Welcome to the Worry Club, and have a seat. You’re in good company–it’s a club of millions. More often than not, you have a child. You hope that you will raise them right, and they will be fine. Then your bundle reaches adulthood, and you realize that you are still worrying. And, with hormonal help over the years–from both your teens and yourself– you have turned worrying into an art form.
“And, the thing is, that you never stop,” your neighbor sighs, a mother of older children–we’re talkin’ in their thirties. Thirties! Okay, so buckle your seatbelt, and settle in for the long haul.
You’ve taught them most stuff they need to know: how to duck and cover, wash their hands after every class and lab and to call AAA when their car breaks down. And to always wear a helmet–preferably hockey or lacrosse–24/7.
Are you a member of the Wringing Their Hands Club? You have wrought the heck out of your own hands, but you don’t always hover helplessly in the background. When a life lesson can be learned, you pipe right up. Here’s a few common pieces of advice for when children start college: Use the buddy system. There’s safety in groups. Well, most groups. (There’s always the few wild frats and sororities on campus). If you accept a drink cup from someone at a party, hold it and then pour it out when you’re in the bathroom. Or, if of age, own your own drink, and pour it yourself and don’t leave it unattended. Never get drunk and go out on a balcony. And always wear your helmet (hard to sip a Solo cup through one of those babies).
Should you simply worry about those events you can control, or those you can’t? You recently caught up with an old friend, Lakey, over the phone. She told you that her daughter recently got married. When you offered your congratulations to the bride and groom, Lakey replied:
“Well, I’m not thrilled about it. Her husband has a really big head.”
“So he thinks really highly of himself, sort of has an attitude?’ you asked.
“No, I mean that he has a really, really big head. And he’s really skinny, so basically he looks like a lollipop. What will their children look like?”
Unfortunately, there is not a heck of a lot that Lakey can do about this.
There is a certain art of letting go, and you are working on this. Many monks have mastered this, since they live alone and don’t have toddlers, teenagers, college students in helmets or daughters marrying men with really large heads. But, fortunately, this gives them time to write more books about the art of letting go.
Now, with both precious offspring off into the world– lo and behold– you actually discover that you don’t experience such daily anguish. Your worrying has changed form.
So in your spare time, you can now get your mind off of things, and instead wring your hands–while you’re waiting at GYN and the nail places and reading all of the magazines about–Suri and Shiloh. Bless their lil hearts.
Shoomp shoomp shoomp. Hear that?
That’s the sound of helicopter parents hovering over their children, worrying every second of the day that terrorists could strike Johnny’s school or a stranger will snatch Jane from the bus stop.
Scary stuff. But it turns out most parents are worrying about all the wrong things.
Based on surveys Barnes collected, the top five worries of parents are, in order:
- School snipers
- Dangerous strangers