As parents, you can probably agree that our brains never shut off. There is a constant barrage of thoughts running through our minds at any given time. But I have five things in particular that I can never seem to stop thinking about. Here they are in no particular order. (Oh who am I kidding? Sleep gets top spot.)
How do you get these beautiful babies to sleep for more than two hours in a row (and preferably not on top of me?) How do I help my toddler who's waking up from nightmares every night? How do I get my preschooler to stay in their bed and realize the speck of dust in their water cup is a figment of their 'procrastination'? And most importantly, will I ever sleep again? It will become a sort of constant loop of thoughts about sleep. Mostly because your brain is too tired to stop it from happening.
Yes. A big part of parenting is thinking about poop. We honestly don't appreciate its importance until we have kids. Then your baby goes through a bout of constipation and bam! Poop begins to occupy our headspace. You will think about size, consistency, frequency and colour. It's not at all unusual to discuss your child's bowel movements at a playdate, or in a mom's group. Might as well get used to it from now on!
As a parent, you will live in fear of vomit. When you hear that little Johnny at play group was vomiting at home the night before last, you will quietly pack up your things and make up some poor excuse on the way out. Anyone who's been with a child who is too young to puke in a bucket knows ... it's a messy business. And no matter how much you sterilize, you will still feel those germs are hunting you down.
Hmmmm. Maybe this one is just me. But I live in fear of my kids getting head lice. I'm fully aware there's no stigma with getting it anymore, but I also know that head lice are dang hard work to remove. So when the dreaded pink paper comes home saying there has been a case of head lice in the class, this Mama goes all commando on my kid's heads, checking every inch of their scalp to be sure we're OK.
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Am I screwing them up?
This question is at the forefront of every decision I've made. Like, did giving in to their demands at the grocery store checkout that one time screw them up forever in their obedience to authority? Did deciding against signing them up for piano lessons ruin my children's chance of discovering some untapped musical genius? When I only gave my kid's homework a cursory glance, is it going to cause my child to flunk out of high school down the road?
I have of course realized kids are very resilient creatures and it would take a lot more than my petty failures to screw them up. And yet still, it takes up a lot of my head space with the worry.
I'm lucky to finally be in the stage where I don't need to obsess over these things anymore. There's a light at the end of the sleep tunnel; I promise. And once you're at the end of that tunnel, you can scratch it off the list and gain some more headspace for other thoughts.
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