I have realized that since becoming a mom I worry a lot more than I ever have in my life. Coming from a person who was an over-achiever in every school I ever attended and who is now responsible for the education of 20 little lives every year in the first grade, this is a pretty big feat. I worry about everything! I worry from the time I wake tup till the time I go to bed, and sometimes even in between. I never thought this would be my life, and yet, here I am.
I worry about Riley’s eating. Is she eating enough? Too much? Enough solids? Too much solids and not enough liquids? At night, am I giving her too much formula and not enough breast milk? Am I pumping enough to continue to make her liquid diet 99% breast milk? The list goes on an on. I know I’m not the first mom in the world to have so many worries, but sometimes I feel like I am. No one else that I talk to seems to worry this much. So then I worry that I worry too much. To quote Dane Cook, it’s a “vicious circle.”
I worry about Riley’s development. She is a beautiful 6 month old who loves to laugh and give kisses. But I worry because she hasn’t rolled over yet and shows no interest in crawling. I was walking at 7 months and Riley can only sit up. Now she does stand against things, and has taken 5 steps while I held her hands. But she shows no sign of doing it on her own. So I worry. I compare.
I worry about her health. She had her first fever this week and I was certain she was getting the flu. Working in an elementary school, I live with germs all day long and I’m so scared I’m going to bring something home one day. Turns out, it was just a reaction to her shots on Monday, but still, it was scary. I worry about her digestive system when she doesn’t poop, and then again when she seems to poop too much! It seems like there is always something new to worry about!
I’m a horrible parent.
No I’m not. I only want the best for my daughter and sometimes I feel like there is this first year checklist that I am meant to check things off of. But from now on I am going to make a conscious effort to throw that checklist away and just delight in the everyday things that Riley does. She gave me a hug on Thursday for the first time. She bounced in her jumper yesterday. Today, as I write this, she is sitting up next to me (all on her own!), leafing through a magazine and happily ripping it to shreds and gumming it up. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but instead of taking it away, I just let her have it. Am I a little worried about paper cuts and the ink getting into her mouth? Yeah. But she’s having fun. And that’s all that matters.
Christina Gordon is a first grade teacher in Winston Salem, NC. She has been married for three years and has a beautiful baby girl, Riley Grace, who is six months.