Frightened mom and little kid son with bowl of popcorn watching scary scene in movie closing their eyes, sitting on sofa at home. Mother hugs the child, watches a horror movie, feels fear.

5 scariest things about being a parent

Halloween is almost upon us, and if you’re like me, you’ve probably been binging flicks full of monsters, witches, and mummies all October. But is anything really scarier than being a parent? In honor of spooky season, I give you five fears that most parents experience at some point. I’ve also suggested a scary movie or bingeable TV series to accompany each fear because horror is designed to help us move past our fears (or scare them straight out of us).

What if something bad happens to my baby?

The minute you brought that newborn from the safety of the womb out into the cold, bright light of the world, you probably began to imagine every possible worst case scenario. This never goes away. According to a 2017 survey by Today’s Parent, parents’ biggest worries varied based on their age. If you’re a Millennial mom, you’re probably worried about your child feeling safe in the world. Gen Xers are most worried about someone attacking their kids. Baby Boomers stress about accidents.

Pair this chronic terror with the Apple TV series Servant about a Philly couple who hire a nanny for their fake baby Jericho.

Creepy babysitter from Servant TV show

What if my child doesn’t have access to the opportunities she needs to reach her potential?

We’re in uncertain times, and lots of parents are concerned about what that means for their newborn’s future. After all, if there’s one thing new parents figure out quickly, it’s that time goes by way faster than you used to think. Can you get Junior ready to face the big bad world by the time he’s 18? A 2019 survey by Baby Center revealed this was the number one fear of most modern parents.

Pair this fear that continues to build tension over the long haul with the iconic horror film Rosemary’s Baby because, presumably, the weird occult society responsible for that miracle baby would foot the education bill for their little anti-Christ to be.

Fearful mother from Rosemary's Baby

What if other kids pick on my child?

At least 1 million children were bullied on Facebook in 2017 alone. Out in the real world, nearly half of children in fourth through twelfth grade have been bullied by other kids at school at least once, according to statistics presented by In other words, parents have real reasons to worry about bullying (or, possibly worse, realizing your sweet kid is a bully).

Pair bullying stress with the horror classic Carrie about a girl who taught us all a valuable less about what happens to bullies when they pick on the wrong kid.

Scene from the film Carrie

What if my kid becomes a technology junky?

According to the 2018 American Family Survey conducted by the Deseret News and Brigham Young University, technology abuse and abuse stemming from technology are a real fear for many parents. The statistic about bullying on Facebook offers some insight into why the virtual world is so scary. However, there’s more to worry about than cyberbullying when kids go online. Lots of parents worry about their kids becoming addicted to technology.

Pair this technophobia with Raised by Wolves, the Ridley Scott sci-fi series that teaches us that robots can make perfectly reasonable parental units, so we should all calm down about technology. (But isn’t that exactly what a robot would teach us?)

Robot mom from Raised by Wolves

What if I’m a bad parent?

Ouch, mama! Nothing is quite as scary as fearing you’re a bad parent, but chances are you’re knocking it out of the ballpark. Being a mama ain’t easy, and we all make a few mistakes between the delivery room and the graduation march. However, it’s a safe bet that you’re doing a fine job.

Pair the universal fear of being a bad parent with the Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece Psycho, which features one of the worst mothers in film history and also reminds us that the job of a parent never really ends.

Scene from the Hitchcock film Psycho

The takeaway for terrified parents

The world can feel like a pretty scary place these days, but the truth is it’s always been scary for parents. Being worried about your child’s mental and physical health, about their social lives and their futures, about all the temptations they’re faced with, and about your own ability to deal with it all actually says a lot about you as a parent. You’re worried because you love your kid, and that means you’re doing a great job already. Keep it up, mama! Now, go get your crew ready for Halloween, and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram at @milknmamasbaby so we can include your amazing costumes as inspiration next year!