From the very moment your child is born, the laundry list of "have-tos" begins. You have to feed them, nappy them, shush them, rock them, burp them, nap them, and of course, keep all of their needs in stock, like nappies and wipes and formula. And with each passing day, while your love for them flourishes and the relationship stops feeling so one-sided and you're able to create a reciprocated bond, the things you juggle in your mind and consequently worry about only increase.
In a popular Facebook post, mum Danielle of Living a Full Life describes this relentless — and relatable — mental load that parents experience perfectly:
One of the hardest parts about motherhood is the anxiety.
The anxiety to make sure everything is going to be okay.
The anxiety when your daughter is running toward the street, and she doesn't listen to you to turn around until three seconds later when you hear yourself sounding like your own mother counting to three in a firm voice to GET BACK HERE — NOW!
The anxiety that keeps us awake at night thinking of things we have to do in the morning. The mental load of motherhood looming over our shoulders. The bottle prep, the dressing, the getting ready, the medicines, the meals--all rely on us. If you are like me, it sits on a big list in your brain that you are constantly adding to at all hours of the night. We are doing this magical work behind the scenes, so the foundation doesn't topple over. So, the baby doesn't hysterically cry for her bottle, and it's not there. So, the toddler has her snack and water after her nap, to avoid a meltdown.
The anxiety that has you randomly asking your husband questions as he is trying to go to sleep like "did you remember to order the size four nappies?" And he barks at you because he can't understand why you are thinking about that now. But to you, it's more like, yes husband and you aren't?!
The anxiety every time you separate: Is she going to be okay without me? You think and pop your head back in the class window to spy on her and double check before you leave. Then the worry: I hope she doesn't have an accident. I hope she behaves and doesn't paint her cousin blue again today (yes, true story). I hope some other kid doesn't touch her while I am not there to protect her.
Because we are caring about the everything and when you are caring about everything, of course, you are going to have some anxiety, because duh- you are human and that's a lot on one person's plate.
And I hear this anxiety lasts forever and even increases as they get older. The list in your brain dwindles but the worry increases. That once your kids are over eighteen and off to college, you worry about scarier things than constipation and teething-- like them getting home safely after a night out. You worry about them making smart decisions without your constant guidance.
As mothers, we are destined to worry--mother and worrier are basically synonymous. But that worry is completely worth it because those kids are our everything and they are worth every bit of everything, even all the anxiety, that comes with them.