don’t worry, be happy

by humanmama on May 16, 2011

Parents worry. It’s natural. Even if you’re not a “worrier” before being a parent, suddenly you are in charge of another life, and, if that doesn’t make you worry at least a little, well–I might get a little worried about you. There’s someone else to cook for, to care for. There’s another person’s while life in your hands, and you are the one who will be held accountable if something happens.

Hmm, that sounds  a little bleak. But really, you should worry a little. There’s a perfectly normal part of parents who have a little flash in their mind at 3am that says “should I check if the baby’s still breathing?” Even, I’m told, if said baby is sixteen years old.

That said, worrying too much does no one any good. Constantly thinking about every scenario in your mind over and over is not just a bother: it’s going to derail your enjoyment of this time in your kids’ life. Because it only happens once, and if you’re too busy wiping them down with disinfectant to let them pick up a worm, it just won’t be as much fun.

Also, it’ll turn your kids into major worriers too. Here’s an example: I hate goats. They scare me. (Terrify is a better word, really.) When I was about eight I had a red plaid jacket that I wore to a petting zoo, and a goat ate it. I mean, I narrowly escaped with one sleeve and my life. So recently, when my kids and I went to the petting zoo, I had to tamp down all of my aggressive worry and goat-hating ideation and just let my kids experience goats for themselves. I don’t want them to worry about goats, and I’ll pull them and any clothing away if it begins to get a little hungry. But I don’t want to put that worry and fear onto my kids. It was hard, but they loved those darn goats.

Local news: Goat does NOT eat child's jacket

Lilly is NOT a worrier...

My hubby, let’s refer to him as Carpenter from now on, as that is what he does (and, if you’re a carpenter, it really is who you are too), is a worrier. In fact, it’s only logical that he married me, a type-B “what’s-the-worst-that-could-happen” personality, since he is so opposite of that. He worries a lot. And, it is good at times, since it puts me in check: “should I be worrying about this? Maybe I should? Or at least, perhaps I should be a little more sensitive to others’ worry,” I think when he reminds me that there are other opinions in the world besides mine.

But there are times (many) that too much worry is detrimental. It can suck the joy outta life, and it can truly wreak havoc on a marriage. So to worriers, I say this. First: Thank you. You remind us to think. But second: what’s the worst-case scenario? Take that, and think about the likelihood that will happen. Maybe, hmm, 1 in 100? 1 in 1,000? Maybe 1 in one hundred million? My husband was not enjoying the trip down to Cancun (the Christmas surprise I got him this year) because he was thinking, “what if we both die in an airplane crash?” But I said, “what’s the real possibility of that?” And those statistics, along with a few small airplane-size bottles of coconut rum, helped him to be rational.

So don’t worry about the kids as much. It’s probably going to be okay. People have gone through worse and come out on the other side.

Or, maybe, invest in some coconut rum.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

aunt bea bea May 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Hilarious! I am working on not worrying! Tying to realize that I never had control and I still don’t …but I also know I’ve made ot this far. And like you said people have survived so much worse!! Thanks for making me laugh!!!


chuck cameron May 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm

You learned well, grasshopper.
Now you are the teacher.
Teach on!



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