Can we talk for a little bit about Mom Anxiety. I’ve had anxiety issues for a lot of my life and I’ve learned to deal with them. Then I had a baby and suddenly I felt like my anxiety was spinning out of control again.
Mom anxiety comes on the moment you realize you can no longer protect your baby. For nine months you are their shelter, source of food, and protector from anything the world throws at them.
When they exit your body it becomes clear that you cannot protect them in the same way you have in the past. You can’t feel them moving and kicking unless you pick them up and hold them.
Slowly you start imagining all the bad things that can happen and as time goes on those bad things get worse. If you’ve ever imagined your kid running across the room, tripping and cracking their head on something, or breaking a bone you may have mom anxiety.
I will be laying in bed to go to sleep at night, suddenly hear my two year old cough, and wonder if he’s choking on saliva. Then I sneak and listen to hear if he’s still breathing.
Mom anxiety is imagining the worst case scenario consistently even in completely normal situations.
There are a few ways I deal with this that help in the moment when Mom anxiety strikes.
Check out my post Diary of a Mom: Feeling Like a Bad Mom.
Toddlers are Scientists
I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Toddlers are little scientists. They experiment with everything in life and it’s completely normal.
We cannot possibly protect them from every bruise, bump, scrape or bonk that comes along. Nor should we. This is how toddlers learn about their capabilities.
Though if they do fall down or get hurt be prepared with this First Aid Kit that fits right in your purse.
It’s important to their development that they learn what they are capable of and what they should and shouldn’t do.
Yes we hold the railing on stairs or hold your hand when walking in a parking lot. We still keep them safe in potentially dangerous situations.
However, if your toddler runs from one side of the sofa to the other, trips, and falls off the sofa – like mine did at about 2 years old – they will most likely be ok. This is how they learn that sofa’s are for sitting not jumping and running.
Do Strategic Child Proofing
Obviously you don’t want your child to get into the cleaners but is it really necessary for you to baby proof every cabinet and closet in your house? Put the cleaners up on a shelf in your utility closet instead of under the sink.
This way you can teach them to stay out of the cabinets instead of turning them into obstacle course your child will see as a challenge. Remember your child is a scientist and if they really want something they will figure out how to get past the child proof locks.
Put in the plastic electric plug covers even though they will most likely pull every single one out and bring them to you at some point. Use child locks on your front and garage doors up high to prevent them from deciding to go outside without you.
However as your child gets mobile you need to spend a few weeks teaching them what they can and cannot touch. This can vary depending on what you have in your house.
If you have things that are super expensive or hold lots of sentimental value put them away or out of reach. Then walk around as your child explores and teach them what they can’t touch or play with.
They Will Not Break (99% of the time)
Children are pretty resilient and can take some pretty big – or at least big to us – bumps and not be affected in the slightest. Remember how you were as a kid?
I remember running down a concrete driveway once, tripping, and skinning up both my knees really bad. You want to know what I did, I got up and continued running across the street to a friends house.
I cleaned myself up once I got to my friends house and put some band-aids on my knees but I continued playing.
At some point in your child’s life they may break a bone. Guess what? You will go to the hospital, get a cast, all their friends will sign it, and they will have a broken bone story to tell for the rest of their life.
Ease Your Mom Anxiety
No matter how many people tell you your child will most likely be ok you will still fear the worst – and it’s ok. I absolutely get that, so ease that anxiety by checking and double checking.
Ease that anxiety by using baby gates and drawer stoppers on the sharp knife drawer. When you are laying in bed and you suddenly can’t remember if you blocked off the front or back door get up and go check them.
It’s ok to ease the anxiety you are feeling by listening to your child breathe in the middle of the night. Or to ease the anxiety by making your home as safe as you can. It’s ok to ease your anxiety by checking and double checking for your child’s safety.
Take Care of You
The effects of anxiety on your physical health can get severe if left unchecked. Additionally, as mom’s we get worn down and feel exhausted most days. There are a few things we can do to help with anxiety levels.
Skip the caffeine. Ok not completely, cause let’s face it coffee is life. However, after you have your coffee in the morning stick to water for the rest of the day. Too much caffeine can exasperate your feelings of anxiety. Water will keep you hydrated which your body will really appreciate. Pick up a water bottle to help you be sure you’re drinking enough.
Escape anxiety by getting lost in books or TV shows. Consider keeping a journal so you can understand your anxiety just a little bit better.
Get some exercise. Practice yoga in your living room. Go for a walk. Or have a dance party with your toddler. Exercise gets your heart rate up, releases endorphins, and can clear your mind for just a little while.
Get creative. Color with your kid (or by yourself), paint, crochet or knit, or any other creative hobby. Being creative helps to ease anxiety and depression. It clears the mind and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Mom anxiety sucks. You can’t just stop it because it’s how our brains are wired. So we do the best we can in order to ease that anxiety. We try our hardest to calm ourselves so we aren’t getting on the nerves of those close to us.
Reality is our children will be ok, most likely. Our brains, however, don’t see it that way. So we do what we need to do to keep ourselves calm. We need patience from our family and probably a bit of understanding and validation.
If you know someone who is going has Mom anxiety, listen to them. Don’t blow off their concerns. Validate their concerns and help them figure out a way to feel more secure.
What do you think? Do you suffer from Mom anxiety? Leave a comment below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your parenting and mom boards.
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