The Worrier.

Once a month, two cleaners arrive at my house and clean it, top to bottom.

It’s my favourite day of the month.

My cleaners like my house, too. They say things like, “Sometimes you can’t tell children live in a house. But we never feel like that in your house, Sally.” 

I choose to take that as a compliment. I figure after a year of cleaning my house, my cleaners are pretty unshockable. But this week – apparently – I still managed to shock them.

The reason?

My medicine cabinet. Apparently, not everyone has a comprehensively stocked medicine cabinet.


Now, on the one hand I consider my medicine cabinet to be stocked to just the right amount – travel first aid kit, prescription meds and bandages/dressings above, with (from left to right) indigestion and cystitis remedies, painkillers (aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol, co-codamol and diclofenac, depending on the sort of pain), vitamins, cold and flu remedies, allergy meds and a selection of children’s medicines.

On the other hand, I confess that I have been known to be a bit of a worrier.

On a typical day, I spend around 15 minutes an hour idly wondering about Terrible Things That Might Happen to my Beloved Child. Some days it’s more. What with the 20 minutes an hour I spend worrying about Terrible Things That Are Probably Already Happening to Me, it’s amazing I find time to watch as much TV as I do… 

Anyway, I’ve done three first aid courses and a paediatric first aid course, but I suspect all they did was give me more Terrible Things to worry about. Although on the upside, I’m now fairly proficient at an arm sling and I’m word perfect at Nelly the Elephant (the best song to sing while doing CPR).

Flea wants to go on the school ski trip next year and I’m reluctant to say yes – not only because it’s £1,200 (for a school trip!) but because of all the Terrible Things That Might Happen while she’s on a mountain. Can you imagine?? I can. In vivid, Technicolor detail.

It’s not just big stuff that worries me, either.

Choking. God, I worry all the time about choking. I accept the gentle ridicule that comes with being the only Mum at parties who still insists that Flea slices grapes (lengthways, never across) before she eats them. And possibly I have the only kid who knows that when I warn her off the “sticks of death” I’m referring to hot dogs, not cigarettes.

The worst thing, though? Inexplicable death. I still wake Flea up at least twice a month because I’m convinced she’s stopped breathing, when she’s just heavily asleep. I tell her this is the price she pays for snoring the rest of the time. Her silence unnerves me.  Much as I imagine it unnerves her to wake up on a regular basis to find me leaning over her mid-cabin sleeper bed whispering, “Flea…Flea….are you asleep?” 

Every day Flea runs the gauntlet of school and playground and the countless hundreds of ways she could trip up, fall down, fall ill or generally come a cropper.

In the face of ever-present danger, what parent wouldn’t have a well-stocked medicine cabinet?




Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:45 pm

      *polishes best worrier badge*

  1. 18th March 2014 / 5:00 pm Sally, this is me talking! Thank you very much for sharing it makes me feel kind of normal-ish… or maybe more like I am not alone to worry about choking, lack of heavy breathing when they are asleep, facing playground dangers every day when and all of the other horrible things that can happen. So again thank you for sharing. I think we are screwed but at least not alone 😉
    Peggy recently posted..Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, LondonMy Profile

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:45 pm

      I worry about all those things and more, I promise. And it’s nice to know it’s not just me 🙂

  2. 3yearsandhome
    18th March 2014 / 7:50 pm

    The fear! Oh my, the fear! I think my boys thought being slapped on the back during meal times was all part of the ‘fun’ and not because the slightest hiccup had me leaping towards them in a demented fashion fully believing they were about to choke.

    Whenever we have new cleaners come round, they never comment on there being children in the house but they do ask if we have a dog. We don’t. My husband is a walking, talking fur ball.

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:46 pm

      By the age of two, Flea had perfected a certain look, and the sentence, “I’m just coughing” – I was absolutely paranoid about choking, when she was younger. I think because choking seems such a senseless way to die, and because you can’t just NOT be exposed to that risk, every day, three times a day – goodness, it was exhausting!

