Are You a Neurotic Mom? I May Have You Beat

Tree Climbing with SquirrelOn a summer trip to Hilton Head, SC I realized that I may actually be the most neurotic mom on the planet. I first noticed this when we were at the park and children where climbing to the top limbs of these winding ancient oaks. In Florida, we don’t have many climbing trees, unless you have the ability to shimmy up a palm. Growing up in Maryland, I remember climbing those trees, and of course the memories that stand out most to a neurotic mom are the one’s of the kids that fell out and broke their own limbs.

So, there I was an inch from my child, ready to steady him at his first errant step. At the same time I was prepared to jump under some random 10yr old Evel Knievel, 25ft up, and let him use my frame to break his impending fall. “Where are that kid’s parents?” I asked my husband, as I was quite certain if they had witnessed his indiscretion in the tree, they would be giving him a stern talking to. Then over walked his dad. The kid said, “Who thinks, I’m gonna fall off and die?” To which the sensitive dad replied, “Well don’t do it halfway. If you only break something we’re gonna end up spending the whole night at the hospital.” Maybe you found that obnoxious, maybe you found it funny, I found it horrifying. But it seems that the general parenting attitude – outside of these very sheltered towns I’ve managed to live in – is one of ease and nonchalance. My husband has this attitude; he believes everything will be all right, whereas I think those crazy things that seem so rare are common occurrences and second guess my every decision, for fear of what those choices may have unleashed upon my family.

One of these choices was to sign the kids up for a day of Adventure Camp. I wanted to take advantage of the amazing golf. Scratch that, my husband wanted to take advantage of the amazing golf. He’ll be happy I mentioned “him,” “scratch,” and “golf” in the same sentence. The Adventure Camp wasn’t so adventurous. It was mainly 4 and 5 year olds and boasted a 1:3 counselor to camper ratio. They took the kids crabbing on the beach and then raced their crabs. Then they brought them to a shaded pool, low enough to stand in.  Though I didn’t really care if we golfed or not, I reminded myself that sometimes your husband needs to do a bit of what he wants on a family vacation. Since, I rarely if ever put him first, or second, or third for that matter, I decided to let my kids enjoy a day at camp while we golfed. I know, it was the best choice for my kids and my husband, but for me, it was the one that caused the most anxiety. The other parents were in and out at drop off, but I spent quite some time saying my goodbyes, and assessing the counselors. I thoroughly interviewed them, asking about their lifesaving credentials, their head count procedures, and how I could contact them to check on my kids.

How many moms know how debilitating it is to worry over so many things at once? How hard it is to just enjoy something when scary scenarios keep popping into your head? I was relieved when we saw them at the pool in the afternoon; a surprise encounter that was only slightly planned on my part. Then in the hour between the pool and camp pickup a torrential downpour ensued and I had to start worrying all over again. Would the trolley skid or would someone slip on the wet brick pathways? After pick up I could breathe more freely, but I couldn’t help wonder, what kind of disservice I’m doing to my children by not allowing them to do things that other parents seem to have no problem with?

Comment Question:

What do you think, can you relate? Are you a worrier or easy goer?

12 thoughts on “Are You a Neurotic Mom? I May Have You Beat

  1. Bari

    It seems as though worrying has become an unwanted vocation. Sometimes it ” runs ” in families. One parent “copes” with worry and unconsiously they may be unaware they’ve tought their child to ” cope ” the same way. So, if you’ve learned by experience that worry is an uncomfortable means of coping, and don’t wish for your children to succumb to it, perhaps it’s time to stop that wheel and utilize alternate strategies for problem solving i.e. seeking accurate information such as camp policy, prior to registration or informing the kids about general safety behaviors before they climb to the top of a tree. Then you distract yourself, let go and let G-d and let your kids grow up to be “normal neurotics” not “neurotic wordless”!

  2. insanitykim

    I have spent the week crying, calling doctors and vets, the CDC, cleaning, crying more, scouring the internet for hours on end, all because we got a baby chihuahua…and he has roundworms…which my kids theoretically could get.

    I lost 4 pounds this week from worrying, cleaning, crying and praying…all over something no one else is freaking out about…not even the vet who let him lick all over her face…

    We’re braving the storm though…it’s the only way I can help myself get better…

    Man, good thing I am so cute and funny! Sheesh…

    Oh. Do I win?

