I am a worrier mum. I worry about my kids all the time.
I used to worry that they weren’t eating enough red meat, now I worry that I’ve been giving them too much red meat. I worry if they’re out in the sun too long, but then what if they’re not out in the sun enough?
It’s like every day I read the news and find something new to worry about. Who would have thought vegetable oil was so dangerous that we’d be better off cooking in butter or lard? Do I have to throw out my kids’ crayons in case they have asbestos in them? Is it true that children grow up with a stronger immune system if you wash dishes by hand instead of using a dishwasher? (Please don’t let it be true. I couldn’t go back to washing dishes by hand.)
How about screentime – is it bad for kids’ eyes, their brains, their self-esteem? And if I don’t let my kids have any screentime, when do I get to sit down and have a quiet glass of wine?
I’m sure worrying is a natural part of being a parent. I’m sure that other parents felt the same way I did, when I was holding my newborn baby: “What, you’re trusting me with the responsibility of keeping her alive? Me?” Yep, that massive responsibility is mine, and will be for years to come.
I guess the key is to work out what’s really important when it comes to looking after our kids, and then do something about it. We have to make sure we don’t get so overwhelmed by the deluge of warnings that we overlook the simple things that protect our kids on a day-to-day basis.
The fact is, the leading cause of death for Australian children aged between one and 14 is land transport accidents. That comes ahead of cancer or any kind of diseases or accidental poisoning. It means that what we really need to worry about it keeping our kids safe when they’re on the road.