I didn’t know the level of my anxiety until I brought little people into my world. It seemed like my anxiety just couldn’t hide under the weight of parental stress. That happens to many of us. We strive to become a better parent and we begin to realize that it is actually our own anxiety that is holding us back.
I am not sure when we, collectively as a society, decided that parents aren’t allowed to have ugly feelings.
Anxiety and OCD can bully their way into our children’s education. It can create anxiety when it comes to going to school, it can create anxiety at school and it can be a minefield of triggers for a child with OCD. So where do you even start advocating for your child. And how do you know when it is time to get a 504 plan for anxiety or OCD?
Raising an anxious child is hard. I mean really hard. I get it, I have three of them. I also get it because anxious kids and exhausted parents come into my office day after day. I hear the same stories over and over. I see the same struggles rearing its ugly head.
You are not alone.
You like quiet. You like calm. You like a slow pace. Enter parenthood. Screaming children. Play dates. Birthday parties. Constant interaction. This can be beyond overwhelming for an introverted parent. But what if that was just the beginning? What if that little bundle of joy was an extroverted bundle of friendliness? What if your introverted self gave birth to a foreign species. A species you know nothing about?
Parenting is a hard enough gig. But when you add your own anxiety to the mix it can be an uphill battle. I spend much of my time talking to you about how to help your kids with anxiety and OCD, but what about you? As parents we often put our needs last. This is unfortunate because parenting will take every ounce of your strength and of your sanity. You will need to be at your best. So how can you do that? By taking care of yourself and your needs – including your own anxiety. Parenting with anxiety can feel like parenting with one arm tied behind your back.
When I stare at my son spit a mouthful of food out and discretely tuck it under his plate my heart stops. When I spot my youngest daughter picking at her skin until it bleeds my stomach starts to hurt. When my kids stay up late at night because they are fearful they will be killed if they fall sleep my heart sinks. Anxiety and OCD are hard to stomach. It is hard to watch our children struggle and not allow it to be OUR struggle. To not allow it to be our defeat. How can it not be? But if you want to survive this whole business of raising kids with anxiety and OCD, perspective and separation are key.
Do you struggle with your own anxiety? Do you worry you might “give” your child anxiety? Learn some tips to keep your own anxiety out of your parenting! Wouldn’t that be nice?
Do you wonder how to get on the same page, or at least look like you do in front of your kids? Couples need to learn how to disagree over parenting in a more productive fashion. They need to learn how to put away their claws and fight over parenting out of ear shot of their kids. When couples can’t come together on how to parent there is only one person who suffers… the child. Put down your daggers and agree to a temporary peace offering while you watch this video.
They sit on the therapy couch pouring out their deepest, darkest parenting secrets. They look away. They don’t make eye contact. They wait for my judgment. They wait for the lecture they are sure will come.
As parents, we have a zillion responsibilities. We have to work, cook, clean, pay bills, chauffeur, volunteer, help with homework – and that is just the tip of the iceberg! Add a child into the mix and we are lucky to get anything done. So how are we supposed to be a good parent who get things done, while giving our children the attention they need?
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Are you an introverted mom? You are not alone. There are more of us out there than you might think. Here are 15 ways to survive and thrive as an introverted mom!