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Anxiety and Parenthood – A match made in hell

crystal postEach day I wake up, from the non-restful sleep I attempted the night before, my mind is already racing with panic and fear of what lies ahead.  I worry about their moods, their happiness, their fears, and their successes.  I worry about what’s happening for dinner, what’s happening tomorrow, what’s happening this summer.  It’s constant…the worry. As a naturally anxious person (also confirmed by a doc), my sense of worry and panic seems to never settle.  And the unfortunate consequence of that-beyond my own internal stomach aches, loss of sleep, and never ending rapid heart rate-is that my children have to bear those burdens.

As a mother of two young kids, 5 ½ and 2 ½, my children have been the best thing I could have ever dreamed about.  They are lively, so funny, full of energy, and also the most caring and sweet little beings.  My husband is also fully committed to our family and so hands on that sometimes, I worry I am not doing enough.  Our family is happy, content, and all about love and care to one another.  We value family time more than anything.

However, on most days, this dark cloud shrouds our life and household-my anxiety.  It affects most things we do from simple, mundane tasks like dinner and laundry, but also more key events like family vacations, sickness, and school.  I over worry about things I can’t control, yet unsuccessfully manage my anxiety by worrying even more.  WHY IS THAT? (See what I mean?!?  Honestly, I even couldn’t sleep one night worrying about writing this blog.)

The most frequent thing that affects my children is my constant over-correcting and adjustment of things to try and “control” an outcome I can’t define or predict.  A good example is my son.  As any normal adolescent that is growing and changing his behaviors change too.  I am constantly “harping” on him about his behavior.  I have this terrible fear he’s going to grow up to be “bad kid.” (Now I have no real proof of this, but as an educator, I think I can see how good kids can quickly get lost along the way.) My other fear is that all he hears is me yelling, correcting, or telling him NO.  Will he resent me later in life because I was too hard on him?  Does he think I don’t love him? Does he realize I am just trying to shape him to be a great, young man? My husband then gets frustrated with me for losing my patience, not being positive enough, and worrying about something that is so down the line, he can’t understand why I am so anxious about it now.

In recent months, I have had many conversations about this topic with friends and family, and have come to realize that although my fears, concerns, and worries are true and real, they are not out of line for many moms.  I may act on mine more, or verbalize mine more often, but all moms worry.  And gosh darn it, that’s okay!  Right?


crystalCrystal M. Edwards is a mom of two and is a former teacher of 10 years. She is currently Dean of Students and has been married for 7 years.

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