Paranoia Parenting: Will It Ever Go Away?

It's okay to be a paranoid parent. 

Kids Cause Paranoia, Then They Laugh At You | LiesAboutParenting.com

An experienced mom shared this with me today, "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 tights, 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; Ryan 12 miles offshore without me in an 18 ft boat, Ashley 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 "right." 

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

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Kids Cause Paranoia, Then They Laugh At You | LiesAboutParenting.com

An experienced mom shared this with me today, "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."

The newest and oldest breed of parent? The Paranoia Parent. ​We're here to stay. 

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. ​

Ashley
 

Ashley Trexler is a passionate parent, dedicated to debunking popular parenting advice that doesn’t work, and raising healthier, happier kids. If you're sick of the same trite parenting advice everyone is spouting, you've come to the right place. She has contributed to Washington Post, Scary Mommy, and Tiny Buddha, in addition to many more awesome-sauce sites.

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