Everyone told me it was going to get harder.
Everyone said to enjoy them when they were little because things become way more difficult when they get older.
They were right.
When the kids were small, my stress was mostly due to lack of sleep or worry. I worried so much about my daughter. I worried about everything. I was a fucking basket case. I remember that all too well.
There was a time when I would be driving to the drug store and think about not stopping. Just keep driving. Keep going. Don’t look back. I honestly thought I was going to wake up in a motel in Florida. Or sitting at a bar beside my new home, which would be my motel room in Florida. I just wanted to run away.
I have a different sort of exhaustion and worry now. I don’t worry about using the correct soother for their teeth. I don’t worry about BPA approved bottles. I don’t worry about diaper rash. I don’t worry about cradle cap. I don’t worry if they died in their sleep. I don’t worry about their legs when they walk. I don’t worry about their teeth coming in straight. I don’t worry about them eating vegetables. I don’t worry about them not sharing. I don’t worry about them eating pebbles. I don’t worry about them wetting the bed or their pants or the couch or the seat at the movie theatre.
I don’t care about any of those things anymore.
There is only one thing I worry about now.
I worry about their mental health.
Are they happy? Why are they crying? Do they need to talk? How do they feel about their day at school today? How do they feel about failing swimming? Are they ok with being the only girl in their class not invited to a birthday party, again? Did their teacher see them crying at school today? Why did they hit their sibling? Why did they hit me? Did I embarrass them? Did they notice that kid teasing them? Why are they angry? Are they too angry? Is something bothering their sleep? Are they lying?
I worry too much, I know that.
But, this is hard. This is really hard. I just want my babies again.
I want those days of worry back.
I can handle cloth diapers and making baby food.
I’m not sure I can handle this.