To the mom parenting with anxiety,
I feel you. Every day I wake up, strap on my boots, and face a head on battle with anxiety. It’s hard to push fears and worries aside to be the nurturing, caregiver I’m supposed to be because the protector in me is constantly rising to the surface ready to take down my peace and comfort.
You know what I’m talking about. A simple outing with your kids becomes an internal war with your thoughts. “Is this safe?” “Have I considered all the dangers?” “Am I a good enough mom?” “What’s going to happen?” The list goes on.
But I want to tell you that you don’t have to let anxiety win. Here are some truths:
1. Worrying doesn’t equate caring.
Sometimes I think I truly believe that worrying shows I care. Growing up with a mom who worried, I didn’t fully realize that it came from a place of caring, I simply grew frustrated or felt like I had to spend my time comforting and reassuring. Until I was responsible for little lives of my own, I didn’t care what happened to me and dangers or threats were never on the forefront of my mind. But now I understand my mother’s feelings (they always say that will happen right?) I have learned that worrying comes from a place of caring, but it doesn’t actually show you care more than someone who doesn’t worry. Try showing you care through other ways: spending time together or supporting your child’s adventurous spirit and praying for their safety instead of worrying the dangers away.
2. Accept your worrying thoughts, and then choose differently for yourself and your family.
One of my fears is my kids getting sick. We have had a lot of terrible experiences with sickness, and the whole idea of germs puts me over the edge these days. But one way I try to combat my specific fears is to accept that they exist and then change my thoughts. It looks something like this:
First, I sit with my very real thoughts: “I’m afraid my kids are going to wake up sick in the night.”
I tell myself what is true: “I am making myself sick over the idea of them being sick instead of enjoying our times we are healthy.”
I change my thoughts: “My children being sick actually makes them stronger overall. Their bodies learn to fight and gain strength with each sickness they endure.”
You can follow the outline above by replacing my thoughts with some of your own. Just follow the pattern of acceptance and then choosing a better way.
3. Remind yourself that fear is just a feeling.
It’s hard to separate reality from our imagination sometimes. Our fears seem so very real. But, the thing is, they aren’t! They are fabrications of reality and sometimes even flat out lies. Fear is JUST A FEELING. We can’t change our circumstances, but we can change our thoughts about our circumstances. Don’t let fear win.
So, mama, I know this short read isn’t the magical potion that will free you from your anxiety. I still will wake up tomorrow with the same thoughts and feelings. But I continue to fight the battle with the above tips in mind and go to bed feeling victorious. I want that for YOU too!
Tell us in the comments how you cope with your anxiety.