I grew up with a father that was practically obsessed with watching the news. It’s pretty much all he ever watched. I hated it when I was little but as I grew up I found myself watching the news and even going so far as to listen to news stations on A.M. radio in my car. I liked being informed of the politics, current events and what is going on across the world. I have always found a lot of the news to be disturbing but since having kids, I feel like I am constantly bombarded with it and I am finding it to be almost unwatchable. There was a time when you had watch the news at a specific hour or purposely tune into a news radio station but now everything is everywhere and instantaneous and almost unavoidable. We are inundated with the news all day every day. There is 24-hour news broadcasting on our televisions, we can get instant updates on our phones and it’s just a click away on our computers.
I feel as though this past year the news has been particularly overwhelming. Between the current political climate, police shootings, photos of refugee children, the opiate epidemic, health care, North Korea, the all the ways my kids are at risk just by going on the internet … I just can’t anymore. I can actually feel the acid in my stomach churn and the anxiety tighten my throat. That’s only the big national stories and not the local news that is usually filled with kidnappings, child predators and local gang activity. And that often scares me even more because it’s right in my “backyard.” Not to mention all the commentary and rhetoric that follows on social media. In the last week, I have read more hate on the Internet than I have ever been exposed to me in my entire life. And I have had enough.
It’s just too much…bombings, shootings, killing, kidnappings, sex trafficking, racism, hate speech. How is a parent supposed to navigate their children through this world without having a complete panic attack? I have been on edge for at least the past week. I took my kids to a park this past weekend that was very crowded and I just couldn’t relax. I found myself walking in circles around the park with my eyes darting from kid to kid. The have read a news story where a strange man broke into a little girl’s room and tried to kidnap her in the middle of the night. So now I find myself questioning the safety of my children in my own home.
People who know me know I have always been a happy laid-back person that usually let’s things roll off my back but I am at a tipping point. I am trying to find the line between being completely clueless about what’s going on in the world and saving my sanity for the sake of parenting my children and navigating my day–to-day life without getting an ulcer or having a complete melt down. My kids are so young and I am constantly trying to filter what I should and shouldn’t talk to them about, what is need to know and what I don’t want them to know at all.
Yes, I realize that this is a completely privileged position to be in because many people don’t get to shut these things out. But at what point is self preservation ok? How much is too much? Is the world in the most dangerous state yet or does having access to 24-hour news just make it seem that way? Nonetheless, I have reached the point of self-preservation because my head is swimming and my heart is brimming with anxiety. So I am turning off my news alerts, not tuning in to any national or local news stations and turning off AM radio. I just need to stick my head in the sand for a moment and enjoy the innocence of my children because it is all just too overwhelming.