“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” 1 Peter 1:7
I’ve tried writing this post a countless amount of times. I’ve deleted this post a countless amount of times. Why would I delete such a post? Well because of anxiety. It’s an uncomfortable topic to talk about; I could honestly say I feel more comfortable talking about bodily functions rather than something that breaks your personality down to such a raw level. It’s a topic that is hard to explain, especially to those who don’t experience it. With that being said, here is my segment on what it’s like to have anxiety as a mother.
“Aww baby, don’t worry, it’ll be ok”. Raise your hand if this is something that has ever come out of your momma mouth. Don’t worry. Such an easy thing to say, yet such a hard thing to do. Telling your child not to worry when you’re probably more worried than they are, is such a hard sentence to swallow. Not only is it hard to swallow, it’s hard to mother with. Worrying comes so natural to some yet is foreign to others. It can take an amazing moment and break it down to a puddle of nerves. It can take an exciting occasion and cause you to think about an outcome that is further fetched than a pig flying. Anxiety is not easy. Anxiety as a mother sometimes feels like a bodily attack on itself.
Have you ever walked into Target with your kids and in your head you have an escape plan in case someone starts shooting? Do you stay away from large events in the fear that a bomb might be in the building? Have you ever sat in an auditorium during a Christmas Pageant and realize you haven’t watched anything other than where the spectators hands go? I have. I do. Do I do this every single time I leave the house? No. Do the people I’m with know I’m feeling this way or know I’m doing these things? No. Anxiety can be silent. It can be something so quiet that those you’re with and those around you have no idea you’re experiencing it. You might be quiet, you might be moody, but what others don’t realize is your mind is completely cluttered with more thoughts than a typical mind might contain. While your friend might be thinking about what she is going to cook for dinner for her family that night, you might be thinking about the following—ALL AT ONCE—
- what that new freckle is on your daughters face
- why your son won’t eat anything but bananas
- if your husband is going to be mad that the house was left a disaster this morning
- why your neighbor hasn’t texted you back in the last hour
- why your dogs breath smells so bad
- why your son woke up twice last night but not the night before
- why your mom hasn’t responded to the picture you sent her 30 minutes ago
- why your lipstick is cracking
- what Charlie thinks of your last blog post
- why Susan never liked your Instagram photo
- whether this blog post was going to make you sound crazy
Does that sound crazy to you? Because it does to me. AND I JUST DESCRIBED MYSELF! You see, anxiety isn’t something you can just control. It has no on button, it has no off button. It doesn’t discriminate. Anxiety has no sense of time. It can come to you at 2am when you’re sound asleep, it can come to you at 9am when you’re in the middle of having a dance party with your children. It can make you appear as a hot mess, it can make you appear like you have it all together. It is complicated.
I’ve had anxiety pretty much my whole life. What started as separation anxiety later turned to generalized anxiety and has stuck around ever since. It was controlled for a few years, and it has been rocky for a couple of years. I will admit, being a parent has brought new struggles mentally and has kickstarted anxiety in a new way. Emotionally, I. have it together. My emotions haven’t played games on me-however, my mind has. As much as I would like to disagree with this next statement, I can’t fully do that. Anxiety has affected me as a mom. Don’t get me wrong, I am with my children every second of every day. I’m on the floor playing with them, snuggling them on the couch, chasing them around the house, and keeping them alive. Am I all there, all of the time? No. Would I be all there if I didn’t have anxiety? Probably. Because, I just checked my instagram 4 times in the last 10 minutes, I just wrote a paragraph in my mind on what I want to post next, I just remembered I haven’t taken a photo of one of the daycare kids to send to their parents but now they’re sleeping, I just remembered I haven’t eaten in the last 5 hours, I just remembered I was supposed to call my Great Aunt back. These thoughts have clouded my mind in this moment- in the same moment that I’m sitting on the floor next to my 1 year old, while my 3 year old is making up a song. Anxiety won. Anxiety robbed this moment that I had with my children.
You see, anxiety as a parent is difficult. It not only affects me, it affects my kids. It can control my mind, it can control my plans. It can take a simple outing and make it a military mission. And while my children have probably never heard me discuss anxiety, I can only assume they can sense it. So my goal right now is this, write worries down. When I’m overthinking something, tell someone. When I’m worried about what someone might have thought about a situation, ask them about it. When I’m worried about a health issue with one of my children, take them into the doctor. Will I sound crazy to most people? Probably. But guess what? I’ll clear my mind. I’ll clear my mind in time to not only hear the first 4 out of 10 songs my daughter sings, but I’ll be focused on the 6 bonus tracks I missed prior to this. When my son learns a new word, I won’t miss it because I was replaying a conversation in my head. And when I go to pray for peace and guidance, I won’t be mentally visualizing my next days tasks but I’ll be fully focused on my conversation with God. Because lets face it, whether anxiety makes sense, it exists.. but God is TRUE, and he will take away your fears.