Life changes when you become a parent.
Love flows through your veins and your happy moments are happier than ever before.
And yet the dark shadows around the edges of your life can seem even darker and much more frightening as they creep towards the light.
Some nights you lie awake, worrying about things over which you have no control.
All of a sudden, you can’t get away from the fact the world is a very scary place.
7 Things That Are Scary When You Have Kids
Most of the things you feel anxious about are unlikely to happen. Even though you know that, it doesn’t make it any easier to silence the worry in your mind.
Here are 7 things that wouldn’t have fazed you, pre-kids, but now you’re a parent they are suddenly very scary:
Dogs used to be so cute, didn’t they? Even if you’re not a dog person, you would probably have admired adorable dogs as they passed by.
Well, not anymore.
Now those dogs are nothing but a potential threat to your toddler.
And not just the big mean-looking dogs. These days you’re even petrified of sausage dogs. They might be small, but you imagine they could all too easily jump into the pram and suffocate your baby.
One minute you’re enjoying a nice walk, with your toddler happily ambling beside you, and the next you’re frantically scrabbling to lift her high into the air to avoid a potential mauling from a passing chihuahua.
It doesn’t matter that most of the dogs you meet are well-behaved, and firmly attached to leads. Now you’re a parent, you'll always be a little bit nervous around them.
#2: Open Water
Water canals are really, really scary. So are reservoirs. And lakes. And the ocean. Basically, any type of open water into which your kids could fall is a threat.
It doesn’t matter if they can swim, either. You’ll still be scared whenever they’re near water, and there are no lifeguards in sight. And if they can’t swim, well, you’ll be clinging to their hands for dear life and sporadically shouting ‘BE CAREFUL!’
In short, you have no cool at the beach now you’re a parent. There is no such thing as a relaxing trip to the coast, because you spend the whole time in a panicked state as the waves – treacherous to you, but not so much to all the other people happily swimming in them – lap against the shore.
You spend your days by the pool in a constant state of Baywatch, just waiting to leap in and save the life of a child. Everyone around you might be kicking back and having fun, but you know how dangerous that water can be.
Remember when you thought of the car as a useful and positive machine that improved your daily life? Ha! How naive you were back then.
Luckily, now you’re a parent, you can see cars for what they really are – giant, murderous, metal machines of terror. Yep.
Whether you’re wandering down the street with a toddler clinging to your hand, or driving your family along the motorway, you are scared of all cars.
They’re too big, too fast and way too dangerous.
You live in fear of your toddler wriggling free and running straight into the road. And you worry an elderly driver will fail to stop at the lights. You're afraid a drunk driver will crash into your car on the motorway. You worry about it all.
It’s too easy to lose a child in a crowd. A small hand can easily slip out of yours as you weave through masses of people.
Kids get distracted, they walk away, or adults cut in front of them. It’s just too easy for kids to get lost. And, if it’s really busy, they can’t see you straight away. They’re small, surrounded by a wall of unknown adults, and it’s scary.
And if you can’t find them immediately, your mind jumps to missing children, and the dreaded word ‘abduction'.
As a result, whenever you are out in a crowd, you hold your children securely by the wrists, and you spend the whole time shouting at them to hold your hand. Heck, you’re fun to be around.
#5: Sick People
Ugh, people who are ill! You just can’t get away from them, can you? They’re everywhere – coughing their lungs out on the pavement, sneezing in the cinema, and serving you coffee.
Sometimes it feels like everybody around you is sick.
And that’s particularly frustrating when you have kids. Mainly, it’s because you don’t want them to get sick too, and you don’t want to see them suffer.
But it’s also because it’s really, really hard work having a sick child at home. You have to rearrange your work schedule, and cancel that night out. Plus, all your clothes will be covered in snot.
And then, which is the really scary thing, what if it’s not just a run-of-the-mill cold?
What if that stranger coughing behind you on the bus has just arrived home from an exotic holiday, where he picked up a rare and life-threatening bug?
These are the sorts of things you worry about when you have kids.
#6: The News
Oh, literally everything on the news is terrifying. It’s just report after report of things you didn’t know you had to be afraid of.
Gas explosions, gang violence, disease. Even the lighthearted story about the dog who can ride a skateboard fills you with dread because, well, you’re scared of dogs now.
In the past, you might have watched the news and felt sad for the people living through whatever disaster was being reported. Now you’re a parent, your first thought is more likely to be: ‘Oh no! What if that happened to MY kids?’
And there’s no shortage of material. The newspapers are filled with horrific tales of people doing dreadful things to one other. You can’t get away from the facts: bad things do happen.
The truth is, bad things have always happened, but now social media makes those stories seem more commonplace.
And you don’t have to wait for the next day’s paper to read the bad news; you get live news updates on every social media channel. You can’t escape it.
#7: Your Kids
When you’re a parent, your kids are almost the scariest things in your life. It’s not just the threat of what might happen to them, nor the constant worry about whether they’re happy, but the simple fact kids are sometimes scary.
If you’ve ever woken up at 4am to find a wide-eyed child breathing heavily next to your bed, you already know this.
You will understand nothing is more terrifying than children if you’ve been woken up by a screaming toddler, who’s had a nightmare, and who says something eerie like, “That man in the corner was scaring me”.
Even an educated, intelligent and wise person like you can be forgiven for wondering whether ghosts might be real.
And if, at 2am, you’ve ever witnessed the blood-curdling screams of a hysterical child in the midst of a night terror, you might have considered exorcism, even though you’re not religious and you don’t believe in evil spirits.