Parenting Through Anxiety

Summer is in full swing. No more school or concerts. One would anticipate a slowing down and recharging time to commence. Not in my world. Summer sports, camps, trips, boredom, and crafts take over my world, space, and mind.

I find myself spinning in circles some days, wondering where I’ll find my sanity.

Add in a touch of anxiety which is known to flare it’s ugly head when stressed and you have… me. When you deal with anxiety, parenting can be a challenge. Every possibility, every scenario, every outcome in EVERY situation will be considered. Worrying about each may be covered as well.

Logically I know my kid is safe. She’s driving to ball practice right now. Her coach is amazing. The girls on her team are like extended family. She is incredibly responsible, and I trust her. Yet this itch exists. This constant whisper that has me asking her to check in when she is done with practice, when she arrives home, and with what her plans are. While much of that is simply responsible parenting in this day and technology-based age, the worry I feel is sometimes crippling.

Enter apps that allow us to locate one another, track how safely she drives, and message each other (while not driving) and you have a solution. Or do you?

Too much information creates the illusion of control. Just because I can see that she drove 54 mph on our road (which has a speed limit of 55 mph) yesterday doesn’t stop her from driving 75 mph tomorrow. It doesn’t stop the deer from jumping out of the ditch, or the drunk driver from crossing the median into her lane.

Learning how to manage the plethora of available data while giving our children freedom to live and experience life is an on-going project.

Sometimes I feel like being able to check in this much feeds into my anxiety.

So, I stop. Luckily for me, I’m able to recognize—most of the time—when I’m reacting to anxiety versus reacting to the situation in front of me. I’ve worked hard to learn this distinction. I fail frequently but if I don’t try, I can’t learn. My children understand to the best of their abilities that I occasionally worry excessively and try to lessen the strain. Their efforts bring me guilt but also a sense of peace. They’re learning compassion at home and can demonstrate that compassion.

Parenting with anxiety CAN be challenging. It doesn’t have to be. Learning to manage and deal with your feelings and emotions makes each day easier. For me, running, working out, writing, and medication make my life calmer. Friends who understand, a spouse that is patient, and learning to be gentle with myself when I have a rough day lead to more good days than bad. Finding what works for you is key. You can do this and you can do it well!

Joy Hedding

Joy aka Evil Joy is wife to one Dr. Evil and mother to four children she often refers to as spawn. Joy is a snowboarding fanatic and loves to share her exploits - snowboarding and otherwise - on Instagram. She currently spends copious amounts of time taxiing her children from one place to another. Frequently funny, always honest, and occasionally serious Joy blogs about everything from dealing with messy teenagers to navigating life after PTSD. Joy has been published in the anthologies "Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor" and "Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee" and has been featured on Sammiches and Psych Meds and Her blog is Evil Joy Speaks and you can find her on Facebook and on Twitter.