  3. 18th March 2014 / 8:09 pm

    I hear you. My nickname when I was a child was “Little Miss Worry Bottom” (cringe) and that’s continued on into adulthood (the worrying, not the nickname… well, as far as I’m aware). I can imagine the level of fear you are feeling right now, but I suppose we have to let them go and have fun, even if it does cost a crazy amount of money…? xx
    Hannah | MakeDo&Push recently posted..BOotW: Quackers for SpringMy Profile

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:47 pm

      It’s funny because I wasn’t really a worrier before becoming a parent – I suspect it goes with the territory…

  4. 18th March 2014 / 8:10 pm

    I think I may be the opposite of this! You’d be lucky to find anything above a multivitamin in my house! lol 😉 I wouldn’t even know where to look for a plaster… Although I do always have a bottle of calpol to hand! I love my cleaner too though – couldn’t live without her xx
    WallyMummy recently posted..‘Twatty-Toddler-Hour’ and Other Tales from the Terrible Twos…My Profile

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:48 pm

      I suspect part of it is also single parenting – if you’re married and you have a headache, or someone needs a plaster, you can always go to the chemist. As a single parent, often, you’re stuck at home and have to make do with what you have.

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:48 pm

      ha! I shall put on the kettle.

  5. 18th March 2014 / 8:19 pm

    I think I must have a defective parenting gene. Sometimes at night after Squidge goes to bed *lookd around to make sure no one is listening* I forget all about her. Ssh don’t tell anyone.

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:48 pm

      I sometimes think Flea’s here and creep up to bed really quietly, only to remember she’s at her Dad’s.

  6. 18th March 2014 / 8:42 pm

    I once slapped z on the back really hard out of sheer panic when he presented me with a lolly stick with no lolly on top. He’d actually turned it upsides down and was holding it in the palm of his hand. He is completely banned from them from that day onwards. They make me go completely cold.
    Notmyyearoff recently posted..Dearest Little Z – At 3 Years and 3 MonthsMy Profile

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:49 pm

      Oh goodness, that is simultaneously funny and horrifying.

  7. Cara
    18th March 2014 / 8:44 pm


    I had hypnotherapy last year to rein in my ‘worst case scenario’ panic attacks. You know, when wandering along cliff paths with children and then hysterically rugby tackling them to the ground so you can grip hands tightly? I was beginning to freak them out and the hypnotherapy really helped me take control of my hysteria. I’m proud to say that I coped really well on NZ trip and the only time I shrieked was when my OH tried to drive us into some rapids! (But that’s allowed, I’m sure?)

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:51 pm

      It’s an interesting idea – I can imagine people getting to a point where the worry about what might go wrong starts to interfere with the enjoyment of what is, and what’s not wrong. I hope I recognise if I start to get to that point – or that Flea would tell me! Parenting, eh? Tis a complicated business.

  8. 18th March 2014 / 8:47 pm

    omg this is me I worry about everything. My eldest is 5 and I still have him on reigns at every opportunity because I have very vivid dreams that he’ll get lost or knocked over. I have even played various senarios though in my head and phone calls I’d need to make! Do I win in the worry stakes?
    Tammy (me and the tiny three) recently posted..Coombe Mill Holiday: A trip to Land’s EndMy Profile

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:52 pm

      I can relate – we never did reins but as a toddler Flea was very good at holding hands and we had an absolute rule, if you’re beside a road or near cars, you hold hands. Tragically, we STILL have the same rule, and she’s 8. But we’re making baby steps towards independence and I do now let her cross the road to walk to school, with my leaning out of the car window shouting, “Look all around you. Okay, NOW cross!”

      Totally relaxed parenting. *cough*

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:53 pm

      I am resigned to my fate.

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:53 pm


  9. 18th March 2014 / 10:21 pm

    You’d be lucky to find paracetamol in our house! So unprepared for anything!
    Donna recently posted..Living Arrows – 11/52My Profile

    • Sally
      18th March 2014 / 11:53 pm

      I am more than happy to share my list of what should be in a home first aid kit, should it be required 🙂

  10. 19th March 2014 / 7:13 am

    My medicine cupboard is identical only it spreads over two shelves – One for kids and one for adults.
    I worry about everything too..very hard not too.

    Wow that’s an expensive school trip
    Emmys Mummy recently posted..My perfect mother’s day wardrobeMy Profile

  11. 19th March 2014 / 7:43 am

    I have to say, I’m exactly the same, but I don’t think that makes is odd – I think it makes EVERYONE ELSE slapdash and needlessly careless! My mantra, when it comes to my kids, is “there’s no such thing as over cautious” and I don’t give a hoot if I come across a bit barmy at times, I’d rather err on the side of caution than look back after something horrible has happened and think about all of the things I could have done better.
    Jayne recently posted..Asking for HelpMy Profile

