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5 Tips to Manage the Anxiety of Motherhood

I felt the warm water sprinkle on my back as I took a deep breath and let the steam cover the room. I needed this shower and I was thankful for The Baby Channel to entertain my littles. As I took a moment to exhale, I listened for the kids and didn’t hear anything. Then, as always, the panic and anxiety set in.

  • What if one of them tripped and got hurt and couldn’t breathe?What If?
  • What if a piece of furniture fell on them?
  • What if an intruder is in our home?
  • What if? What if? What if?!

On most days motherhood allows me to give, teach, share, and create memories with my children. From drawing with chalk on the driveway to playing the ABC game and reading books, we are constantly enjoying each other.

On other, harder days motherhood is a paralysis of fear I never thought possible. It’s the culmination in my mind of all the bad things that can happen. The news certainly does not help. Motherhood created an anxiety monster in me. I find myself worrying about things that have a less than 1% chance of happening. People around me seem so happy, or they are really good at faking it? Heck, even I’m good at faking it.

I have dabbled in therapy, made mom friends, talked about it, wrote about it, prayed about it, and here are some things that have helped shrink my anxiety monster:

  • The Power of Prayer

    This is not necessarily a religious prayer, but simply a meditation for peace, sanity, and help. I find if I can focus my mind on just the moment, I can push the “what if’s” out of my mind, even if it’s only for a moment.

  • Self-Care

    In a previous post, I wrote about taking a break. It’s important, as a mama, the head of your tribe, the nurse, the house cleaner, the kisser of all boo-boos to take a break. It could be a 15-minute run, a 30-minute yoga class, a massage, a manicure/pedicure, a bike ride, a swim, anything. Exercise releases endorphins which trigger positive feelings and potentially alleviate stress. By taking care of yourself, you are able to channel your anxiety, or even forget it. I find myself least anxious when I am busy.

  • The Village

    At one time in my life, I was struggling with my career, the addition of a second child, and changes at home. My mom friends and I tried hard to stick to weekly mom dates. In those two hours, I would vent, cry, and laugh about all of the things that were making me crazy. One friend and I were able to keep it up. At the end of each date, she would always thank me for some advice I gave her. I would always explain that I’m using her too, that hours of raw conversation about motherhood woes purged me of many fears and helped me stay sane. Struggling with building your village? Check out this post on building your mama tribe!

  • Medical Professionals

    Recently, I was teaching in a classroom when our school went into a lockdown (not a drill). As the teacher and the only responsible adult in the room, I kept myself together despite being very scared. The situation was handled and the lockdown was lifted. My anxiety monster consumed me that day and in the days to come. I cried and cried, unable to even explain why. By the third day, I knew I needed to talk to a medical professional. Several therapy sessions later, I felt better. Never underestimate the value of talking to someone, or seeking medical help. Whether it’s therapy or medication, the importance of taking care of your mental health is paramount to a happy mom and happy family.

My shower was cut short due to my “what if’s,” but I’ve learned strategies to tame my anxiety monster. Given everything that’s happening in the world, my anxiety grows bigger and badder, but I know I can’t let it consume me. Don’t let it consume you either.

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3 Responses to 5 Tips to Manage the Anxiety of Motherhood

  1. Cindy July 11, 2016 at 8:30 am #

    I so get this. I have a general anxiety disorder, but when I had my kids, my PPA was something fierce…or rather is. They are 5and 6 and it doesn’t really matter whether my anxiety is now caused by PPA or the general anxiety disorder…it still sucks. I still struggle when I am in the shower and I hear a crash…I can hear crying, is someone trapped, what if I can’t hear them calling to me. So my kids have a rule to humor mommy. If I call to them, they must come to me if I am in the shower (or just answer me if I am not). In the beginning, I called to them a lot. I don’t do it as often now, but on a bad day, it is nice to know that I have this tool and that the boys understand it. I feel like it is the bigger stuff that gets me now. I can’t watch the news. It is too hard on my heart and I become fixated on it. It isn’t hard to get a glimpse of what is going on in the world through Facebook. I check in with my husband and he tells me what I need to know.

    I am sorry that you have struggled too. It is hard to find friends (or family) who get this anxiety stuff. I appreciate you putting yourself out there for us.

  2. Nadia
    Nadia July 11, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    Cindy, thanks for sharing your raw comment. It’s VERY hard and this is a topic I really struggled to write about because I never knew a fear or anxiety greater than that which is motherhood. The news, however, has made it worse. Like you, I find myself fixated on the issues, or people, and the politics, and it drives me insane. I appreciate you sharing your note on this. I will say that therapy has saved my life twice and I would do it again if I needed. And back to my mediation.. deep breath in… and deep breath out!

  3. Michelle July 14, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

    Love your posts. You are a great writer. I can so relate . One toddler mom to another 🙂

    Michelle