Ask Rene:
My Mother Is A Worry Wart
And It’s Driving Me Crazy


Hey Rene!

So I have a question for you and the wonderful readers of Good Enough Mother.

Growing up it was just my mom and I. My beautiful mother raised me by herself and did a great job doing so. Three years ago I left Dallas and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of singing. Naturally my mom worries about me. I recognize that’s normal especially when her child moves far away but I have noticed that as I get older she worries EVEN MORE! It has gotten to the point that the worry turns into serious stress for her.

I recently purchased my first house and she calls and texts EVERYDAY to make sure my security system is set before I go to sleep or to make sure my doors are always locked, to watch out for pedestrians in the road, etc. I flew her here to LA to see the new house as well as to settle her nerves but it seems like it has made her more paranoid!

What can I do or say to her to let her know that she doesn’t have to worry so much? She is sensitive and really protective of her only child but as I move closer to 30 I worry that the stress and worry is causing her harm health wise. HELP RENE!


Grown and Gone


Dear G and G:

First, congratulations on pursuing your dream and buying a house. That’s fantastic. I’m sure your mother is very proud of you. Before I launch into my advice, you must know that though I have a degree in psychology, I am not a psychologist nor do I pretend to be. I am just a wife, mother, daughter and sister going through a lot of the same things as everyone else. Now that the disclaimer is done, here’s my amateur opinion.

The relationship between parents and their adult children can be fraught with anxiety as well as a whole bunch of other stuff. I see it with my own mother and me. It must be tough for parents to see the children that they nurtured into adulthood, the very babies whose butts they used to powder, now making big, BIG decisions, like embarking on a career path and buying a house thousands of miles from home. But as I read this, the thing that immediately comes to mind is that I suspect this is more about your mother and her own fears and insecurities than it is about you. It is absolutely normal and natural for a parent to worry about their children but it becomes a problem, as you pointed out when it begins to interfere with their own life, as is the case here. You do not say how old your mother is but I’m guessing mid-60’s, early 70’s? The fact that you are her only child and now living thousands of miles away sounds like it’s causing some anxiety that got worse when you actually bought the house. Translation: this is a permanent move and you are never coming back “home”. Assuming that is what’s going on, here’s what I would do.


1. Talk To Mom

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You need to reassure her that you will always be her baby and that no time, space or distance will ever change that. Let her know that while you may not be together physically, she is always in your heart, you appreciate the job she did in raising you and it is only because she gave you such a firm footing that you are able to accomplish the things you have in such a short time. You can transition into asking her more about what’s happening in her life. Is she healthy? What’s going on in her social circle? Perhaps she will take the opportunity to open up to you a bit.