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September 02, 2008


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Please be sure your mom talks to someone. She sounds like she is in a depression and needs some guidance.

It is heartening to hear that other moms fear the same stuff that I do. The thing is, when we grow up in shit, it's easy to understand that shitty things happen to children. Because of this understanding, we view the world in a light that is different from those that were not abused. While there is beauty to our pain, I pray that my sweet beautiful son never has to gain such beauty by experiencing such pain.

This is an international epidemic! I'm Australian and I have been freaking myself out for the last ten years - ever since my first child was born. I want to prepare them without terrifying them, I want to protect them without smothering them and I want them to be able to protect themselves as well ... that's all. I think the what if that really scared me was when I started to worry that I was going to go MAD and do something terrible to them myself! It made me realise that a lot of this comes from our self doubt - we have this enormous responsibility; are we up to it? What if we fail them? What if my own flaws have a negative impact on my kids... like last night when my husband and I had a huge fight and the kids were actually hiding from us because they were so scared. I'm not so worried about the paedophile any more (though that still scares me!); it's MY OWN impact that really has me concerned!! I feel like the worst parent ever...

I fear that I am missing the fact that someone is already hurting my children right under my nose. Overwhelmingly the threats come from people you think you can trust. I was left with a trusted person and was hurt. I worry that I will either miss it or over control their little worlds so that they do not have to suffer early loss of innocence. So hard to temper.

It's so hard to not be over protective as a parent, the radio is playing what feels like an endless parade of amber alerts, the newspapers and television news shows don't help either. My Mother let me run all over the place growing up, and I can't let my children out of my sight without hyperventilating.

You're right, everyone needs a shoulder now and then.

Definitely can relate! For me it's the criminals of the world - someone waiting to harm my child physically or emotionally and steal her innocence. It's school -how can I ever let her go there?? It's a place where she isn't protected from the evils of the world, where I can't see or hear what she's being exposed to or how she's being treated. It's the fear of the innocence lost.

Like another poster, I used to be so fearless also and now I fear EVERYTHING. That's what parenthood has done to me. I don't want to put fear in my duaghter though, so I combat it everyday, FEARING that I'm not doing a good enough job.

I love this blog!

I, too, find myself avoiding "triggers" (other peoples' sad stories, depressing news, serious movies) to fend off anxiety and worry. I've been medicated heavily at one point (after a health issue came to light two months after my son was born) and since wondered if I should have left the medication behind.

I have no problem w/ those who take medicine to help them cope, but I used to *still* feel sad and worried... and the medicine would only make me feel numb & not happy. I still felt like crying, only I physically couldn't.

It's a very serious matter (depression/anxiety/worry) and I feel like most people can't truly sympathize unless they've personally experienced it. Not because they don't want to, but because it's inexplicable.

You know you've been depressed when you find yourself understanding why others commit suicide.

Well said.

I always lock the baby gate at the top of the stairs at night too.

Oh my this was a wonderful post that hit so close to home.

I used to feel so fearless and now I feel anxious much of the time - I hate it - I've just dealt with so many difficult things the last few years that have shaken me to my core and made me worry about how elusive things can be.

Nice to hear I'm not alone...

Great post! It is nice to see we are not alone, dealing with our fears. One thing today that upsets me is that if you let your children play outside without being right there someone might call the police about your 'child neglect'. Even if you are comfortable about giving the children room to be, someone else feels it is necessary that you act like the world is a scary place and if you don't they will bring the authorities down on you.

Wow, I think we live in the same world. If my mother had opened up to me and I to her, I would have been spared a very crappy first marriage at a young age.

regarding helicopter parents... i agree to an extent. i was a latchkey kid some days, and always walked to and from school on my own, 1st grade through 12th. I wasn't kidnapped, raped, or murdered. Now, I acknowledge some people are more unfortunate, but then again, there's an element of danger everywhere. BUT in today's atmosphere, i think it's very important to arm your child with a sense of awareness, importance, and self-defense. because there MIGHT be a stranger who wants to entice your baby into his car, (happened to me once) and your child will have the understanding, and the tools to refuse and get away safely. ignorance is not really bliss, you know? you've got to give children their own tools to help out with your own parental armory.

as i get older, i understand the anxiety your mother feels. i've had friends who've killed themselves, as well as my own mother, a year ago. i'm 21, and i can't rein in the terror that my best friend's going to walk out the door and get killed by a car, or my baby brother's going to get struck with some illness, or that my dad's going to die in a house fire (he's a firefighter.) and so many bad things have happened to my close friends, that i honestly am on edge when i leave the house. (partly because i had a stalker for three years previously) and because i just cannot withstand any more tragedy, any more loss, and i feel that if confronted with any more hardship, i really might break.

i choke up at news articles about families dealing with Alzheimer's, cancer, children dying from horrible diseases, and it's all i can do not to break down in tears.

and also, i too have a tenuous relationship with my father, and did with my mother. you can't imagine how much i regret that now, and how difficult it is to navigate those lost bridges with my dad after years of being an independent kid, as independent as minimum wage allowed, ha.

long comment aside, i relate. and wow, love this blog. and evaluating long comment, i think i need counseling.

do your best with your mother, keep bridging gaps for as long as you have, it's one of the hardest things in the world to lose a parent.

