Last night my four year old had a nightmare. He came into my room crying and I walked him back to his room and let him tell me about it. It had something to do with being chased by a giant cat, but NO! NOT a tiger!- how dare I ask that- it was a house cat, just big. HUGE. We snuggled and I changed the subject and before I knew it, he was fast asleep again.
In the morning I asked if he remembered having a scary dream. He didn’t. Then he said “You’re lucky that you don’t get scared, mom.” Yep. Wait, what? I don’t get scared? Oh, my dear, sweet boy, I get scared. In fact, I think I live 98% of my life in a perpetual state of fear. There are the obvious fearful worries that go along with being a mother. Am I doing a good job? Are my children healthy? Are they safe? Am I raising them to be decent little humans and not assholes?
And then there are these other times that inevitably induce fear; in me, and I would venture, all mamas out there:
School Phone Number on Caller ID. Seeing that your child’s school is calling during the school day is sure to incite panic in every mother. Chances are, it is not the principal calling to tell you that your child is an amazing person and you have done a great job as a parent. The odds are good that it is either the school nurse telling you that your child vomited in the middle of the lunchroom or has a giant goose egg from falling off the monkey bars. Or maybe it’s worse; a teacher or principal calling with some bad news, most likely about your child’s behavior.
Now that my oldest son’s in middle school and I’m the “ONLY MOM IN THE WORLD” who won’t let him have a cell phone, there is a chance that the call could also be because of a forgotten math book or permission slip. Which means I have to put on pants and drive to school and let everyone at school see my unwashed hair. Scary.
Silence. When the kids are quiet together anywhere in the house, it will not end well. Be afraid.
“My Tummy Hurts”. The stomach flu is the WORST. Why do my kids only get sick in the middle of the night? Am I alone in this? Do they have some sort of undiagnosed “middle of the night puking disorder?” I have learned through experience to always take them seriously when they complain of upset stomachs. I run around like a crazy person finding buckets and towels. Doesn’t matter. They throw up in their beds at 3 am no matter what lengths I go to to prevent it.
“Mom! I learned something new at school today.” This is only scary depending on the location of the learning. Learning something new in math class? Great! Learning something new on the playground? Terrifying. Once our kids go off to school we lose all control of what they see and hear, and you can bet your booty there are some kids in their classes that have older siblings and are much wiser and experienced and more than happy to share their wisdom and the latest four letter word with our precious, innocent babies. Which leads me to my next point.
Questions. Even worse than announcing what they’ve learned, the questions surrounding the nuggets of wisdom heard on the playground are much more terrifying.
“Mom? Where do babies come from? Joey said they come from……”
I promise you that whatever Joey said to your innocent baby is more terrifying than the latest Stephen King novel. And also your baby’s not so innocent anymore.
Entering their bedrooms. My kids would let their bedrooms rot to hell if I didn’t harp on them to clean them periodically. Even with the frequent threatening screams gentle reminders, their rooms are still not up to par with my version of clean and tidy. They are more along the lines of “WalMart at 10am on Black Friday.”
So, you see, son? I have things I’m afraid of too. So many it’s scary.