worrying - Boston Moms Blog

Spring has just about sprung — the season of light and life, blooming joy after a long, dark, brutal winter.

And yet, I worry.

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter the season. I worry regardless. I’ve always been a worrier, and this only became amplified when I became a mother. It consumes me, at times. Some of this worrying is a natural part of motherhood. I worry that my kids will all be hit with the same horrible illness at the same time, and that I will catch it too and won’t be able to take care of them. Been there, done that, we all survived. I worry about my kids and bullying, having or causing unwarranted hurt feelings, the loss of innocence while they are on the bus and at school, without me. I worry that all the deep conversations we have about being kind, generous, and good people are not always remembered while they are running around on the playground. 

Some of my worry is a bit out of left field, but perfectly justified to me: I recently woke up in the middle of the night in a panic that my kids are all bound to catch lice (and possibly my husband and I), putting a major damper on our spring. Sometimes I realize, with constant reminders from my husband and others, that there’s no sense in worrying about things I cannot control. It’s a waste of negative energy and a cause of major pointless anxiety.

One of these “others” comes in the form of one of my favorite authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald, who famously wrote The Great Gatsby. I recently came across a letter he wrote to his daughter in August 1933 that was published in the New York Times in 1958 (and more recently on the blog Farnam Street). It is steeped in parenting wisdom from more than 85 years ago, and it’s still mostly relevant today. Here are two lists he included in his letter (I particularly love the difference in the lists’ lengths). This letter speaks to me in two ways — as a mother who worries, and as a voice of advice and wisdom that I would like to bestow upon my own children as they grow. I hope these lists do the same for you!

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

What would you add to these lists today?



Kate Cotter
Kate came to New England for college a decade and a half ago, and fell in love with all things Boston. She is the mom of two beautiful baby boys, ages 2.5 & 10 months, and loves watching them explore this lovely area of the country, experiencing Boston through their eyes. Heart-filling: spending time with my family, spontaneous hugs, kisses and “I love you Mommy” from my boys, reading great books, fall in New England, the Adirondacks, golden retriever puppies (don’t have any yet!), coffee, champagne, and serendipity. Can do without: Boston traffic, inconsiderateness, never-ending winters and stir-craziness.