Of all the difficult parts of parenthood, the one that is hardest for me is the constant worrying. I can handle untimely stomach flu disasters, unending piles of laundry, homework help, and the constant chaos; but I have a hard time with keeping my anxiety at bay when it comes to my kids.
What do I worry about you ask? What don't I worry about is the better question. Are they healthy? Are they happy? Are they learning? Are they growing? Do they have friends? Are they being good friends? Are they safe? Am I doing the right thing when it comes to x,y,z?
I’m sure I’m not alone in my constant state of worry. It is a natural instinct for mothers to care for and want to protect their young, amirite?
With time and experience I have learned that there are some things that I do not need to worry about. It's like the Luvs commercial says, "Live and learn, then get Luvs” although my quote would be "live and learn, then quit worrying about stupid shit".
Still, even with this inspirational quote running in my head, sometimes I start worrying about different phases or behaviors that my kids are doing at the moment. I try to catch myself and remember that “this too shall pass." My life mantra as of late has been “this will not be an issue when he is in college."
This Will Not Be an Issue When He Is In College. I have to repeat it often.
Here are a few examples:
My five year old sucks his thumb and has no intention of quitting any time soon. We have gotten to the point that he only does it at night, but it is going to be a hard habit for him to break. I know that it needs to end soon because it will affect his teeth. I know that we don't want him to suck his thumb when he gets tired in Kindergarten. I know that we don’t want him to suck his thumb when he has sleepovers with his friends. I know that. We will work on it. But I will not lose too much sleep over it. He will not suck his thumb in college.
2. Bed wetting
I can’t even tell you how many plastic mattress covers I have purchased. They are great, but they don’t last very long. The problem is, kids pee on them (which is why I buy them) and then I have to wash them. Maybe I’m just buying crappy, cheap plastic mattress covers, but the ones I’ve bought only last a couple of washes before they tear and then I have to buy a new one. Not to mention the pain of having to wash bed sheets. Luckily, this is just a phase. I know this in my head, but my heart drops every time a kid tells me he wet the bed and I have to get up and put his bedding in the wash. When I start to feel frustrated, I remember my mantra. They will not wet the bed in college.
Weeeeeeell….. They may. But then it is their problem.
3. Asking for Bathroom Help
My 5 year old yells from the bathroom “Can somebody help me wipe my bottom?!?” Even if it’s just the two of us at home. I wonder who else the “somebody” could be besides me. And why does the kid always choose to poop when I am elbow deep in the middle of washing dishes? Or on the phone? Or have just painted my nails? Basically any time I am otherwise indisposed, he needs help wiping his butt. Again, we’re working on making him be more independent with this particular task, but until we get there, I just tell myself he will not ask for ass wiping help much longer. He will not ask for help wiping himself in college.
4. The Incessant “Mom! Watch Me’s”
All of my kids want my attention every second of every day. All the time. I live my life amid a constant chorus of “Mom! Mom! Mommy! Mom!!” I know as they grow older this will fade. The cries of “Mom!” may still be there when they are teenagers, but they will be more out of exasperation than of wanting attention. I know for a fact that my kids will not want my constant attention when they are in college.
And you know what? Then I will miss it. The things that drive me crazy today will be the things I look back on with fondness when they are gone. I will long for my kids to yell at me “watch me!” at the playground and make sure I am watching when they are up to bat in their baseball games.I will miss seeing my sweet baby sucking his thumb. I may even miss the washing of the beds. Maybe not that, but I will miss a lot.
So, for now, I will try to not get too annoyed by the little things my kids do. And I will try hard not to worry about them either.
They won't do that in college.