I'm the same way when my hubby is gone too. He's usually gone during the week and home on weekends. I often ponder how I will make it from my room to my daughter's if I hear someone break in. Will I hear them break in? It never used to bother me until I had her.

Shit. I live in Alaska so when the hubby is gone (which is like yours, for weeks and weeks at a time), I am not scared of people. But bears. Yep. BEARS. Breaking into our house at night. lol. It won't be that funny if it ever happened though. I have a huge gun locked away in the closet if anyone ever tries to mess with me or my family. Yep. Gun. Hey, this is ALASKA. Bears were out in my neighbors back yard a couple of weeks ago.

It's hard to know where to draw the line between smothering and hovering. I lock everything, triple check that my kid's car seats are installed correctly, and don't let my kids play in the backyard (someone saw a snake back there once). Believe it or not, I'm the lax parent.

When we moved back to our old town, I spent a few months not sleeping, watching the gate at the top of the stairs. It wasn't until i started taking Serafem (girly Prozac) that I started sleeping again. I still watch the stairs some nights but am able to go downstairs in the middle of the night now - but I have a night light in most rooms. What I want to know is how much children pick up on? All of a sudden my 3 1/2 year old is talking about bad men and yesterday she asked "What if the bad men come in the house and kill Cind... erella?" The creepy part? I have a friend named Cindy who was murdered. Where do they come up with this stuff? I've been thinking about what she said all day and then I found this blog and the comments and feel a lot better knowing I'm not the only gate locker and escape ladder junkie.

There's a reason why I keep an endless supply of Friends episodes on the DVR and My Best Friend's Wedding next to the DVD player. They're like mindless lullabies when I just can't stop my mind from running away with itself. I think of all sorts of outrageous possibilities. I had an overactive imagination before being a mom, but now it is out of control.

Nice to know that I'm not the only one who won't watch news or scary stuff when home alone and has a back up plan. I'm often told I'm "too safe" but I just think of it as careful even when my mind races and won't allow me to sleep.

You're so right about typing it out. Friday I wrote about maybe needing to be medicated, and then Monday I pretty much backed it up with my irrational ranting.

But after I hit publish yesterday I felt *so* much better! Writing is my medication.

Thanks for being so brave to write the way you do. Hell, it's not that hard for me... I don't have that many readers yet!

I'm so glad to read this. Sometimes I think it's just me with the escape plans. I had to stop watching crime dramas, because I always imagined the people to be my kids. I take something to help with anxiety (depression too), I have for a while now, but sometimes it still overwhelms me. It's better with the meds (although I know it's not for everyone), because before that, I had only slept for three hours a night for years. And I thought it was normal. I used to sneak into the girls rooms to make sure they were still there and breathing, like four times a night.

I truly hope your mom gets some help.

I'm like that, too. When my husband works late, I'm always worried that he's lying in a ditch somewhere.

I've lived in fear, and it sucks. I just try to laugh about it, but there are times when I feel dark. I just hope I don't smother my kids or pass on my fears.

I learned long ago that I also cannot watch scary movies. Since having a child, I can't hear news or even watch fictional shows about harm coming to them. I know it happens, but I get completely wound up if I hear about them. Thank goodness for our security system (which would be an earlier warning than the babygate at the stairs).

My worries is that I won't be able to manage my child(ren) with my seasonal depression. We made it through the first winter, but every year I get such anxiety about the coming winter. As we have more kids, I worry that I won't deal well in the winter. So this year, I'm going to try meds and see how that goes.

That does feel a little better. I hope that your mom is okay and can get help, if that's what she needs.

Now that I have my own baby, I completely understand why, when I was a teenager and 5 minutes late for curfew, I found my mother bawling hysterically on the front porch. She had totally built an entire story of my death up in her head in the 5 minutes I was late. Maybe we should all call our moms tonight and let them know we're okay.

I lock our gate, too! I'm so glad to hear that I am not the only person who thinks of these things. Since having my son, I've often wondered where these thoughts came from. Now I wonder if my mom did this when we were little, and how she hid it so well!

