It's easy to think that other parents have it together, when the truth is, almost everyone goes through meltdown periods of "what am I doing and why have I been wearing the same clothes for four days?" (And, if you read some of the comments here, signs of candid weakness are ripe for the mocking.) But nobody is completely placid and competent all the time. I'm willing to bet that even the most capable robo-mom sometimes questions herself. (And so do dads! But this blog is from a mom's perspective.) Second-guessing is part of life, and sometimes it helps to know we're all in this together. So, I polled a group of mom friends the other day to figure out what weighs on us the most. Balancing work with parenting? Money? Nutrition? Sleep? Head lice? I got a wide range of answers. Here are a few, from the serious to the silly.
"Am I being in the present moment and really there enough with my child? Because, as everyone tells us all, it goes by so quickly. I really want to be in the moment and engaged more with all of them, together and as individuals."
"That they are getting sunburns because the camp counselors aren't applying it enough. And that they will get lice. Those are my biggest fears."
"That my son won't understand why I enjoy working and how it makes me a better mom,
when he's old enough to understand that."
"Time. I love to be alone. But there's no time for me, or it rarely happens."
"Money, and how that impacts their schooling and community."
"Squabbling with my husband in front of our kids. Sometimes we can't help but bicker. What are we supposed to do, go outside and scream, leaving them inside in front of the TV?"
"I'm afraid that I'm not capable of having the focus to be a good mom. My ADD symptoms get waaaaaay worse with sleep deprivation and a lack of solo downtime."
"Pumping at work."
"That someone will be mean to my daughter at daycare, or they won't give her enough attention. They seem attentive when I'm there for drop-off and pick-up, but I don't know what goes on during the other eight hours."
"Trying to buy a house while also paying for daycare. I don't want to leave the city and my 'old' life, but we can't afford to stay here."
"That if I bow out of the workforce for any length of time, it'll be near impossible to get re-hired when my kids are older."
"Enormity of the responsibility. Feeling everyday how important it is that I raise a good human being who can stand on her own feet."
"That my kid won't get into a decent BPS kindergarten and I'll have no choice but to give up on everything we've worked toward and move to the 'burbs. It makes me feel very powerless."
"That we'll discover my kids will have serious health issues, because my sisters' kids do."
"Autism. With my first child, I was compulsively Googling 'early autism signs' and suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety."
"That something awful will happen to my daughter on my watch."
"Milestones, especially with younger kids. People are constantly asking if [my son] is walking, and I'm like, 'Hell, no!'"
"That I won't be able to get pregnant a second time, because it was so easy the first time."
"Spending on myself or working toward our financial goals (and then I feel like a frugal frump). Where is the balance? How much can/should you take care of yourself, and at what point are you selfish?"
"I worry that I am just doing an 'OK' job. I know I can't get a check-plus every day, but I feel like I should be doing more to stimulate and open [my daughter's] mind to new things, to help her explore her senses and to help her achieve greatness. I have this amazing opportunity to stay at home, and I want to feel that I did all that I could if and when I have to return to work."
"Being judged about my feeding choices by other moms."
"I worry about my husband just suddenly deciding he wants out."
"I guess I worry that we're never going to have a point where we have a financial cushion, and that [my daughter] may miss out on some of the things that I got to experience when I was growing up, because I did have that cushion. It seems like a kind of spoiled worry though because realistically we are always going to be able to handle basic needs, whether we do that ourselves or get help from family or whatever, so in that sense we are spoiled, and I'm worrying about something that actually just reflects my relatively privileged position."
"I have mostly been stressing over the flat spot on my kid's head and scheduling/timing/getting everything done."
In the spirit of full disclosure, here's my woe: I'm always freaking out about the economy and rising interest rates and stuff. And then I worry that my worry is rubbing off on my son, so I try not to show that I'm worried, because I don't want to miss out on quality time and feel like I'm only half-present while we're doing something benign, like playing trains. (Helpful parenting hint: Do not Google "Ben Bernanke" from iPhone while also building a Lego tower.)
Phew! What do you worry about? And, if you don't worry, what's your secret and want to meet for happy hour? Share your troubles right here.
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