Parenting with Anxiety: Shifting Perspectives

I am an anxious person in general, as I’m sure many people are. I see and talk to so many people who talk about having anxiety, I feel as though it’s a pretty common thing. My anxiety has increased what seems like tremendously since having children of my own and becoming a mom.

I chalk up the increase in my anxiety to not only having to worry about myself on a daily basis, but now having to worry about not one, but TWO children who rely on myself and my husband for basically everything.

I know, I know … some people have way more than two children and obviously make it through the days. I actually want at least one more child, maybe two (if that’s what’s in the cards for us) but with each new life that’s another person to worry about and be responsible for. Another piece of your heart physically outside of your body, that you can’t keep in a bubble and protect from all the bad in the world, as much as you would like to.

AND THAT RIGHT THERE IS THE ROOT OF MOST OF MY ANXIETY.

On top of anxiety, I also consider myself a hypochondriac which I think causes me to think about the worst possible outcome in most situations. Feeling queasy? “I have a stomach bug!” Got a cold? “What if it’s an autoimmune disease?!” The same applies for my kids, always worrying about what ifs and how to protect them from situations that they’ll probably never get in.

I just can’t help it. It’s how my brain works. I wish it was different, but it’s not. But IT IS something I’m working on.

Recently someone talked to me about noticing if and how my kids respond to my anxiety, and that really stuck with me. I never really considered how my anxiety affects my kids, but I already see it in my oldest. I don’t want my kids to be scared of the world, I want to prepare them for it. If I’m always overprotecting them from everything and worrying way too much, what is that teaching them? What good will that be to them when they’re grown and out on their own?

After recognizing how my anxiety is already affecting our kids, I’ve been trying to approach situations differently and keep my anxiety in check. Instead of jumping to worst case scenarios automatically, I try to take in situations for what they are and ground myself. I’m trying to be more conscious of when my anxiety starts creeping in and shift my perspectives to benefit not only my mentality but to better prepare my children for their future.

If you have anxiety also, how do you deal with it? Do you think your anxiety affects your kids? What do you do when your anxiety is getting the best of you? Let’s all share in the comments and help each other! 🙂 Because anxiety sucks and no one should deal with it alone.

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Meghan lives on the Northshore with her husband, Brandon, and their two boys. She grew up on the Northshore and happily settled back in to raise her family there. When she's not playing referee between her 4 & 2 year olds, she enjoys watching the Food Network and trying to actually learn how to cook (or bake!) Meghan loves being a boy mom and can probably win at any kind of Ninja Turtle trivia.

1 COMMENT

  1. This is very close to home. I also think my anxiety got worse after I had my son. I also went through a bad divorce in the third trimester of my pregnancy which rocked my sense of safety and still affects me today even though I know these thoughts I’m having are irrational. I may unknowingly show my anxiety to my son but I don’t think I’ve ever been that open about my fears in front of him. Yet I see it in him and maybe think it’s mostly a genetic impression that I can’t take away. It’s really amazing how our little quirks and traits are passed down in genes. My son does things I’ve never modeled but are exactly how I am. In that sense, I try to help him through his fears. I try not to blame myself but it’s hard to not think “maybe if I was more calm during my pregnancy, the hormones and chemicals may not have transferred to him”. But again that in itself is an irrational thought too. I think this will be a journey my son and I will always go through together. I hope to do my best to support him just as he helps support me when I’m worried.

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