In the past few months, there have been a number of break-ins on our street. Probably not forced entry, more “opportunists” checking for unlocked doors and windows in the middle of the night, and taking whatever they can carry on foot – probably teenagers, taking ipads and game consoles, televisions and the like. This has made me change my attitude a little bit – but only a little.
You see, I have this mentality that if you don’t think something is going to happen to you, it won’t. So I never live with a fear that someone is going to break into my house – I don’t really believe random acts of violence are a fear worth wasting too much energy on. Well, I have started to check the doors are locked at night. But I don’t lock my doors when I am home during the day, in fact, I leave every door wide open as much as possible, because I believe noone would enter and rob us / harm us in broad daylight.
When you become a parent, I think your fears change. It used to be things like.. spiders, creepy old men at the bar, or, hm.. I cant remember the things I used to be afraid of. Then there was the set of fears I anticipated I would have once having a baby – things such as germs, dirt, unprotected ledges, stairs, small objects, bleach, and the like. But now that I have Jack, I can lay claim to a plethora of new fears - seemingly silly ones, perhaps - that have bombarded my conscience as Jacks Mother.
Naturally, the most substantial medical claims always burn themselves into my brain thus propelling my fears of seemingly harmless things.
For instance, the sun. “3 significant sunburns in a lifetime is all it takes to increase your chance of skin cancer by 65%” Or something along those lines. But Jack needs the sun, and needs fresh air. Put sunscreen on him. Sunscreen! That bottle of chemicals laden with cell-killing ingredients and free radicals! Oh dear. Even hours of extensive research on “best for baby” products doesn’t completely eliminate these fears.
Crocs. Yes – those seemingly harmless, yet hideous foot coverings that have become all the rage. All you need to do is watch the youtube videos to see that croc+escalator = mangled childrens feet.
Wheat. To be or not to be Gluten free…. Well with latest claims from doctors that more than 95% of wheat worldwide is GM, how do I NOT feel a rising sense of panic when I buy a loaf of bread for Jack.
Sugar. I’m not even going to go there, you all know. Be afraid.. be very afraid!
The colour red. That is, in foods or candies. Eek… in fact, most colours in foods can be blamed for some sort of behavioural issues in children. This along with any additive or preservative. Again, rising sense of panic at the supermarket.
The list goes on. You get the idea. Seemingly harmless things come under a new light once you have a child. It can be exhausting.
So Nathan and I make the best decisions we can, given the information we have, in the circumstances we face, while trying not to be pedantic or unreasonable. (Nathan is better at the latter than I).
But one thing I don’t believe in being afraid of is “random acts of violence”. Going back to the break-ins, I have had neighbours express concern that Jack and I spend all day with the doors open and the garage door up – open to anyone to come in. My closest neighbour, a lady I am deeply fond of and who I share a mutual respect with, has said we should lock our doors while at home. And I know people that do this. But I simply can’t. Maybe I have another underlying fear of being locked IN….. whatever it is, I will not live as a prisoner in my own house. I will not live with a fear that something or someone bad could enter my house at any moment – thus prompting me to apply deadbolts and close my blinds. I simply don’t believe this is an effective use of energy – to live with this sort of fear. Sure, common sense should play a part – hence my diligence at locking doors at nighttime (although admittedly I never checked them before the break-ins started). My loving neighbour said “what if someone took Jack”. Well. Once I informed them how much money he costs to run, how he runs in turbo-mode from morning until night – with batteries that never wear out, sort of like a cyclone leaving a disaster in his every wake - and that he requires almost all of your attention almost all of the time, I’m certain they would reconsider their decision to steal him. Half the time he’s covered in food / dirt and doesn’t smell very good, and spends a lot of time banging hard things against other hard things while chanting or just blatantly yelling – anyone that wasn’t his mother would see there are simply more appealing things to steal.
This wraps up my “fears” rant. I suppose with time these will change; some may fade off my radar, and new ones will pop up. I better not think about it too much and rather just take it all as it comes!
In all fairness though, given my heightened sense of alertness all of the time – which I now know is a permanent state of being in my life as a parent – I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Jack is worth every inkling of worry I will ever shed my energy on!