A couple of my friends had babies recently and that always takes me back to when I had a baby. To that newborn stage. That glorious, overwhelming, heart-outside-of-your-chest time when everything was about sleep and poop and boobies. Did I mention SLEEP?
It also made me realize how far I’ve come as a Mom. I feel so far removed from breast pumps and Boppy pillows. I don’t miss all that worry about sleeping patterns, high fevers, constipation, weird rashes, and every other medical question I would look up in my giant American Academy of Pediatrics manual. How am I supposed to go to bed if he might accidentally roll over on his stomach and DIE? The newborn worry is big and magnified because everything is just so,well, NEW, including this human that someone just took out of my belly.
Then, there’s the general baby worry. He’s going to choke on this rice cereal. She has a clogged tear duct and the surgery is “no big deal” except that it’s a REALLY BIG DEAL. And forget about “baby proofing.” There are entire websites dedicated to baby proofing your home, but even if I buy those socket covers, plastic door knobs, and toilet closure thingies, my baby will still manage to face plant into their Playskool Ball Popper. Yep, that happened.
Next, the worry turns into all those annoying milestones. Why isn’t she walking? Why isn’t he talking? I had a piece of paper on my refrigerator to write down every word my son said because one book proclaimed “25 words by age two.” This is also the era of comparisons. You’re told not to compare your darling child to anyone else’s darling child, but YOU DO. Why is Cooper walking when my kid is still crawling? Why does Maddie have FOUR TEETH already? That kid over there is climbing the stairs ONE FOOT AT A TIME. What?! This worry is more intellectual and researched, so it’s less about keeping your kid alive and more about keeping them upright on life’s fast-moving conveyor belt.
Then, it happens. Your kid enters SCHOOL. Now the worry is about their safety and their classmates, which is sometimes one in the same. In preschool, there’s biting and separation anxiety. In elementary school, there are reading levels and navigating the social stuff. Are they making friends and being kind to people? Are they HAPPY? There are weird viruses, new allergies, sports injuries, and academic competition. This worry is more intense, but has settled into me like a new layer of skin. I’ve accepted it as part of being a Mom. I’ve also loaded up on the wine.
And when I think about the future? With teenagers? Well, that worry is loaded with cyber bullies, peer pressure, SAT scores, and two driver’s licenses. Yikes. I hope my layer of skin will have turned into protective armor by then and I’ll be poised and ready for anything. But you know what? I think I’ll stay here, with today’s worry and a nice glass of red, for a little while longer. Cheers, Moms!