Mommy Diaries: The worrying trait can be passed down



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My son, Davis, and I share so many habits – good and bad – that when I look at him it is a startling reminder of my idiosyncracies.

He has taken on my habit of planning ahead and worrying about every detail. He calls it “overthinking”. He will often say “Mom, I am over-thinking this problem and I wish my brain would stop.” I also have a tendency to dissect an upcoming project or event and ensure that I have planned, stressed and worried about every possible outcome. I have clearly passed this on to Davis.

I would be the person setting out for a day at the beach with the sunburn cream already in hand when I should be packing marguerita mix! 

Every night before bed, Davis and I chat. He inevitability wants to talk about the day ahead. What will the weather be like? Do you think the teacher will like what I did for homework? What if my friends don’t want to play soccer at recess? We play out the different scenarios because Davis wants to be prepared.

If there is a holiday coming up, we talk endlessly about how everything will go. In mid-September, he wanted me to call his friend’s mom and ask if they could trick-or-treat together. Now that Christmas is around the corner, I have been dealing with a litany of questions: When is the tree going up? When will we wrap the presents? When can we decorate? What if the bulbs burn out? Should we get more at the store, just in case?

At the grocery store, I am probably the reason Davis wants to stock up on a month’s worth of granola bars. We never run out of anything in our house because I am always refilling the cupboard.

I don’t worry about getting sick, or finances, or any of us having an accident. But I do worry whether I picked up a birthday card for my friend who is having a birthday a month from now!

I’m sorry, Davis. You will always have a stocked fridge, the right clothes for the weather, pay your bills on time and never miss a friend’s birthday. However, you will drive your future wife crazy!

Expert Advice – Psychologist Sara Dimerman says:

Some people are wired to think things through in exquisite detail. Others deal with things as they happen. The challenge is to strike a balance between too much and too little worry. Too much planning and there may be disappointment if things don’t go exactly how you have mapped them out; then you may regret that you have wasted so much time fretting over things that you need not have been concerned about.

On the other hand, not planning at all may leave you ill-prepared or caught off guard along the way. Try these techniques for curbing the worrying:

  • Visualize a stop sign whenever you feel yourself getting caught up.
  • Mark a date on your calendar that you think is reasonable to begin thinking about or preparing for an event. This can clear your head beforehand and prevent the process from taking up so much time, and also create room for enjoying the moment.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, December 2013.

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