Being a mom is hard. Being a mom with anxiety is even harder. There is no quick fix, but it does get better.
As a mom on social media, we all tend to share the highlights. We share the beautiful parts of our lives. The vacations, crafts, recipes, and advice for other moms when we happen to do something “right”. But life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows like the internet would like to make it out to be. Sometimes, life is hard and we don’t have all of the answers.
There are days where I struggle through just to make it to bedtime. Days where all I want is to be left alone in peace and silence. Those days are rough, especially as a mom to two young kids. Some days I have to power through. Faking that smile and pretending to have it all together.
The reality though, is that I am a mom struggling with anxiety. Some days I am on top of the world, others I don’t even want to get out of bed. But somehow, I am persisting. Those two tiny humans I made, they inspire me to push through the hard days because I know there will be a rainbow after the storm. This is me. A real mom, surviving motherhood with anxiety.
Surviving Motherhood with Anxiety
It isn’t often that I share the real, raw side of myself. Not for any other reason that it is a scary thing to do. Us moms struggle with so much, and some days it is just overwhelming. When I became a mom six years ago, I had no clue what I was doing. And now, six years and another kid later… I still have no clue what I am doing.
So, let me get real with you for a minute. Some days, I feel like I can’t even function. I want to skip work and stay in bed. Not for any reason other than the thought of having to be social, talk to people, and function in society seems overwhelming.
Yup, I said it. Me, the extroverted mom blogger has days where she dreads having to socialize. Don’t understand it? Well neither do I. Some days, it is just how my brain works. I literally will think of the best ways to avoid human interaction and crowds.
Y’all see those Disney media events I am blessed to be invited too? Well, what you don’t see is the some times debilitating feelings I get before I walk in the doors. A prime example is the Villain’s After Hours event that I went to. It was a wonderful night. Packed with local bloggers like myself. Getting to eat, socialize, and enjoy a really wonderful night at Magic Kingdom.
The first part of the night, I spent trapped inside my own head. Thoughts of “why am I here?”. “Everyone else here is so much more deserving than me”. “what if no one talks to me?”. Yup, full on panic attack pretty much right there at an amazing Disney event. But you know what? I made it. You know why? I met a new friend. Someone who was there and had no clue what was going on inside my head. She was in the right place, the right time and I ended up having an amazing night.
You can see my whole story about that night on my Instagram here:
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Parenting with Anxiety
It isn’t just large media events that trigger my anxiety though. Sometimes it is the simple things that come along with parenting that turn me into an anxious mess. Things like taking both kids anywhere alone will put me on high alert.
Just going to the grocery store with both kids, or out to a restaurant will set the gears in my mind turning. “What if they act up?”… “Everyone will stare at me and judge me as a bad mom”… yup, that is where my mind immediately goes to. Do I still do it? Yes, because we need groceries and my husband works a ton so he can’t always come with me. Just because I do it though, doesn’t mean it isn’t an internal struggle.
As a mom, I worry about things. I think we all do to an extent really. As a woman surviving motherhood with anxiety, I think about these things much more often than I should.
Life, death, the thought of losing a child or dying and leaving my kids without a mom… I worry about not being a good enough mom… Things I think run through all of our heads, but some days those thoughts consume me. I like to think, I can’t be the only one who feels like this… But honestly, I never talk about it as much as I should.
Dealing with my Anxiety
Instead of keeping it all bottled up inside and faking it until I make it… I am learning that sometimes just having someone to talk to helps a great deal. Not someone who will try to “fix me” but someone to just listen and understand without passing judgement.
I’m trying to be more open to talking about my struggles, and honestly, it has been helping. Something else that has been helping me is writing. I keep a journal by my bed and sometimes just getting everything out of my head and down on paper can be cathartic. Writing has always been my release, and now I am using it to get negative thoughts out of my head so I can move on with my day and enjoy being me again.
Sometimes I just need to be alone. Having alone time is very important for me to manage my anxiety. Especially since a lot of my “triggers” come from social factors. I enjoy getting to be alone, relax, and decompress. Even though I am a self proclaimed extrovert, sometimes I do have those introverted tendencies.
Now, my anxiety is my own. It is not the same as anyone else’s struggle, and we are not here to compare. Personally, I am not medicated for anxiety. I don’t believe that I am at the level where I need medication. Not that I am against anxiety medication. If it were to get to that point, I would make that call to my doctor. Just because I am able to manage my anxiety without medication, doesn’t mean that you can or that you should. It is a personal journey and every single one of us is on a different path.
More than “Just a Mom”
This may be an unpopular opinion, but something else that works for me is being more than “just a mom”. Yup, I said it. Too often does my identity become consumed in being a mom. I love being a mom, don’t get me wrong. My kids are pretty amazing and we have a lot of fun adventures… But I am so much more than “just a mom”.
Like I said earlier, writing gives me a release that is just mine. I go out, without my kids. Spend time with friends. Read books that don’t have pictures in them. I run this website and social media channels. All of these things help to give my an identity separate from my kids.
We Are Not Alone
Sometimes anxiety can make us feel utterly alone. I know I will have days where I feel like I must be the only person struggling with these feelings. But you know what? I am not alone. And if you are struggling with anxiety, you are not alone either.
It can be hard, surviving motherhood with anxiety, but we are in this together.