If we care about our kids, we're going to worry about them. Are they happy? Safe? Healthy? It's what keeps us up at night. Unfortunately there is no way we can escape all of the stress and worrying that comes with parenthood, but it certainly can be lessened.
Recently I took my daughter to one of the best doughnut shops in Los Angeles for her weekend treat - a strawberry frosted doughnut with rainbow sprinkles. As she skipped happily out of the shop, she bumped into the door and predictably dropped the pastry on the sidewalk.
At that moment I could feel the gaze of onlookers fixated on me. Would I dump the doughnut in the trash and buy her a new one? Or would I just give it back to her?
After a moment of thought - I picked it up, inspected it for visible junk, gave it the all-clear, and placed it right back in her tiny hands. As the witnessing parents were busy dividing themselves equally on "Team Good Job Dad" and "Team How Dare You Give That Back To Your Child?" we went home happily ever after. And guess what? My daughter is still alive and healthy, and I saved myself a cool 95 cents in the process.
You know what stresses out parents more than anything? Information. It's impossible to access the web nowadays without reading a study or article telling us how to raise our kids. Limit their television viewing, don't give them iPads, only give them organic foods, read to them 45 minutes every night, germs are SO dangerous, etc. Enough already. I decided that if I'm going to worry about parenting, it would be about the big ticket items, not the small stuff.
I'm not worried about my kids' intellectual development if I plop them in front of the television for 30 minutes in order to regain my sanity. I'm not worried about my kids' health if they skip a serving or two of veggies. And I'm not worried that my kids' will spend time in the emergency room if they eat a doughnut that fell on the ground.
They'll be fine. Just like we are now after the craziness we engaged in as children. My goal is to let my kids be kids. Sure they'll gross me out with their antics and push the boundaries of my patience, but that's what kids do. We can choose to add it to our mountainous pile of stress or we can shrug our shoulders, smile, and know that this stage too will pass.
Trust your gut, take deep breaths, and enjoy the ride. And if the ride gets a bit bumpy, try not to sweat it if your child drops a treat on the ground and eats it. He/she has probably eaten worse.