Oh my gosh, I so do this! I am absolutely, irrationally fearful that someone is going to break into my house and kidnap my son while I'm asleep. If he sleeps past a certain time in the morning, I will wake up just SURE that he's gone missing. He's always in his bed though, just catching a little extra sleep.

God, can you read my mind or what? Last night my imagination ran away with itself again, and I thought of your escape plans and my own tenuous control over my anxiety.

Your mother's been through so much. You too, my friend.

(I need to buy You've Got Mail on DVD. That will be my non-pharmaceutical happy pill.)

As a related note, here are a couple of articles I read about whether or not the world is more dangerous for our kids today:



Geez, I thought I was the only one who wakes herself up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep because of the "what ifs". I practically feel sick to my stomach when my 10 year old goes out for a solo bike ride around the neighborhood. I know she can't have the kind of freedom that I had as a kid, but I have to give her some. I just can't wait until I see her pull up to the house and I can finally breathe again. I hate that part of "todays world". Other kids her age are allowed to do a lot more than I let her do, but I think their parents are stupid.

My daughter is 21 months old and I still check every night to make sure she's breathing. I just read "Protecting the Gift" by Gavin de Becker (who also wrote "The Gift of Fear"), and I highly recommend it as a way to channel and use fear positively.

I'm so relieved to hear that others plan their escapes out in their mind (which child to grasp first, which windows are good to jump out of if necessary) when their husbands are traveling. Thought I was the only crazy one!!

So many of your posts really resonate with me; this one in particular. My daughter is 3 and we've had two trips to the ER already (dog bite to the face and chin on coffee table) and I swear I have post traumatic stress disorder and can't hear a siren when I'm out without thinking it's headed to my house. We're having our second and I think the overwhelming sense of vulnerability and fear is what I am most concerned about (ha, now I'm worried about my worrying!) Thanks for writing this and I hope your mom gets the help she needs.

I have that same exact plan about locking the gate at the top of the stairs- I think about it often as I lay down to sleep- as a Mother I think we're naturally always prepared and thinking about the worst, and hoping it never comes true.


The top of the stairs gate... I do that too, with the very same thinking. Sometimes I wonder if they will pick up on my nervousness, my strange emergency planning and maybe become less trusting themselves.

The first few months my daughter was alive, I'd lay there trying not to go into her room to check on her breathing. I'd work myself up into ridiculous states of fear. One night, I had to tell myself to let it go. To let the fates have it.

That didn't get rid of my fears, but it put them in perspective for me.

Still, I also plan escape routes, worry and fret through my nighttime routine. I guess that's our lot.

Once in a while I'll let go, just a little, but then I hear some horrible news story about a boy who was kidnapped from his own front yard or a girl who died in a hit and run in a parking lot, and I'll reign 'em back in. I pisses 'em of but I hope they'll realize when they're older I did it out of love for them.

I find it truly amazing how many bad scenarios you can play out in your mind. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who does it. I wake up in a cold sweat for almost a solid month before we go to the beach every year. Same damn nightmare. Madeleine is there at the waves, and then she's gone, swept away. Just taking her there is therapy for me. I have to let her live her life, hopefully without filling her with my irrational fears. I feel for your mom. It's hard to express those fears, and can be so impossible to move on.

Oh yes, that's me, guilty as charged. Even with my husband home, I often get stuck on worry ruts, particularly after a "scary" movie or tv show - is the door locked "enough"? What if someone breaks into our son's room?? It doesn't happen often that I get really bad, but it certainly happens - maybe that's common for mothers to an extent?

I try to keep my fears from interfering with my children's right to live as carefree a life as possible. But, in the dark of night, it is hard to not let those fears overwhelm.

Wow- my husband says I can see a straight pin in a shag carpet from 100 yards so I know of which you speak so eloquently! My daughter is eight and I still put the gate out at the top of the stairs! Why tempt fate I say. Such a difference in some ways from how I grew up.

You mean locking the baby gate might not really work? Damn, time for Plan B. The anxiety is so true for me though. People ask me how I got through my husband's deployment and they think I'm joking when I say "Zoloft." And it wasn't because I was afraid for him so much. He had the training to be where he was. It was the anxiety of the "what ifs" here at home and being alone in a new house in a new area with a 3 year old.

There are many reasons why I think your blog is fabulous, but the main reason is that it is a space where you and many commentators tell it like it is. It's an amazing support system - just knowing that you are not alone facing the many challenges of motherhood is incredibly reassuring. Unfortunately in my area motherhood seems to be competative and there are very few who confide their fears and frustrations. Having a supportive blogging community can make a huge difference. Thank you! I hope your Mom is feeling better soon.

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