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Not to worry

(46 Posts)
bagitha Sun 29-Jan-12 10:17:21

I haven't counted the number of times I've read a phrase like "we never stop worrying about them" on GN, but it's a lot. Let me say straight away that I'm not criticising people who still worry about their grown up kids. I cannot know all the ins and outs of people's lives. I'm just wondering if I'm the only one who doesn't.

I don't worry about my kid who is still a kid either, though I could – about her very selective eating, for instance – but she's healthy so I don't. If she doesn't grow out of it, she'll just have to learn to cope with it too. (Yes, I have tried various strategies, but she is obdurate).

And no, my grown up daughters do not have perfectly easy and straightforward lives, but they are competent and independent adults. They know I'm an emergency back-up, along with their father (my ex), and their paternal grandparents. It'd drive them nuts if we worried though, just as my mother's worrying drove me nuts.

Greatnan Sun 29-Jan-12 10:28:47

I'm with you, bagitha. I was asking DD1 in New Zealand how she was coping with the fact that her eldest daughter had decided to go to university in England and spent most weekends with a bf that none of us likes or trusts. Her answer was that her daughter was an adult, would make her own decisions and if she ever asked for help and advice it would be freely given, but in the meantime she appeared to be well and happy.
It can work against you, though - isn't a mother's place in the wrong? My other daughter has accused me of not caring about her or her children because I chose to come back to France. She says she would never leave her children and rants about her sister 'abandoning' her three elder chidren, aged 28, 27 and 20, who all chose to stay in England, ignoring the fact that they are all happy with the situation and the other three children love NZ

I never told my mother when I had any problems, unlike my sister who was always on the phone to her. I feel rather sorry for children who are made to feel responsible for their mother's happiness.

Carol Sun 29-Jan-12 10:56:57

I do worry, but not unnecessarily (we have been down this road before) and in the last couple of days, my worrying resulted in my daughter being sent to A and E because she was a day or so away from becoming jaundiced. She had a condition throughout her pregnancy (cholestasis) that resulted in her babies being delivered 10 weeks early. The condition stopped after delivery, but she has become unwell over the last couple of weeks, having the same symptoms. She was hoping it would go away. When we took her babies for immunisation on Friday, I expressed my worries to the nurse, who listened and waylaid a doctor. After a urine and blood test (quickly delivered to path lab) she was whizzed into A and E and spent the night, having x-rays, scans and more blood tests - very upset leaving her babies but we all mucked in. She came home yesterday, duly medicated for something similar to the cholestastis but not yet properly identified (excess of bilirubin, busy gall bladder), but on the mend.

Annobel Sun 29-Jan-12 11:09:47

I don't worry about my family - I had enough of that with my own mother who did little else. It is very destructive. Carol, you had cause for concern, but taking action is an antidote for worry and you were able to do this for your DD and babies. Don't misunderstand me, I am there for them if they need me, but they are self-sufficient middle-aged men who are more than capable of dealing with their own and their children's issues - if any.

Greatnan Sun 29-Jan-12 11:13:04

I think we are talking about needless worrying - of course we all worry when our children have real problems and try to help if possible. I am trying hard not to worry about my daughter as I know it is pointless.

gracesmum Sun 29-Jan-12 11:19:22

So how do we differentiate worry/concern/awareness?
Is it that worry on its own does nothing, whereas heightened awareness is postive if it can lead to action? Too often we can be led to believe that love = worry or rather that not worrying = not caring.
I think being in a position to act is easier than being at a distance and feeling impotent and that can lead to destructive worry?
PS - best wishes to your DD carol and hope that she will soon be restored to full health.

Greatnan Sun 29-Jan-12 11:21:22

Thank you, gracesmum.

em Sun 29-Jan-12 11:42:21

I agree that needless worrying achieves nothing. DD2 and DS are coping well and I do not worry about them, although they know I'm always ready to help out if necessary. DD1 however is in a very different position with health and relationship problems. I try to step back and let them get on with it, but am frequently called in to help in various ways and am more aware of the difficulties than I would choose to be. I can't see a simple solution and can't help being concerned. I don't indulge in 'fretting' and grumbling to friends (apart from on GN) but can't walk away from them - and 4 GCs - either.

nanapug Sun 29-Jan-12 11:44:53

I am not convinced that one can decide how much, or what sort of worrier one is. I feel it is in your make up, and you are either a worrier or you are not. To a certain extent you can control it, but it is an inherent characteristic surely. I would love to stop worrying, and try very hard not to, but things still wake me up in the night and that is totally beyond my control and desire! I also think a lot depends on how involved one is. There is truth in the saying "out of sight out of mind" IMHO, and I know I am far too involved. In that I have no choice!!!

crimson Sun 29-Jan-12 12:00:56

Same here, nanapug. I have a 'worst case scenario' mentality, and a 'belt and braces' way of living. I know they say that there is no point worrying about what might happen, because if something bad happens it's usually something totally off your radar and unexpected. I know when everything in my life is going well I feel uneasy, but surprise people who know me by dealing with problems in a very level headed way [they assume I will go into 'chicken without a head' mode!]. Very much an 'Eeyore/Marvin the Paranoid Android, is me!

