Do Dads Worry?


My mind tends to wander and over-think about a lot of things. Sometimes when I’m in the car driving to work after dropping my kids off, I can’t get the stream of consciousness to stop — Did I pack enough food for the girls for today? Did I remember my lunch? Where is my water bottle? Are my girls drinking enough water? Are they eating enough vegetables? Ah, I think the I forgot to grab the breast milk from the freezer…or wait, I vaguely remember packing that. Maybe that was yesterday though? Did I let the dog out this morning? Oh I sure hope I remembered to check if she had food and water. Ugh, did I switch that load of laundry? Those dishes will be sitting clean in that dishwasher for days, I swear. Did I remember to brush the girls’ teeth today? Nooo, it’s recycling day. I guess we’ll be piled up for next week or maybe we could secretly stash it in our neighbors’ bins.

These thoughts and questions and ‘worry’ seem to follow me everywhere. In between keeping my children contained in the cart and behaving somewhat politely to the checker at the grocery store, I think more.

Did I get enough yogurt? If we each have one times four days this week that equals how many? Are we going to stay on track with our meal planning this week? Do I feed my kids the same thing for lunch too often? Will these people around me judge if I shove a few M&M’s in my child’s mouth just to get through paying and bagging my groceries? M is for your name you say? Oh yes, yes it is, I’m glad you can read the M&M’s bag. I need to read more books to my children.

And it continues when I’m working out. During what is supposed to be my “me time,” my mind continues to spin.

I think I need new running shoes. I really need to call and schedule that appointment. I need to do this more. Do you think anyone will notice if I don’t wash my hair after this?

Recently, in the midst of my neurotic constant thoughts, I questioned it. Do dads ever worry?

Do they ever worry about keeping the flow of family life in constant motion? Do they worry about fruit and vegetable consumption or how their children measure up on the scale of developmental milestones? Do they worry that other parents are doing all of this crafty stuff with their kids and our kids just get some play doh and maybe library story time?

The Test

master bathroom

I executed a little test, out of curiosity’s sake. It’s minor, not having anything to do with our children because I mean, I’m not a monster. I let the garbage in our master bathroom go. Like completely LET. IT. GO. It sounds silly but this is soooooo beyond how I operate. I wanted to see if this little task would be on “someone else’s” mind. I watched for over ten days as that garbage piled up and up and up. It was pouring over the small little container onto the floor and surely wasn’t going to stop until it hit the ceiling or at the very least, until I intervened.

I believe it was on the eleventh day when I finally broke and emptied the garbage myself. He didn’t worry about it. At all. The realization was kind of a pivotal moment for me. As I wrapped the garbage up and took it to the trash I thought, it is in a mother’s DNA to worry. It’s kind of our job. And by worry, I mean it’s a mom’s job to provide and nurture and protect and guide and celebrate and advocate for her children.

And as for Dad, he worries too. His worries compliment ours. Maybe he doesn’t worry about the garbage piling up, but maybe he worries about providing for his family or saving for your children to go to college. Maybe he worries about being a good role model or if his children are getting picked on at school. 

All of those worries and constant thoughts could be considered crazy, at least in my example, but they really just occur because we care. As mothers (and fathers) we constantly strive to do what’s best for our children, and as a result, that may sometimes that mean a whole lot of worry on our minds.  

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