Mommy Paranoia

Ebola has found its way to the United States, as I knew it would, and so now my Mommy Paranoia is on full alert.

Mommy Paranoia is the feeling that no matter how good things are right now, they have a chance of going downhill at any time. And so you worry. It’s really no surprise that I suffer from Mommy Paranoia, given that I’ve always been a worry wart. In the eighth grade, I was voted “Most Likely to Breathe into a Paper Bag Before Taking a Test in High School.” But honestly, it’s not just me. Mommy Paranoia is very prevalent among most Moms I know.

Back when Ebola was only in Africa, Moms were having panic attacks over the usual nightmare scenarios: kid getting kidnapped, kid spending too much time playing Minecraft and growing up to be a parasitic slacker, and my personal favorite: kid getting lice.

For the uninitiated, lice are bugs so small you can’t really see them that attach themselves to the hair shafts of your sweet, innocent child and won’t let go until the school nurse physically pulls them out and calls you to come pick up your child who is no longer welcome in school until the bugs (and the even smaller eggs they have left behind) are gone. Oh, and make sure your other two kids don’t have them hiding out in their hair either. Have a nice weekend!

There is a line from the American Revolution, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Lice is without a doubt one of those times. Luckily, there is a nurse who is doing the Lord’s work nearby in Short Hills, NJ who will pull every last one of those f**kers out of your child’s hair for the bargain price of $1,000 per head and give you an extremely comprehensive and very rational set of instructions for making sure that they don’t come back. Her demeanor is casual, her voice calm, and as a result she will snap you back to the reality that lice is not leukemia.

But most Moms will not–cannot–be satisfied. Their paranoia is now forever on overdrive, and they will take to the Internet to learn all kinds of things they should never know about lice mostly because they are largely false. And even though they know these things to be false, they will believe them, just to be on the safe side. Mother Lice herself has assured these Moms that the bugs cannot live off the human head for more than 24 hours, but they will still make their children wear hooded sweatshirts at the movie theater even when it is 95 degrees, drill it into their kids that they should never EVER borrow someone else’s baseball helmet, and spray their kids with rosemary oil every time they leave the house because they know that LICE IS PROBABLY ALL AROUND THEM.

Another thing I have found Moms to be really paranoid of (pre-United States Ebola) is looking like a Mom. A long time ago, the people who made jeans decided to help us out by providing a little more coverage in the belly area to help hold the skin that has been stretched by one, two or more pregnancies. They were doing us a favor, and we knew it too because we started buying them by the truckload. As soon as we figured this out, though, that only Moms were wearing these super high-waisted jeans, we began to resist them and started squeezing our damaged bodies back into jeans (and all other pants too) that are much better suited for 16 year olds.

Also, we refuse to wear shoes that suggest we are running after our toddlers or up and down the stairs doing laundry. At a recent Back to School night, for example, I could not believe the amount of strappy high-heeled sandals I saw clip-clopping up and down all of the stairs. Newsflash: you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t a mother!

We also torture ourselves with the amount of calories we consume, downloading apps called “Eat Slower” and taking up ballet again in an effort not to be fat, supposedly the most common side effect of motherhood. Even those Moms who have somehow stayed thin feel compelled to stop eating red meat and start eating an unpronounceable grain humans haven’t eaten since ancient times–just to be on the safe side.

Unfortunately, the safe side doesn’t exist, or I would have built a four bedroom center hall colonial with a central vacuum and laundry chute there a long time ago. Danger lurks around every corner when you are a Mom, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. It sucks but at least we are all in the same boat. Now we just have to hope it doesn’t sink.