Like most mothers I know, I have an instinct to protect my children. Since I live in the suburbs, I don’t have to worry too much about crime, civil unrest or parasites in our drinking water. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t experience anxiety. In fact, in the middle of the day, I have thought about people hurting or abducting my children. It turns out these nightmarish thoughts I have while awake have a term: daymare. Yet, I’m not alone. According to cnn.com, a “daymare,” is “a very normal state.” It’s good to know I’m not the only one having mommy daymares. However, in an effort to understand my day terrors, I went in search of answers to the following questions.
Why Do We Experience Daymares?
Neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine says a daymare is “a common occurrence for new moms in those first few months of parenthood.” After going from being a non-mom to a mother, I learned there are a lot of hormonal changes that may cause a mother to feel more “protective.” This makes sense to me. However, I am no longer a new mom yet I still experience daymares. In addition, I think all parents and caregivers worry about their little ones. Anytime you have a close bond with a child, you feel responsible for his or her well-being. In addition, love naturally causes us to feel protective.
Is this Normal?
Personally, I have never discussed my daymares with anyone. I have a very vivid imagination and assumed that my daytime thoughts were a little bit strange. Yet, like other taboo parenthood topics, I’m pretty sure these types of thoughts are normal. As Gavin de Becker, author of Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane), puts it: “A parent’s ever-changing worries are usually a mask for one remote possibility, one that all parents fear: the death of their child.” I don’t have morbid thoughts all day long. However, I do want the best for my kids. What parent doesn’t?
How Do I Stop it?
I have always thought that worrying was wrong. One way I limit my worrying is to remember I can’t control everything. After all, my kids are going to go to school, slumber parties and trips without me. I can’t be around them 24 hours a day. Another way to limit anxiety is to be rational. For instance, child abductions by strangers aren’t that common. In fact, according to parents.com, 49 percent of kidnappings are family kidnappings while “stranger kidnappings” account for 24 percent of these incidents.
I’m pretty sure my daymares aren’t over. However, I have become less of a worrier. Have you had a daymare?