  3. Jerseygirl89

    I have a tendency to veer in that direction, but my own mother was very over-protective (to my detriment, I believe) so I have developing some coping mechanisms. If I can see the kids, I believe they’re not going to fall out of the tree or drown or whatever. If they are in an enclosed space, such as a classroom or the tot drop at the gym, I believe that the teachers can take care of them. When the scary scenarios flash through my mind, I review all the ones that haven’t happened yet.

  4. Jenny from the blog Post author

    Nancy- We have alligators in our backyard!!! I’ve worried to the limit on that one.
    Kim- let’s call it a tie. I think we’d make each other crazy if we met in person
    Jerseygirl- ditto

  5. rachy

    well, i’ll admit defeat on this one! with our first, we were less neurotic, and until he broke his nose in football in HS, that worked out ok. with our second, he has the record for trips to the ER starting at 18 mos. with a squished finger (curstosy of big brother in a brief moment with neither of us nearby) and continuing up to 3 weeks ago, including some medical conditions that we couldn’t have done anything about even if we wanted to. so, perhaps our approach of being “mildly to moderately neutoric” proved ok, now that they both survived to legal age.

  6. cherie

    Neurotic sometimes not neuotic others. Being a parent causes us to worry about our kids, whether it be outwardly shown or expressed inside to ourselves. Some parents do better jobs of keeping it inside, but I think we all worry.

  7. Tiffany

    I thought I worried about my son too much until my father moved in. Being older, he thinks everytime my son runs or climbs on the couch he’s going to fall and break his head open.

    I have told my son that I don’t want him to get hurt because it’s expensive and I’m still paying the hospital for the tubes in his ears. He is three so I’m sure he understands the budgeting process at this point. Lol!

  8. Carol Tice

    As my sister pointed out to my last weekend after my daughter knocked the bottoms of her two front teeth out after failing to tie her shoelace with her adventure-camp group…unless you put them in a protective plastic bubble for the rest of their lives…stuff is going to happen to them.

    My younger two are part monkey and are always on the top of the tree, junglegym, couch, etc. So I’ve had to learn to be serene about it.

    Until last weekend, they’d never actually fallen before…sigh. Now I’ll probably be more neurotic about it…funsie.

    As far as other peoples’ kids, I’m never shy about saying, “Son! Don’t you think you’re up too high there?” if the situation calls for it. To me that’s not neurotic, that’s being a village…

    Keep up the great work, Jenny! Laughs continuously needed around here, and always in short supply…

  9. Susan

    Here’s how I release myself from these fears. At this age kids mend pretty easily. I want them to learn to climb, skate, run, jump and balance now, while they will most likely heal up just fine. I think it would be worse to have a kid who never got the chance to climb the tree at 5, then tried it at 17 with no inherent skill or athletic abilities. In other words, when I start to hover and freak out uncontrollably, I tell myself I don’t want to make them complete dorks in middle school. That IS a fate worse than death 🙂

    PS- this does not mean I don’t count every minute that they are in a car without me. How can they be ok without my magical mommy protective force field. This I am still working on…

  10. Petula

    As usual you’ve managed to make me chuckle. I have been somewhere in between for most of my children’s lives, but with a “child” who is 19 I have very few episodes of neurotic mom moments. My young ones are 3, 5 and 6, and my most worrisome moments currently are that my youngest keeps getting sick. If she climbs a tree or does something equally as precarious I yell for her to get down. If she doesn’t then I say, “I don’t want to hear not one word when you fall and break your neck.” Then I go about my business.

    I no longer have to worry about my middle daughter climbing trees too much because the last time she did she got stung by a bee and couldn’t get down ’cause she was so traumatized. Her brother couldn’t get her to come down and I heard screaming. Mom to the rescue: Slippers and all. I almost kill both of us climbing a tree in slippers to a child who refuses to move. SIGH… Needless to say, the tongue lashing and her been scared seem to have cured her a little. I on the other hand say, “Climb if you want, remember that bee?”

    BTW: I lived in MD from the age of about 11 on ’til I left home. My mom is still there (her hometown) on the Eastern shore living near the same trees I climbed and the same woods I wandered through looking out for wild dogs.

    A little worrying is okay, but let go of the neurotic moments so you can enjoy yourself. Not too much in this direction ’cause I’m one of the parents running out of the door at drop off then getting 1/2 a mile away before I remember that I wanted to ask a necessary question. My response? “Oh well, they’ll be awwiiight!”



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