Who, me worry?

Yeah, right. If you have kids, you worry. You wake up sometimes at night worrying about cavities. You climb out of bed to check the little one, fret about your 10-year-old's cold. It's just life as a parent. When you become a mom the world suddenly looks a lot different — and a lot more dangerous. You are in charge of a real, honest to goodness human being. You are in charge of not only taking care of his daily needs but everything that comes next: Education, relationships, health, safety, the list goes on and on. Sometimes it can feel like a race to the finish line, only it's not. It's day to day living with a child. You don't want to mess it up! That's a very stressful thought. Here's a list of worries just for one morning: • Will my milk be enough to feed the baby today? • Will the pump work or make me crazy when I try to pump? • Will the store have the kind of formula I need? • Should I keep breastfeeding or should I switch to formula since I have to go back to work? • Will they take care of my baby right at childcare? • Childcare! • Why isn't my 4-year-old eating vegetables? • What's wrong with my cooking? • Will my daughter make any new friends? • Why doesn't the teacher like my boy? And on and on it goes. Sometimes it feels like a daily drudge, just trying to stop yourself from "going there." But have you ever noticed the wisdom in the phrase, "This too shall pass?" And have you ever noticed that things DO get better and that some days ARE easier than others? That you just have to carry on and breathe?
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Here are SIX HELPFUL LITTLE BUT HUGE WAYS to make your days easier and less fretful, courtesy of Robert L. Leahy, PHd, author of The Worry Cure: 7 Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You: 1. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR WORRIES & ANALYZE THEM. Write'em down, then analyze the list. Is the worry productive or unproductive? For example, "Tommy is taking a different bus today, so I may be worried about how that works out." This is an unproductive worry unless there's some action you can take to assure his safety (such as making sure that Tommy knows exactly how to take a different bus), or emailing his teacher to let her know what's going on with Tommy so she can back up your efforts to keep him clear on his directions and safe.

2. EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY. You can "What if" yourself right into a deep hole of worry, or you can find a way to realize that life comes with a certain amount of uncertainty and there's nothing you can do about it. Accepting that allows you to enjoy the moment more.

3. LET GO OF URGENCY. You don't need the answers RIGHT NOW! Urgency creates stress. Unless you're actually on some kind of a time constraint, try to get through your day with a more laid-back approach and you just may find yourself worrying less.

4. IT'S NEVER AS BAD AS YOU THINK IT WILL BE. Worry is all about anticipating what's going to go wrong. Worriers tend to worry about the bad things that can happen so they'll know how to handle them. It's exhausting to be this way, so try to repeat: "What's the worst that can happen?" and "It's never as bad as I think."

5. TALK ABOUT IT. Tell your best friend you worry too much and see what she says. Tell your pastor or tell a therapist that all of this worrying is too much for you. Sometimes talking it out is the answer to letting it go.

6. BE CURIOUS FIRST. Try to approach living life with a little more full-on wonder and a little-less full-on concern. The idea of living for the moment just got better, right?