I’ve gotten used to the fact that being a mom means worrying endlessly, mostly about things that never happen. But the fears that keep me up at night are those that are an inevitable part of parenthood. Here are my top five:
- Vomit. It’s 9pm. After putting my seemingly healthy child to bed over an hour earlier, I’m just about to settle into my latest Netflix series when I hear a disturbing sound coming from my son’s bedroom. I open his door to check on him and am almost immediately hit with the unmistakable stench, but not before stepping in a wet pile. A dazed and confused toddler greets me with the understatement of the year: “I made a mess.” I spend the next six hours in a cycle of comforting my child, disinfecting him, myself, and every surface and room that got hit and doing endless loads of laundry. When he finally falls asleep, I lay wake listening for any sound of a sequel. I then spend the next 48 hours wondering if every stomach twinge means I’m next.
- The middle of the day daycare phone call. My heart always skips a beat when I see my son’s daycare pop up on caller ID. Sometimes it’s innocuous, but most of the time it means dropping everything and rushing to pick him up. The only thing worse than having to rearrange my afternoon work schedule is the hour and half drive home feeling guilty that my poor sick son is miserable at daycare when all he wants to do is be home snuggling with me.
- Potty training. My son is well overdue and my dread has contributed to this. While I look forward to the days of never buying diapers again, I don’t look forward to cleaning up puddles and messy underwear and exploring every disgusting public bathroom in Connecticut. Even if it means saving $200 a month off my daycare bill.
- Being late to daycare pickup. I love our daycare. My son loves our daycare. I do not love that our daycare closes promptly at 6pm and starts charging a late fee at 6:01. My husband and I both have long painful commutes in opposite directions. As much as we plan for who is doing pick up that day, most rides home include a frantic phone call: “Where are you? Do you think you’ll make it in time? Should I call to let them know we’ll be late?”
- Transitioning out of the crib. From about the time my son was six months old, he was very happy sleeping and playing in his crib. I assumed he’d eventually try to climb out so this transition would be forced upon us, but it never happened. And then I was at my son’s three-year checkup and the pediatrician asked if he was sleeping in a bed. When I told her no, she said “I think it’s time.” So after weeks of debate about a toddler bed versus a twin bed versus a mattress on the floor, we went with a toddler bed and a plan to introduce it on a four-day weekend in case it went horribly wrong. From the first night my son saw his new bed, he refused to get into his crib and never looked back. If only I could remember this for potty training…