Your Biggest Parenting Fear Faced – Huffington Post

An older and wiser mother shared this with me, “See, kids are evil — they force you to worry about everything! Dogs barking in the middle of the night, oh, it’s probably a stray cat or the wind.

With kids — it’s a serial killer or kidnapper, did you lock all the doors and windows?

Kids make you paranoid, and then they laugh at you.”

You’ll never sleep the same way again, after kids.

A tiny, unreasonable part of me hoped it wasn’t true.

I was wrong. The fear sticks in my belly whenever I think about my daughter. The waiting, watching and anxiety makes my shoulders tight, and I swear, that’s why the lines around my eyes appeared.

Pre-kids, a part of me hoped the fear would ease as she grew.

But then my dad started talking about life after kids, and it hit me — I’ll never NOT be afraid for my daughter.

He found this post and commented,

“…being a father changes most men. My biggest change was fear. There was virtually nothing I was afraid of until my children were born- then I came to know fear, mostly imagined, as a daily companion.

I went from worrying about nothing to worrying about everything that might hurt them. SIDS, the pool, the proximity of the house to the road, would they choke on a piece of food I didn’t cut small enough, the pool (OMG why did I build that damn nightmare in their backyard?), epidemics (really, just a virus — but maybe Dengue Fever!), and on and on it went.

And it never goes away; My son at 28 years old, 12 miles offshore without me in an 18 ft boat, my grown daughter flying off to Argentina or wherever. And now we’ve added the grandkids to assure my anxiety level remains elevated.

Pass the Maalox, please.”

It’s the “most imagined” part of the fear that we need to pay attention to because while fear is natural, it is (largely) not warranted. There are not masses of pedophiles waiting to rape our children.

Our youngest children can eat unsliced grapes.

Our older children need trust, education and independence.

Our job, as good parents is to push through that wall of fear. To give our kids the room to grow and not suffocate them in the process of raising them the “right” way.

Life may be full of danger, but that does not make our lives dangerous.

Question of the day: What’s the newest, and oldest, style of parenting?

Answer: Parenting.

Plain and simple.

I’ve accepted it — I’ll never sleep well again.

And that’s okay by me. Now I just have to do my best to leverage that fear into teachable moments, and not be consumed by it. ​