I Could Not Avoid Being the Over Anxious Parent

As a parent, there are times I feel it’s hard to reserve judgment. Even on days I feel like I’m not sure what I’m doing as a mom to my little girls, I can still easily point my finger at another mom and internally confirm, “At least I know I’m not going to be like her.” And then I eat my words.  I could not avoid being the over anxious parent.

My parenting style is decidedly relaxed. I am a minimalist in as many ways as I can possibly be.

READ: 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Own a Smartphone and Time Management

If I forget the diaper bag (which has happened more times than I can count), I figure I’ll make it work somehow. If I remember to bring the diaper bag, but forget to stock it with diapers (this too has happened on a trip to the zoo and friend’s birthday party), I figure – well, they’ll just have to wait until we get home to be changed. It’s not the end of the world.

When it comes to childhood illness, I am definitely “a wait and see” kind of parent. My kids have had plenty of viruses and high fevers, and I’ve seen roseola in each one of my three girls at three distinct times. Even so, I do not frequent the pediatrician’s office often.

Case in point, my oldest daughter actually looks forward to going to the doctor because she knows it’s usually a very pleasant and benign visit and she’ll get some sort of treat at the end of the appointment (usually a sticker from the check-out window). I get a little surge of happiness when the pediatrician looks through my girls’ files and comments, “Oh, no sick visits I see.  They are very healthy.”  I give myself a mental pat on the back.  It’s like the doctor is saying, “Good job Mama, you’re raising your girls well and not running to the doctor with every sneeze or sniffle.”

Now, I realize some parents are much more cautious when it comes to their kids’ health than I am with my children. I am not a perpetual sanitizer. If food falls on the floor at home, we pick it up and eat it. I will draw the line at eating food off the floor in public, but overall I’m very relaxed. If one of my daughter’s appears to be getting sick, my mind does not jump to the first ever recorded case of a hybrid bird flu mixed with ebola and malaria. It’s probably a virus her body will need to fight off on its own and the best thing I can do is wash my hands more frequently (the perks of being a public health professional). I am a big proponent of simple solutions.

Esther’s only sick child visits have been for a bug bite (seriously) and the most recent encounter…

Here is the scene:

It had been a week and Esther was scratching her skin to the point of bleeding and getting many red scabs on her gorgeous little face. I had been giving her 24 hour children’s allergy medicine daily and nothing was changing. Seven days of scratching, bleeding, and face scabs was enough to warrant a call to the doctor. I called the pediatrician’s office thinking the poor thing will need allergy testing because it was getting worse. The receptionist made a same-day sick appointment and told me to ask for the “rash room.” There’s a special room for my child’s ailment!

I left work early to pick her up from home. The nanny was awesome about making sure she was dressed and ready to go (which means she already went potty).

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While I drove Esther to the doctor’s office, I had visions of the poor thing needing allergy testing, which I hear is a pretty terrible process.

The doctor comes into the “rash room” we were quickly scooted off to and carefully inspects her skin. I’m waiting to hear sadness in his voice with news of needing further testing and what does he say jokingly in a jovial tone? “Unless you plan to move to Brazil where it’s always moist, you need to lotion daily. You have a case of dry skin. I’ll bring you some lotion samples for eczema.” My daughter has dry skin and a mild case of eczema. This is what I was worried about?!

The most logical explanation and simple solution gets a point for the win here and I just feel silly. I was envisioning a mystery illness and lots of needles to run tests and the only thing my little girl needed was lotion.

Lotion me mama!
Lotion me mama!

So even though I tout being super relaxed, I could not avoid being the over anxious parent. In the world of psychology there is a saying, “When you hear hoof beats, it’s probably a horse, not a zebra.”  In other words, the most simple solution is probably the solution I’m looking for and in my recent case, it was dry skin, not a rare allergy. Lesson learned: horse before zebra. Do I feel silly? Yes. Do I realize I cannot cast judgment (quite) so quickly? Absolutely. I also learned Cetaphil for eczema really works.



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