with being a parent. My best friend, whom I consider to be fearless (he once convinced me to break into a grain elevator by climbing up the outside of the thing to a little access door at the top...in the dark...in 6 inches of snow), really summed it up for me when his first was born:

"I now know what fear is."

So, as far as *I* can tell, you're just normal.
liv said…
hi Suze, My kids are now 8 and 7 and almost 2. With small kids you worry about accidents, educational issues, poisonning, drowning. With older kids it's more like "how am I ever gonna survive their teen age years". They are already so strong willed. To sum it up, worrying is healthy, it means that you care about them.That's just part of your job as a mommy. There's nothing you can do appart from yogatating, tea drinking, creating a safe environment for them and sharing all your worries with a close friend who knows what you're talking about.

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