The moment you find out you are pregnant, your mind becomes clouded with many mixed emotions. For some, one of the many is worry. A baby is now inside of your tummy, growing, and you are completely unable to help him or her. We can eat all the right things, exercise, drink lots of water, and pray. but the feeling of helplessness--of not knowing how your baby is doing each day can cause overwhelming anxiety and fear.
I thought that once my kids were born and I had seen their faces that worry would go away, because I could at least tangibly touch them and and protect them. But as they have grown my worry and fear has only grown in different ways and I know it is not healthy. I don't sit on my couch all day worrying about their every move, but I have come to realize that I'm always examining everything to the smallest degree in order to eliminate any threat from coming their way (naive, unrealistic, I know).
In some ways I blame social media and how it keeps mom's nerves up by posting the newest cancer-causing this, don't do that, do this, and if you do or don't it's all over anyways. As a parent you are faced with so many decisions and it is difficult to navigate what the best decision to make is for the well-being of your child.
Being a worrisome person can be exhausting and one can drive themselves crazy over the "what- ifs." Of course I want to give my kids the best life I can give them in safety and health, but ultimately it is God alone who has their future in his hands. Every day there is something new to worry about and given my natural tendency to worry anyways I have had to choose my battles carefully. After talking to many mom friends and doing some research, here are a few things I think are worth worrying about and paying close attention to:
- car seat safety: Even if we try to be the best driver in the world, the truth is there are plenty of dangerous people on the road who cause accidents. I can control my driving but I am realizing how many people on the road are texting, intoxicated, high or just plain distracted. Thanks to some great Facebook car seat safety groups, I have learned so much about how to best protect my kids in the car in case something was ever to happen. I will never throw out a manual again and never knew the importance of strapping my kids in correctly until after hearing some very sad stories.
- nutrition: What we put into our bodies can either help us or hurt us. By giving the boys healthy food choices I can help them have a balanced palate that will only give them more delicious options in the future (I realize Calvin is a toddler and he will never say no to ice cream or treats, but by eliminating unnecessary foods on a daily basis like soda, juice (at least undiluted), chips, etc, I not only get rid of more unhealthy choices but am also saving us some money).
- sleep: No brainer here. Non-negotiable. Sleeping is healthy. We are creatures, not the Creator, and since we have limitations we need rest. Sleep keeps us sane. I will always try to protect nap-time and bedtime for the sake of everyone in my household.
- hand washing and baths: Both my boys constantly have their hands in their mouths (all the time, no matter how many times we correct this bad, germ spreading and absorbing habit!) . They love rolling in dirt and just acting like boys. We try to wash their hands regularly and we do daily baths. My OCD has me washing my hands all the time because I always think of weird scenarios. I will wash my hands after touching salt and pepper shakers at a restaurant because of how many dirty hands have touched it before me.
God is sovereign over all things. No amount of worrying or protection of my own can ever over rule God's hand in their lives. I find this both comforting and unsettling, but I am reminded by the Scriptures and by my pastors that I don't have to live in fear because the same God who spoke the world into existence and has saved me from the tyranny of the devil is the same God who created and sustains my kids lives--and my own. Our days are numbered. I can choose to embrace each day with my family or I can live in fear over what might happen next. At the end of the day, I pray that God would keep them safe and that I will get another day to love them and teach them about who Jesus Christ is and what he has done to save us from our sins.
Today I have my two boys and my husband. We are sick with colds but still generally healthy. We have joy. We have hope. We have peace with God through Jesus Christ. I will not take for granted these wonderful gifts.
Do you ever worry about your kids? Their future? Their health? What are some ways you try to protect them?
For those who are older and wiser, do you ever stop worrying about your children?