This is a tough one. I have plenty of habits that I’d like to get rid of. But without a doubt the habit which causes me the most grief and worry is…excessively worrying. I’ve always been a worrier; It’s part of my nature and I know there is nothing I can do to completely stop it. But over the years I have done my best to try and manage it. Becoming a mum introduced a whole new level of worry to my life though; Worry like I have never known worry before. The battle to retain control and try for some semblance of lighthearted living got a whole lot harder!
What is it I’m always worrying about?
Almost everything. Worrying seeps into my thoughts without me realising it. As I write this is just approaching 7:30am on a Friday. I don’t work on Fridays so the day is just me and H doing whatever we want. I’ve also just finished work for 2 weeks of hols – 18 days without having to go to the office – so I should be pretty chilled out. But no, I’m currently worrying about whether I should be waking H up because it could affect her lunchtime nap. Silly and unnecessary worrying*.
If we decide to go on a trip somewhere, or to visit family, the worrying appears as excessive planning. Sam always tells me I’m overly ‘logistical’ because he’ll suggest something and my immediate response is “Okay, yes we could leave at this time and stop at blah-di-blah for a snack…”; That’s my brain trying to get out it’s worry about doing something outside of the norm!
But the Mummy-Worry is the most crippling. Although I doubt I am completely alone in this. Pre-parenthood I would worry about Sam when he was cycling but otherwise he was an adult and could take care of himself. Not so with H. I worry about something happening to her everyday. From the little things like tripping and grazing her knee. To all and every bad thing that parents fear and dread. There are times when worrying about H has almost broken me emotionally.
So how do I try and stop worrying?
Accepting I am a worrier is something I did a long time ago. Worrying doesn’t have to be a weakness either; I think a little bit of worry keeps you alert and aware. Being mindful of what could happen stops me from taking unnecessary risk (anyone who knows me is well aware I’m a risk averse person!). But I don’t want it to consume me or, worse, to rub off on to H. I don’t want her to be full of fear because she’s got a panicky Mummy. So I need to continue to take a breath when worry kicks in and ask myself if I really need to be worried. I need to step back and let things play out a bit more but with a quiet contingency plan in my pocket…just in case!
I have also tried to limit my exposure to things which induce unnecessary worry. Obviously I don’t want to bury my head in the sand and ignore what’s happening in the world. But a good example was earlier this year where I was following a blogger who’d been through devastating and life-altering loss of a child. Her stories were heart-wrenching. I found myself drawn to reading each and every post she wrote. The side affect was I became incredibly paranoid about something happening to H. I compulsively watched her as she slept, trying to check she was breathing. In the end I had to stop following the blog. It’s not that I don’t care, but it was changing me. It would have ultimately affected my daughter.
And on that note, I really should go and get her up. It’s now 7:50am and I’m getting hungry!
*H got up at 7:50am. After a trip to a local playgroup and a walk around the front garden, she fell asleep at 12:05pm. As I said, unnecessary worrying. Although I’ve moved on since seeing a couple of bumps on her leg which I’ve convinced myself are chicken pox. It never stops…
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