The Call of Anxiety
Emotional, tired, worried, impatient, overwhelmed, typical, doubts, unexceptional and wants to quit.
– Motherhood anxiety.
It’s a new day. Before I can get up, my three year old is already in the bedroom asking for a banana, while her baby brother is crying because she woke him up when coming into the bedroom. Then, I hear my two year old calling out that he’s ready to be let out of his room. It’s just one of those days when Anxiety is calling as soon as I step out of bed. It tells me “If you had a better routine, maybe you wouldn’t be so overwhelmed this morning”. I change baby, then two year old and I have my three year old remind me that she wants a banana, anxiety calls again “You’re a forgetful mom, she just asked and you and you already forgot, she’s going to think you don’t hear her or think she’s important”.
I serve my two oldest breakfasts, cereal this morning, and make my baby a bottle. Anxiety calls again, "Are you helping them form good eating habits?" and also, “you’ve failed, why didn’t you try harder to breast feed your baby?” "breast is best right?"
The day goes on. My three and two year old fight while playing. I separate them and give them alone time. Anxiety again, “Are you disciplining them correctly, are your in- laws right, once in a while they need a spanking?" Finally its nap time, a little break for mom. I go on social media and of course, anxiety calls again, "Look at that mom she looks so put together and she has three kids also. How does her house look so clean? While mine is a mess!” and then you go on a comparing roller coaster. Needless to say this is just one of “those days”.
When anxiety calls, she definitely lets me have it. As a mom of three under three, anxiety sure calls me a lot. Sometimes I answer and listen, which is not good for me or my family, but their are other times I have the strength and courage to stay calm and realize this is just a trick to make me doubt my abilities as a mother. I have learned a few ways to help me deal with motherhood anxiety when it starts calling, ultimately ignoring the call!
Here are some thoughts and things that help me deal with those days when anxiety calls. Talking to someone or writing about it helps. I try to think positively. It’s hard at times but usually talking to my husband helps a lot. If he’s at work I still call and he usually gives me the right words to give me the courage I need to not listen to anxiety’s call and tells me what I need to hear.
- 1. You are a great mother to your kids. Know that you are doing your best and your kids love you either way. Sometimes I’m too hard on myself because I fear that my kids might not feel like I love them equally, when they are all demanding my attention it’s hard to attend all their need at the same time, yet I always somehow end up meeting their needs. Children are so resilient, even at a young age if you talk and communicate with them; they tend to somehow understand. When I tell the two oldest that they need to wait for the snack until I’m done feeding baby brother, they seem to get it (most of the time).
- 2. No two moms are alike. I was extremely hard on myself when I stopped breastfeeding my nine month old. Before having him, I knew I wanted to breastfeed as long as I could and was going to give it my all. Honestly I felt pressure from social media, because everywhere I looked I would see “breast is best”. When it didn’t work out the way I wanted it too, only breastfeeding for a month and a half, I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t last longer and felt like a failure. I learned that every mom is different. It’s great for the moms who can do it, but as long as baby and mommy are healthy all that matters is that the baby is fed. Learn to not be so hard on yourself.
- 3. What works for you might not work for others and vice versa. I sometimes question the way I discipline my children and always wonder if I am being too soft on them. I think I was spanked when I was younger and I turned out fine. Yet I choose not to spank my children. I want to discipline positively. Learn to trust your intuition and do what you feel is right when it comes to your children. Even if the grandparents or others don’t agree.
- 4. Realize you are enough. Do not compare your life to someone else’s. You would be surprised at how many of those “perfect mom” posts aren't actually real. I’ve heard of moms just painting one nail for the picture, with her coffee mug to look good, while the others that no one sees are a mess. Find a moment just for you even if it's 5 minutes to drink your coffee. As a mom, you have your work cut out for you but you are the one cut out to accomplish it when it comes to your children.
I’m sure there is more to help you combat anxiety but these are the thoughts that help me. When motherhood anxiety is calling try to ignore the call and think something positive for every negative. I started with a quote and I will end with one too.
Emotional, yet the rock, tired, but keeps going, worried, but full of hope. Impatient, yet patient. Overwhelmed, but never quits. Amazing, even though doubted. Wonderful, even in the chaos. Life changer, every single day. – A real mother -Rachel Martin.
The quote in the beginning was all negative yet this one has a positive take on the negative. Try to think about this when “the call of anxiety” creeps up on you.