Most of us have been there.
Maybe you feel like the only one. You aren’t!
Anxiety in parenting comes in different forms. From a child’s health to a child’s behavior, from a friend’s opinion on your parenting style to managing varied parental expectations in extended family situations. Some of us fear the basic safety of our babies, and others fear their acceptance or rejection by peers. When do we start solid foods? Do we spank? How do we get through this awful stage? How can my infant endure an operation? Will she choke on a grape? What temperature is high enough to be concerned (and is my thermometer EVEN WORKING)? The questions are endless . . .
Intense Anxiety:: Help Is Available
There are many avenues you can explore if anxiety has a terrible grip on you during the current phase of parenting. Maybe you are crippled to the point that daily life has been greatly impacted. Doing work in therapy and taking medication are proven ways to combat this monster. Please, I beg of you, take steps to help yourself. You can’t care for others without first caring for yourself. I’m saying prayers right now that you will find success in getting help!
Getting Through Mild Parenting Anxiety
If your anxiety isn’t clinical at this point, then this message is for you.
First, breathe deeply. Acknowledge that this feeling is uncomfortable. And then remember that it will not last. If you’re currently anxious about something, you’re on the way to that feeling being pushed out. If you can acknowledge you feel scared, you’re halfway there — to the place of not feeling scared anymore.
Just as you change clothing every single morning, your feelings change. Some days you’ll be more anxious about your kiddos than other days. Feelings come and go. Ride this wave a bit longer and speak this truth over yourself as often as necessary: We can do this.
Your child can get through this time. YOU will also. Fear doesn’t get to have the final word in your parenting or in your family. Press on, take one step after the other, and remember that you’re a fighter.
Perspective can teach us so much. You may be currently zoomed in on one aspect of your child to the point of scrutiny. Obsessing feeds anxiety. Gain some perspective by stepping back. Look at the whole picture in front of you. Your precious family looks to you, Mama, and guess what? When you zoom out, aren’t you in awe? Isn’t life intricately beautiful? Allow yourself to push past that anxiety by zooming out rather than fixating.
See Anxiety as Helpful
In my opinion, anxiety is part of life and is meant to help keep us out of dangerous situations. You may be seeing your kiddo face actual danger, or you may not. Either way, you’re experiencing a primal safety mechanism when anxiety sweeps you away.
Although it can overwhelm and become a negative feedback loop, anxiety in and of itself can be very helpful. It pushes us to study hard before an exam or to look both ways before crossing the street. We need that drive! Rather than curse our anxious ways, I believe in trying to work with them. What is your body telling you it needs, Mama? Do it! Practice self care. Grace and gentleness toward ourselves goes a long way, especially when anxiety strikes.
Go Easy on Yourself
It’s more than okay that you’re fearful right now. Of course, you fear both the little and big decisions in parenting. Keep pushing; keep on going. Your current worry will not last forever. Breathe that in with certainty. And breathe out those nagging fears, little or big. I hope by allowing the feeling to be you, dear reader, can push past it. Keep rocking this motherhood thing.
The little souls in your care both need you and love you. Push. On a hard day or a day you’re tempted to fixate, go easy on yourself. Maybe you need a day to worry so that you won’t for the next few. You’re pushing through this! Hang on, and be good to yourself on this beautiful ride. We are in this thing together, regardless of your source or reason for parenting anxiety. Solidarity!