As a mother, my worries are abundant. And most of them link back to my children in one way or another, even if the journey is a little – or a lot – convoluted sometimes. With that in mind, here are 12 things I’m worrying about at the moment:
1. Tantrums. How long is this “threenager” thing going to last? Because I am getting really tired of yelling “NO!” And “STOP!” And “WHY did you just do that?!” at O All. The. Time. He’s going to be four soon and this is showing no signs of abating whatsoever. So maybe he’s actually just going to be a tiny tyrant forever? I don’t know.
2. Feeding F. In particular, I am concerning myself with when he is going to understand the difference between “food” and “stuff to play with/throw on the floor/squash into a gooey paste/stuff that should NEVER be eaten”. I mean, he tried to eat a fucking BANANA SKIN the other day. And not only that, but he actually seemed to like it. Is it okay for him to eat banana skin?! Does anybody know?!
3. Fracking. Is it going to happen on the enormous scale that I’m afraid it might, and if it does is my house going to fall down and are my children’s children going to be born with six eyes and 13 toes? Is it going to be like that scene from The Simpsons movie when the lake turns black and all of the animals start mutating? Seriously. It’s terrifying.
4. Fleas. Specifically, do I have them living in my house? I have two cats who spend a lot of their time sprinting around outside, chasing leaves and catching things that aren’t leaves (like the mouse from last Sunday). Every so often – maybe once a month – I will notice that I have a flea on my arm or my hand or something and I will freak out and instantly bypass any reasonable solution to this and go straight to the extreme mental headspace of I MUST BURN THE HOUSE DOWN IMMEDIATELY. Yes, I treat them every four weeks. Yes, the flea-on-the-arm incidents tend to coincide with treatments. And YES; I am definitely neurotic. I don’t really know why this bothers me so much, to be honest; I’m pretty sure there are shitloads of critters living in my house courtesy of my cats and I’ll bet most of them are a whole lot bigger than fleas.
5. Potty training. This is something I panicked about semi-regularly before we started the whole process with O and then abruptly stopped worrying over once we’d had a few dry weeks on the bounce. But F is 18 months old now and I know I’m going to be starting all over again within the next year or so. Will it be easy? Will he be at all interested in using the potty? And will I need a new rug in my lounge when it’s all over? So. Much. WORRY.
6. School. Last Monday we found out which school O will be going to in September and I am over the bloody moon that he got into our first choice. That’s not the issue. The issue is that when he first started playgroup, he cried every time I dropped him off for months. MONTHS. And it was fucking awful. Are we going to have to go through that trauma all over again? Cue panic. And will the other kids judge him if he does cry? Panicpanicpanic.
7. Stomach bugs. Everybody seems to have them at the moment – along with coughs, colds and chest infections – and I am terrified that one of the kids is going to bring one home and infect the whole house. Watching kids battling with profuse diarrhoea and vomiting is awful in any case, but when you throw emetophobia (fear of puking) into the mix it suddenly gets a whole lot worse.
8. Feeling rubbish all the time. I think I’ve been sick with one thing or another for at least the last FOREVER. I genuinely can’t remember the last time I felt anything other than vaguely terrible. Maybe during one of my two days of sort of ish wellness last week? But then I got a migraine, so that feeling didn’t last long. Seriously though; am I dying?!
9. My house and how I never actually feel as though it is clean. I find cat food and abandoned Fruit Shoots and other detritus all over the place all the time and I think the cloths from my steam mop are actually starting to wear out from overuse. It’s like trying to hold back the advancing tide with a leaky bucket. Or attempting to nail jelly to a tree. Or pretty much any other analogy ever used to describe the words “pointless” and “impossible”. I suppose the only upside is that F thinks cat food is actually human food (maybe this explains the banana skin thing), so he just wanders through the house picking up the stray bits and munching them down. Every cloud.
10. Money. I think the only people who don’t worry about money are the fortunate few with an abundance of it. The rest of us are regularly battling with financial freak-outs and, let’s be honest, the immediate post-budget period is usually a pretty troubling and uncomfortable time for most of us. And isn’t it bloody awful when everyone has birthdays and anniversaries around the same time? People are so inconsiderate sometimes.
11. Child-friendly activities. Am I doing enough with my children? Do they enjoy our country walks and mini-adventures or is it only me who’s getting anything out of just not being bored in my messy, dirty house all day? Do they wonder why I keep dragging them out and promising, in a slightly manic tone, that “it will be super fun!”? Surely they must be wondering by now, given how our days out have a tendency to err on the side of disaster, what actually even constitutes for fun anyway and if they should perhaps be a little wary of it.
12. Tiredness. Some days I wonder if there will ever come a time when I am no longer constantly tired. Will I finally wake up one morning and think “wow, I actually feel like I’ve been to sleep!”? I can’t actually remember the last time that happened and I am so fucking tired. My child-free friends drive me crazy when they moan to me about being tired. They don’t understand, bless them, that their tired and my tired exist in completely different dimensions and do not belong in the same room with each other because I will lose my shit if you think you have a right to complain about tiredness when you stayed out until 5am and don’t have small humans jumping on your head half an hour later.
My worries change on a regular basis, but these are the ones that seem to be the most prevalent. Of course, I worry about milestones quite a lot too, which has been made rather a lot worse by a poster I saw during a yoga class a month or so ago informing me that F should be saying 20 words by now. But I find those worries much easier to rationalise these days because I have been a parent long enough to know that every kid is different and they all do things at their own pace and in their own time. And it’s not like F doesn’t say anything; it’s just that a lot of what he says isn’t actual words. Or maybe it’s just not English…
I’d love to hear about your worries or if any of these apply to you too!