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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Stuff you don’t need to worry about

September 28, 2009

Compared to controlling your mind,  this is easy!

Compared to controlling your mind, this is easy!

Thankfully, our kids survived their teen years. So did David and I, though I know I aged more than he did. But I can still do a headstand, so there.

Nail me for sexism, but I’m convinced we moms feel our kids’ challenges more than dads. Everything from circumcision, to vaccinations, to teething, to leaving a tearful kid with a sitter, to friendship issues, to acne, to failed drivers’ tests, to breakups, to college rejections and the rest. We suffered while we were teens, and we moms are genetically predisposed to put ourselves through the wringer with each of our kids. How unfair is that? I have no solution, but I’ve told David that the next life time we’re together, he gets to be the mom.

Since both our daughter and son are out in the world doing very well, thank you, I thought it might be fun (in a masochistic kinda way) to revisit some of my biggest worries during their teens years. Why? I’m bored. Not really, but I am creatively dodging some other work at the moment. Also, I decided to take up this exercise to prove to myself what a futile endeavor all that worrying turned out to be.

Stuff I Wish I Hadn’t Bothered Worrying About

  1. How will my kid ever make it with his/her self-centered, obnoxious, overly dramatic attitude? Nobody but a parent would put up with this and even we can’t take it!
  2. Who will ever want to live with my kid? You can’t even walk in the room there’s so much crap on the floor. And (s)he doesn’t even seem to notice!
  3. How will my kid ever graduate high school? (S)he racks up more time talking to friends/playing video games/sleeping than there are hours in the day.
  4. How will my kid get through college? Assuming (s)he gets in somewhere. (S)he is a world class procrastinator who can’t get anywhere on time.
  5. What if some spaced out driver runs a red light and hits my kid while walking, riding his/her bike/driving to school?
  6. What if my kid feels pressured to do something that (s)he knows isn’t right? Does my kid have what it takes to stick to their values?
  7. What if my kid gets (someone) pregnant?!
  8. How can I protect my kid when (s)he isn’t right here with me all the time any more?

I’m not saying these aren’t significant, even worthy, issues for any parent to worry about. But I know for a fact that not one single moment of worrying on my part has ever prevented anything bad from happening to anyone I love. Nor has my worrying ever gotten anyone to modify their behavior into something more to my liking. It just doesn’t work. It’s an utter waste of time. An emotional and mental energy sink. Oh yeah, and it causes stress, aging and lactose intolerance. Not 100% sure about that last one, but you get the idea. No good comes from worrying. And yet… letting go of worrisome thoughts isn’t easy. Especially for parents. Make that double for moms. Learning to do a headstand is way simpler.

And for my next trick… The Amazing Worry-free Mom. (Someday, please.)

Filed under: Parenting,Tips — Tags: , , , — Annie @ 10:42 pm


  1. I can’t do headstands although husband can. But I have worried about the boy more than the girl. He has had to restart a year, and his lack of work coupled with good brain drove me to paroxisms of anxious shouting. Glad your kids are doing well. I have one more to go – now 8 – very different personality and even more worried.

    Comment by Josa Young — September 29, 2009 @ 6:10 am

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jane Nation. Jane Nation said: RT @Annie_Fox: New #Parenting blog dedicated to the Gold Medal Worrier in each of us. Here’s to you, Mom! […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Stuff you don’t need to worry about | Annie Fox's Blog -- — September 29, 2009 @ 8:40 am

  3. AS the mother of 5 teens – well, one is 20, but I am still counting her as a teen till she turns 21 – I LOVED this post.

    Your insight, humor, tell it like it is, get off it style is refreshing and encouraging. I so often feel like I am the only rebel out there screaming the hazards of worry.

    My motto – even if you did it “right” 100% of the time, there is still a 50% chance that YOU will be the parent who gets the call from the police station – “Hi Mom, about the car…….”

    Parenthood is the absolute best ride on the planet. I wish someone had told me to buckle up tight when my kids are 2 days old.

    Thanks for sharing and the giggles.

    Comment by vicki — October 4, 2009 @ 8:28 am

  4. I completely agree.

    I just wish I could be more patient with her in those moments.

    I KNOW she is feeling his pain more than I am during a 2 am screaming session. He had a minot infection and was seriously bumming. But while I seem to know that the suffering will pass, she seems to be unable to disassociate herself from his pain.

    Maybe it’s just too much to hold his pain and her pain in the balance.

    Comment by Matt Lawrence — January 6, 2011 @ 11:37 am

  5. New to this. But I have something to say that just may help a new male kid and that father to have the kind of relationship I’m working on that probably evolved by virtue of the mother-hen syndrome. We’re rough guys, right, well you know; fall down don’t cry, brush it off and act like nothing happened even though you can’t figure out why you don’t get lavished with, oh it’s alright honey,come and sit with me. Maybe it has to be this way so we can get our bodies broken in football or MMA’s. Treat the hurts of little boys and girls with the same love and affection, care and concern that they can actually feel and learn to emulate. Watch, as to how little boys and girls grow up to be parents a father and mother that can show that care and concern for their child’s humanity and so the story goes. I think I’m following you, I need help to navigate the web, ah my son this weekend lol:) So many ways for a father to take ownership of the parent role, begin by sharing parenting.

    Comment by Robert "BUTCH" Rath — January 6, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

  6. “Who can add a single hour to his life” – Jesus

    I like your list… a great reminder.

    Thank you

    Comment by Angie — January 31, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

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