  12. 19th March 2014 / 8:38 am

    Your medicine cabinet looks just like mine, although I think I can trump you slightly with plastic cartons labelled on the front with stuff like ‘cough remedies’ ‘pain relief’ ‘bite & sting relief’ and so on. (Makes it easier when you are looking for stuff in a hurry. The mozzies here can be fierce, man…). However, one difference – I live in Russia. Not sure I would be quite so well stocked if I were still in London. (Having said that, don’t start checking the use-by dates please…) So you probably win on the worry stakes, overall!
    Potty Mummy recently posted..Passport photos and the disappearance of my principles…My Profile

  13. 19th March 2014 / 10:33 am

    I am 100% with you on this Sally, and it has got worse with each of my children. My medicine cabinet is just like yours. I panic if we run low on anything medicinal…just in case. I too slice grapes for lunchboxes and regularly poke sleeping children just to be on the safe side. xxx
    WENDY MCDONALD (@wendymcd83) recently posted..Freddy’s ‘Chocolate Crispy Crackle Cakes’My Profile

  14. 19th March 2014 / 9:41 pm

    Oh my goodness! I’m so happy I’m going to be travelling with someone who is so well prepared. Because I’m WORTHLESS at CPR/First Aid!
    Alison Chino recently posted..Aberdeenshire Walk (10/48)My Profile

  15. 20th March 2014 / 12:14 pm

    That is an awesome medicine cabinet, I’m quite jealous. If I had my way, ours would be just as well stocked. I read this post nodding along to every sentence. You have had a head start on worrying years, but I sense I could give you a run for your money.

    I question my OCD being behind my worries most of the time, but I sense it is just called being a parent.

    I’ve lost count of how many times I have “accidentally” woken M up in the night.
    My Two Mums recently posted..Two women in loveMy Profile

  16. 21st March 2014 / 2:08 pm

    I worry about this constantly and have a medicine cabinet downstairs and one upstairs, just in case. My husband recently did a first aid course and got him to teach me all he’d learnt. Even though we both did a child one when each of the kids were born. I may be insane.
    Susan Mann recently posted..The Very Hungry Caterpillar 45th Anniversary Giveaway #VHC45My Profile

  17. 23rd March 2014 / 7:14 pm

    I constantly do that thing where if D has slept longer than he normally does, I’ll check to see he’s still alive! My health visitor was so frank and direct with her info on cot death, its almost all I could concentrate on at one point!
    Leslie recently posted..The cow goes moo… because the LDR tells it to!My Profile

  18. 25th March 2014 / 10:38 pm

    Wow. That is impressive. It looks a bit like Boots. We struggle to find a plaster in our house. This is yet further proof that I am not a proper grown-up. So I’m going to add ‘fully stocked medicine cabinet’ to my to-buy list, under ‘bathroom bin,’ something else I don’t own. Thank you.
    Amy Ransom recently posted..10 lies I tell my kids…My Profile

  19. 28th March 2014 / 2:29 pm

    Oh how I wish I were as tidy as you. I do have medicines and I do worry but when they are actually needed can I find the one I want? No. Downstairs kitchen cupboard with the egg cups, in a tin in the bottom of my wardrobe, on the boat (that kit is pretty organised due to the previous owners, I can’t take credit), on top of the airing cupboard (which has just been dismantled so god only knows where the calpol is now) – by the time I’ve found anything the child has healed itself and my worry has been replaced by fury at my own incompetence and a house which looks like a tornado has passed through.
    Chris @thinlyspread recently posted..Sailing Holidays – The UK Reality and a Delicious Dream!My Profile

    • Sally
      31st March 2014 / 11:00 am

      But then I do have the one child. And a pathological need for order and control.

  20. 30th March 2014 / 10:52 pm

    I am with you on this one Sally. I too worry about every thing that might happen at camp, horse riding, in the garden, the proposed ski trip in 2 years time. I too have a monstrously large medicine stash… it isn’t however alphebetised and with everything neatly laid out in triplicate 😉
    Better safe than sorry x
    Downs Side Up recently posted..A Thought for the Many Types of Mummy on Mother’s Day?My Profile

    • Sally
      31st March 2014 / 10:59 am

      If it isn’t alphabetised, it’s basically anarchy. You know that, right?

    • Sally
      31st March 2014 / 10:59 am

      Ah, there’s a reason for the decongestant excess. Basically, over the last year or so, most brand-name in the UK stopped using the single most effective ingredient because theoretically it can be used by Bad People to make Bad Things. So we’re left with lots of products that really don’t do very much at all. One of the notable exceptions is the Boots own-brand decongestant. And I keep a little stash just in case they decide to follow suit and remove the effective ingredient from their tablets 🙂