Carol Sun 29-Jan-12 12:08:20

I often experience heightened awareness and have been on full alert most of the time for the last year, since my daughter had IVF and began to be ill quite quickly. Then, having two prem babies arriving 10 weeks early - all adds up to a mix of both worry and awareness. As the babies are starting to become more like the average size for new babies, rather than prem size, I am gradually relaxing, and when I know my daughter is well, I will be chilling, too. It's not pleasant being on the alert, but there's a survival instinct kicking in there, too, I think. When my progeny are safe, I stop worrying!!

em Sun 29-Jan-12 12:40:54

Nicely summed up Carol. Being alert, ready to respond and deal with emergency or critical family situations but not wringing the hands or poking the nose in unnecessarily.

Butternut Sun 29-Jan-12 13:00:51

I think I'm a cross between bagitha and carol, and I'm not altogether sure whether having just sons makes a difference.
There are times when I am concerned, and remain aware of what is going on in their lives, but on the whole I don't think I worry unnecessarily. They have always contacted us, since they left home, to chat things through if they have a problem that needs mulling over, but otherwise, and knowing them as I do, I mostly tend to live by the adage that no news is good news. My two are not big on daily 'chit-chat' (like their dad), and both have consuming jobs, so I bumble along trusting that they are coping well enough, just like me.

jeni Sun 29-Jan-12 13:31:00

I'm always worried.
If I'm not worried I worry about what I should be worrying about?
It was a relief to come out of general practice and stop worrying about being responsible for people's lives, but I find I worry about other things instead. I suppose I'm what you call a worrier.
No wonder I have snow white hairgrin

kittylester Sun 29-Jan-12 13:56:51

I agree with nanapug and crimson, it's either in one's nature or it isn't. Obviously we worry about specifics but as a mother I think I have a heightened awareness of things surrounding my children - maybe a 'gut' instinct after years of experience and I can't switch that off at will.

Grannylin Sun 29-Jan-12 14:21:43

I'm with you jeni.My eldest daughter is a doc and she worries about everything too. Personality thing methinks! My family are always telling me I notice things that no-one else seems to see and its not necessarily worrying. Heightened awareness describes it accurately!

Nsube Sun 29-Jan-12 14:26:24

My MiL used to worry non stop and insisted on saying before we went on holidays ' I shan't stop worrying until you're safely back'. What a way to dampen your enjoyment. But - I worry just the same. What I don't do is to tell them that I'm worrying.

greenmossgiel Sun 29-Jan-12 14:59:33

It's all relative, really, isn't it? If your family are a confident bunch and are settled in careers where they're happy and doing well, then you can relax a bit. However, if it goes the other way, and your son/daughter (or both, in my case) have had to lean on you because of personal difficulties, then it's hard not to worry. The trick is not to let them see you worry! That is the time of the sleepless nights and the churning in the stomach. I have one very good friend who I can talk to (I sometimes do it on here too, of course)! She talks to me too and we know each other so well - warts and all. My own mother was a 'worrier', so I may have picked up the habit from her - and I also gave her reason to worry when I was younger. I'm a great 'sorter-outer'! I don't interfere or ask about any of their business, but if something has happened that they cannot cope with, however hard they try, then I do my very, very best to sort it.

johanna Sun 29-Jan-12 17:06:12

To worry can become a hobby.
I had a wonderful friend, and although she had no immediate family, could worry for England!
In one of the previous threads about worry, one poster wondered if most of the worry comes from the fact that we are actually worried about how we would cope ourselves with whatever calamity.
Very valid point I thought.
" We suffer most from the suffering we fear".
Including myself

greenmossgiel Sun 29-Jan-12 17:31:31

johanna - that's a very apt quotation! Where did it come from? I've not heard it before, but it says it all, doesn't it! smile

kittylester Sun 29-Jan-12 18:18:24

I'm sure that is what I worry about really - how I would cope. One does but then something else happens and off we go again. Next time round I'll only have one child! smile

johanna Sun 29-Jan-12 18:28:43

hello greenmossgiel -It comes from the first line of a Dutch 19nth century poem.
Roughly translated by myself.

greenmossgiel Sun 29-Jan-12 18:32:49

I'm going to write it in my notebook! Do you have the Dutch language, johanna? (Maybe your name tells me that, though!)

johanna Sun 29-Jan-12 19:16:53

greenmossgiel, Yes Dutch is my mother tongue.
Here is an English version on the same theme from the eighteenth century.

Too often we suffer most sorely
and therefore feel most poorly
from DREADED aches and pains.

greenmossgiel Sun 29-Jan-12 19:22:47

Thank you johanna - I think I like the Dutch version better,though!