Anxiety VS Motherhood
What does Anxiety look like as a mother?
Anxiety has many different faces and it is hard to know what you are experiencing. I did not know what anxiety was until I heard someone else describe their own anxiety. Then it clicked and I realized I had it. Anxiety causes chaos within yourself. When you have chaos (also known as children) within your home then life becomes unbearable. There are 5 things that I believe describe what anxiety is like as a mother.
Mother’s worry about their children. This is common and has been since the beginning of time. We worry about what to feed them. If they are getting enough nutrients. We worry about their education, about them getting along with other children and we worry if they are happy. Let me show you my train of thought for my children.
“He is waking up so early! Am I putting him to bed too early? Or is he going to bed too late? Should I let him crawl into bed with me at 4:30am? Or do I send him back to his room? If I send him back to his
room, he will just come back out crying. If he cries too loud he will wake up his brother, then I have two to deal with at 4:30 am. But if I let him sleep in our bed then he’s kicking us, and we don’t sleep. Also, he will get too used to doing this and become too attached then he won’t want to go to school and will sleep in our bed until he is an adult. His brother will resent us because we allow him to sleep in our bed but not him…”
It goes on and on. Is this normal? For a mother, yes. However, what is not normal is doing this about every little thing. It is not normal to feel pressured to fix every little thing to the point of being overwhelmed then feeling the tightness well up into a ball in your chest threatening to squeeze your heart into oblivion.
2. Worst-Case Scenarios
It is not normal to envision every little thing that can happen and seeing the worst-case scenario. Again, let’s step back into my mind as we traveled to Georgia to see my in-laws.“oh, look there is a random car on the road… our tire is probably going to pop then we will pull over and as my husband is attempting to change the tire, a stranger will probably pull up and shoot my husband and then drive off. I will be left on the side of the road with two children and a dead or dying husband. I will watch the love of my life leave me. What would I do? How will I make money (cue that tight little ball constricting my heart and tears begin to well up behind my eyes causing the oh too familiar burn) I will be alone! Will I remarry? Should I move back in with my parents?.” That can go on and on until my mental breakdown becomes a full-blown panic attack.
3. Panic Attacks
Oh yes, panic attacks. You may have or have not experienced one of these horrific moments. If you have not had a panic attack count yourself lucky. This is the moment when the anxiety builds until the tight ball is no long only squeezing your heart but your lungs as well. This is when for some reason you cannot catch you breath. You begin gasping for air as uncontrollable fear, panic, stress, and overwhelm paralyze you body and all you can do is lay there.
4. Feelings of being Overwhelmed
Have you ever looked at your sink and counters to find dishes piled up then walking away because you felt overwhelmed? Have you ever made a ridiculous to do list then barely being able to accomplish one maybe two things because you were so stressed at the very thought of completely them all? Yes, this is anxiety.
As a mother, many things depend on us. I stay at home and teach online to make some money. We also do the laundry which includes sorting, washing, drying, folding, hanging, and putting them all away. We plan meals, go grocery shopping, cook the meals, clean the dishes and put away the dishes. How about finances, fighting with our children to eat healthy, go to bed, and “STOP HITTING YOUR BROTHER!” We take kids to school, help with their homework, teach them morals, and try to keep them alive. This barely covers what we are responsible as mothers.
No wonder mothers have anxiety! However, you are not alone. It is very common for mothers to have these health issues. I struggled with depression my entire life with a little anxiety here and there but when I became a mother my anxiety went through the roof. It is the pressure of a little person’s life depending on you. The crying for no reason, the tantrums because I gave him a blue spoon when he wanted the green but didn’t tell me that. Anxiety is the feelings of not being good enough and the yelling. Oh yes! the yelling.
5. Feeling out of control (in my case yelling!)
Has anyone ever told you that you shouldn’t yell at your kids? I’ve heard it a million times. I’ve heard all about how I am causing them anxiety and scaring them. How I am probably causing emotional trauma which makes them act up more. Oh, I have heard all about how I am doing everything wrong. What have I not heard? How to do it right, how do you control the boa constrictor in your chest threatening to tighten up when your child blows up for no reason or a stupid reason, or how do I contain myself from yelling?
I know I yell too much because my anxiety will kick in and I blow up. The overwhelming guilt afterward eats into my very core. I always have to apologize to my 3-year-old. This is anxiety. Worries, , worst-case scenarios, panic attack, being overwhelmed quickly and easily, and feeling like you are out of control.
What you should know, you are not alone. Many mothers feel anxiety and struggle with it daily. Do not beat yourself up. Whether you believe in a God or not this child was given to you. He or she is a part of you. You are their mother. Whether you believe in motherly instincts or divine intervention you can handle this. You can do this mama! One day at a time and one task at a time. Breathe, we can fight this!