This summer, I have become keenly aware of the amount of fear, anxiety and paranoia I experience as a parent.
These are just a few of the things that have been weighing on my mind.
- Car Seats – I realized a few weeks ago, that my children’s car seats are not properly installed. On some level, this is completely inconceivable to me given the amount of time and effort I’ve spent trying to figure out how my children’s car seats AND the extra money I spent on car seats that were “easier” to install, but it would be better if they were tethered.
- Water – drowning and car accidents are the most common causes of death in children under the age of 18. And in Florida, there is water everywhere. My home does not have a pool. I don’t want a home that has a pool for two reasons. First, I am not good at maintenance and the idea of maintaining a pool is completely daunting to me. Second, I just don’t think I could handle the fear of my children drowning. Nevertheless, I feel like I’m not free of fear – there’s a retention pond in my front yard, a canal behind my house (both of which could have alligators in them), a giant ocean 20 minutes from my house and a whole bunch of waterways that lead into them. What if my kids fall in???? oh yeah, and a bathtub, which both of my children are smart enough to turn on anytime they want to have a bath.
- Food. Am I feeding my children enough? Too much? Are they getting all their vitamins? If I give them packaged food will they have childhood diabetes? Will they be part of the childhood obesity epidemic? What if they’re too small? Why won’t they eat breakfast????
- Screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics highly recommends that you limit screen time for your children. I can tell it makes a big difference, especially at the end of the day. But on the other hand, sometimes, I just want to be able to plop them in front of an educational program for 30 minutes to an hour and take a shower by myself.
- Teeth. My daughter had her first dentist appointment last month. It is something I’ve been putting off for two years. For reasons that are completely inexplicable to me, I was terrified that she was going to have a mouth full of cavities, need a root canal, and braces all on her first visit. So, when the dentist delicately informed me that there was a small cavity in between her front two teeth, but her teeth were otherwise in great shape I was ecstatic. Nevertheless, I am struggling with the balance between letting her take responsibility for her own oral hygiene (have you ever tried to convince a headstrong toddler that “no really, you should let me brush your teeth”) and wanting to micromanage her flossing – despite her protests – to be sure it’s done correctly.
I’m a big believer that when we shine a light on our fears they become less powerful. We can see them for what they really are and deal with them rather than the big, scary shadows of fear that we project when we let them run wild. In fact, just writing all this down has calmed the anxiety I feel.
I also believe that the antidote to fear is information, so here are some resources I’ve found useful.
The Story in Our Smiles – On Point Radio, June 15, 2017
Speaking of screen time, this episode of Sesame Street, Abby’s First Sleep Over – solved a lot of problems for me with my daughter going to bed and brushing her teeth.
For some reason, Elmo telling her to brush her teeth was more persuasive than me. Also, the kids on Sesame Street showing her how to fall asleep was better than anything I ever tried. So…sometimes a little bit of television can save you a huge amount of pain and suffering.