I spent a lot of time in doctors' offices in 2010. I was pregnant and of "advanced maternal age," which meant extra ultrasounds and tests. I had gestational diabetes and had to check in at the Mulletville Diabetes Center once a week. I had horseback riding issues. Junior had tubes put in his ears. You get the idea.
As grateful as I am that I had health insurance, I resented the time I spent in waiting rooms—sometimes more than an hour. I had to use sick time to cover the time; that ate into my paid maternity leave. That pissed me off to no end. I needed to do something to offset that anger.
Biting Chuck didn't help, so I stole. Just doctors' offices parenting magazines mind you, but I stole them blatantly and with zeal. Towards the end I got so bold I'd actually shove a magazine in my purse as they called my name.
I know. I'm a bad ass.
The fact that no one said a word or that there were no charges for magazine subscriptions in my bills actually isn't the point of this post. The point is that what I read in the pilfered magazines scared the bejeezus out of me.
Stuff like this:
Magazine after magazine bore more things of which to be fearful. I read about rubber bands that asphyxiated little fingers. Slammed toilet seats that obliterated genitals. Even sledding, that lovely winter past time, now needed a helmet, knee pads and bubble wrap for nearby trees.
"Johnny, no! You might fall in the snow!"
I learned that even the unassuming Superbowl party was fraught with danger:
Did you know that your television should be bolted to the table lest it topples and decapitates your guests' children? Hot snacks can scald little fingers?
"Johnny, no! Stay away from that chicken finger!"
Seriously. The fear mongering has got to stop. There aren't enough hours in the day to be afraid of everything.
Parenting magazines are doing a real disservice to parents by presenting the world in a Johnny-could-die manner. The preservatives, saturated fats, and colorants in a chicken finger are more of a health hazard than its temperature. And if your TV hasn't fallen on your own head, it's probably not going to fall on anyone else's head.
So look, it's ok to sled and go to the bathroom. It's ok to let your child watch TV while holding a rubber band.
It's ok to not live your life in fear or to constantly be fearful of what might happen to your child.
About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.