Something odd happens when you have a baby. You transform. One minute you don’t have a care in the world and the next you start to worry.
You worry about things you never even thought you could worry about. You obsess about bodily functions of a small infant and lie awake imagining scenarios of the future; both good and bad.
As your children get older, the anxieties change. We start to think more about screen time and online safety rather than stair-gates and cradle cap.
But we never stop worrying.
My children are still young so I am yet to enter the gut-wrenching endurance test of parenting a teenager with cars and alcohol and all that comes with the slippery slope of independence.
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I conducted a quick straw poll of my mum-friends to find out what keeps them awake at night when they thought about their children. Aside from usual worries of finances and household chores, we generally had practical, pragmatic concerns with control over our children’s diet rating high on the list.
The top seven worries that kept us awake at night were:
1. Every day health
From the day that they are born, every rash, every sniffle, every temperature is a vehicle for anxiety. Luckily (or perhaps not so luckily) for us parents of today, we have Dr Google to assist us. One thing I have learnt is that the more kids you have the less worried about simple sicknesses you become. With baby number one, I was rushing off to emergency at every lingering temp and sleepless at every rash. By child number three, nine times out of 10 whatever it is can wait till morning.
2. Car safety
It’s a worry, but an important one. Driveway accidents, incorrectly fitted car seats, road safety. As much as you try to manage it, there are always certain things about the roads that are out of our control and that seems to be what stresses out mums the most.
3. Bullying and friendships
I struggle on a day-to-day basis with trying not to be concerned about my children’s friendships. I want them to be happy and the thought of them being left out, of being bullied, of them being friendless and lonely makes me ache inside. I think the best thing we can do is demonstrate to them positive role modeling, and keep the dialogue going so hopefully they will always confide in you.