Imagine the scariest job in the world — being a Navy Seal? Working in mines that are miles under the earth's surface? Piloting planes full of hundreds of passengers? Then, take the scare-factor of that job, multiply it by a million and you have motherhood. New moms and parents-to-be? You might want to sit down for this one.
It hangs over Seattle-ites like a black, looming rain cloud. (Oh wait, it's Seattle, that actually is a rain cloud.) Apparently, the Northwest is more than 100 years overdue for the earthquake that's going to take the entire city down and I'm terrified that it will happen when we live here. Good thing they practice earthquake drills at school! Duck and cover, kids!
High on my list of terrifying motherhood items is earwax. My oldest daughter has earwax for days — the variety that seems to be seeping out of her ears like liquid. Not only does the earwax itself creep me out, but looking over and seeing a big clump of it hanging out of her ear? Terrifying to the max.
Many moms would agree that fear of their child choking is one of the most terrifying things about being a parent. Margot, a mom of two, agrees, saying that she wouldn't even let her kids have hard candies until they were 10 and refuses to let her tweens eat anything when they are home alone... just in case. The only exception? "I told her she could have a bowl of Cheerios, but only after they got good and soggy in the milk first."
You don't know how terrifying parenthood can be until you have your first diaper blowout in public. Bonus scary points if you happen to have left your diaper bag at home, you're wearing white and/or someone else was holding your baby when it happened.
I have no idea where that saying came from, but we all know exactly what it implies. I'm always afraid that those mini-listeners — who always have their ears open — will say the wrong thing at the wrong time... as in, something they heard come out of my mouth that they shouldn't have.
Of all the terrifying things on this list, I think that this is the one I hate most, as it's such a sad sign of the times we live in. I'm terrified — no, horrified — that they will experience school violence. Enough said.
When I think about my kids 10 and 20 years from now, I truly hope that they are the best of friends... or, at the least, that they like each other. It's terrifying and, honestly, heart breaking to think that they won't be connected as adults.
I latch their bedroom windows at night before bed. I keep the front door locked when we're home. I keep them close when we're out in public. But still, I worry about strangers. I worry that one will crawl in their window and snatch them away, into the night, regardless of everything I do to keep them safe.
The street that we cross in front of our house to get to school and the park has a blind corner and happens to be a small arterial where drivers put the pedal-to-the-metal as they gear up to head up the hill. I'm always terrified that we're going to step into the street at the wrong moment or catch a driver that is distracted and be hit. My poor kids will be holding my hand to cross that street until they're at least 17 years old.
"I'm terrified that I'm unintentionally poisoning my kids," shares mom of two, Shannon. "I can hardly keep up on what I am supposed to be using to pack their lunches in, what I can and can't put in the dishwasher and which soaps are safe to use. I'm afraid that they'll get cancer someday and it will be all my fault for using plastic baggies for their snacks."
Dance Moms? Hoarders? Honey Boo Boo? I'm terrified that my family is going to be the next big reality TV sensation because sometimes, I swear that someone is secretly videotaping us... particularly when I'm in public, all three kids are screaming at the same time, I have a cart full of groceries and realize I left my purse in the car.
While it comes with the territory of parenting, that doesn't make it any less terrifying. Throw up. More than one mom I talked to put it at the top of their scariest mom moments list. "As soon as my son gets sick, I start getting cold sweats about the possibility of him throwing up," shares one mom. "I'm afraid he's going to throw up on me, which will make me throw up too, or that he'll throw up in the car and I'll smell it for the rest of my life."
Connie, a mom to three kids ranging in age from preschool to middle school, admits that these terrifying parenting moments are starting to give her adult-onset anxiety, and we know exactly what she means. When we asked her what she's most terrified of, as a mom, she gave us a list in the blink of an eye. "A peanut might kill them. Pedophiles in every bathroom/library/grocery store. That they'll stop breathing in their sleep. Any dog will randomly attack them and eat their arms or legs or face off." Need us to go on?
Living near the water, keeping the kids safe as they play is always a top priority. But, I think my biggest water-related parenting fear is when we go out on the boat. We have three kids and there are only two of us, meaning that between my husband and me, keeping everyone afloat would be a challenge. And, don't even get me started on how deep, dark and cold that ocean water is... or about the gigantic octopuses that are rumored to live in this neck of the woods!
But, when I'm watching someone else's kids — on a play date or when cousins come to play — my terrified mommy-meter kicks up a notch or two. I'm always afraid that another child will get hurt or lost in my care. My kids' friends likely think I'm crazy with all of the extra seat belt checks I do before we pull out of the school parking lot!
We were recently in a car accident, with two of my kids in the car with me. I remember so clearly that it took me a moment, after the accident happened, to remember that Janie and Everett were in the car. Thankfully, none of us were seriously injured, but it certainly added a new terrifying fear to my list — that we'll be in an accident and I won't be able to help them because I'm injured or incapacitated myself.
I'm certain that somewhere in my kids' charts at the pediatrician, there is a sticker that says I'm one of those moms. The one who always jumps to the worst conclusion when they just have the sniffles. But, I can't help but be afraid that I'll miss that telltale sign that those sniffles mean something more and that the now (imaginary) inoperable grapefruit-sized tumor growing in their chest could have been a quick fix months ago.
A mom who is on the brink of life with three — yes, three — teenagers at home, Maddie shares that she's terrified that they'll stop talking to her. "Right now, the lines of communication are still pretty open, but I get chills thinking of the day when they all clam up and won't talk to us anymore."
I'm often the one that plays bad cop at our house. More than anything it's because I'm home with the kids during the day, so I am the parent who interacts with them about the operational tasks in life — the teeth brushing, the room picking up, the backpack packing — I'm a nag and I know it. But I also worry that they won't see the loving side of me as a parent because all they'll remember is that I spent their childhood asking them to put their dirty underwear in the laundry basket.
Ironically, the most terrifying parenting moment for me is that I'll create terrified children. Try as I may to keep these terrified feelings to myself, I know that they often can see them in my face, hear them in my voice and read them in my body language. Terrified of having kids that are terrified? Yikes.
What are you most terrified of as a mom? Are any of these mom fears on your list too?
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