Precautionary Parenting

Here’s the problem with trusting your instincts and being right about a worst-case scenario: 

You’re paranoid for the rest of your life. 

I was right last July when I insisted there was something seriously wrong with my son, even though the doctor told me it was just a virus. I pushed, saw another doctor, and was right. All the nurses at the children’s hospital were amazed that he wasn’t more sick, because normally with toddlers that develop type 1 Diabetes, they are very sick when they are admitted. My friend’s 8-year-old was in a coma. Maybe that’s because some lazy doctors tell mothers that it’s a virus and dissuade them from checking blood sugar, but what do I know? I’m just a mom. 

Here’s the point of my bitter little tirade: Now I’m paranoid. 

I gave my kids beets with their snack the other day, knowing what could happen, but when my three-year-old pointed and laughed at the pink water in the toilet, I freaked and took him to Urgent Care, terrified he had a kidney infection. 
He didn’t. 
He had beets. 
I had egg on my face. 

As I was driving the 40 minutes home that night, I went over and over in my head how I was going to justify this trip to my husband. I told him in that imaginary conversation that if something was actually wrong and I ignored my instincts, I would never be able to live with myself. I was angry at him for being angry at me in this imaginary conversation. I didn’t need to justify myself, I’m a mom! I do what I think is best for my kids, to avoid those worst-case scenarios. In my mind, I let him have it for judging me and my cautious parenting. 
When I got home, I put our son to bed, and cried on my husband’s shoulder. He gently told me everything that I had been ready to say in my defense on the way home. He told me he was glad I had gone, and that I would be able to sleep that night because I had listened to my instincts. He told me that I was a good mom, and he was glad I was taking such good care of our kids. 

Yes, I’m paranoid. Yes, I overreact sometimes. Yes, I will continue to do so. 

But I will not apologize for it. I won’t write one of those “I refuse to shelter my kids” blogs. I won’t feel bad about it. Here’s why:
If I make 10 trips to Urgent Care, and 9 of them are nothing, they are still justified by the 10th. I’m not going to live my life in fear of something happening, but I’m not going to ignore my instincts for fear of overreacting, either. 
I’m a mom. It’s in my job description. 

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