I’m not a stressful person. I would never get anxious about anything in my life….even on my wedding day I was more excited than nervous or a “stressful bride.” And then it happened.
I had kids.
This isn’t another blog post about “how to handle your new mom anxiety” or “symptoms for anxious mothers.” No, this is just me, telling it like it is, because I am like you. I am a mom. I’m a working mom, with a career, an office I go to everyday, a manager, deadlines, projects, budgets and yeah THAT should be what brings out my stress and anxiety, but it actually ISN’T. It was something so simple that I have done a gazillion times, but just not with MY KIDS. It was planning a trip that was my trigger.
First signs of my anxiety
When did I first notice that I got anxiety? (This is tough for me to admit, because I like to categorize myself as a low-stress, go-with-the-flow kind of person.) It was when we were planning to take a trip with our new baby. His first flight. His first cross-country flight.
Sure, every mom gets nervous about that right? But do they drive their husband nuts asking every. single. detail. about the trip?
I got anxious about visiting family with my kids. I found myself getting stressed out about everything! I’m a people-pleaser too, so roll that into the mix too. Yes, I’m the kind of person that likes to know details. I’m SUPER detail oriented, but I needed the “why’s” too!
Who are we seeing? When will we stay with your parents? When are we staying with MY parents? Where will the baby sleep? Do we need to bring a car seat? When are we seeing your brother? When are we seeing my sister? How long is the drive to Connecticut to see your family? What time will be get there? Is it going to snow when we are there? On and on and on.
OMG! I’m a basket case when planning or even thinking about these trips. It’s kind of amazing that my hubby is still married to me! It also amazes me how stressed I got, because I have worked in the event planning and PR world for the better part of my career, and NEVER got to this level of stress and anxiety.
How I handle my anxiety
I’m just gonna tell you what works for me, and also update you after we take our upcoming trip in August with THE WHOLE fam to Philly! I’m planning on getting ahead of it. Now that I KNOW I get stressed out over these trips, and trying to see, spend time and plan with everyone, I’m going to do the only thing that this marketing-project-management-organized-detail-oriented mama knows how to do.
I’ll create a spreadsheet.
Yeah, call me crazy. Call me obsessive, but honestly, I think it’ll be the only way I can plan ahead, and answer all the questions I need answered, so I don’t stress out while I’m on my family trip. Also, I kind of want to actually ENJOY the vacation, not stress about where and when things are happening, while I’m there! I brought this idea up to my husband and he COMPLETELY agreed. So I’m glad that I have a partner that’s on the same page! (super important)
Something else I’m going to work on, and try to truly embrace is accepting help. I am a very lucky mama. I have a very supportive family on the east coast. So when we do visit, they ALWAYS have diapers, wipes, pack n’ play and bath toys, you name it, ready and waiting for our arrival. After having baby #2, you learn that it’s OK to accept help and if it’s not EXACTLY right, the kid will still survive and so will you.
Some other helpful tips and articles on managing stress and anxiety as a mom can be found here:
- Being a Toddler Mom Can Cause Anxiety – But Here’s What you can do (Motherly.com) – the author talks to some great tips on handling this crazy time in our kids’ life, and I personally have done tips #1, #3 and #7
- How to Cope with Parenting Stress and Anxiety (VeryWellMind.com) – this is a great article for first time parents and how to cope with moving into parenthood. Communication with your partner is key as the article states.
- When Your Anxiety Makes You an Angry Mom (ScaryMommy.com) – there are so many things about this article that I personally can relate to. I’ve learned to identify my triggers, say a lot of “I’m sorry’s” and read about other moms going through the same struggles.
I want all of my mama tribe to know that you are NOT ALONE. We all go through crazy shit as a new mom, old mom, mom of 1 or 5 kids! Just knowing that you have a group of other moms going through it too, sometimes is enough to get you through to tackle the next day. Let me know how you get through it, I’d love to hear from you.
You’ve got this.