If like me, you skipped out of the parental nest whistling a merry tune to begin your adulting life, only soon to be met with the realities of 13 hour shifts, bills, and learning how to do things for yourself, then you would probably agree that worrying and feeling anxious, is, it seems, part and parcel of it . It can drive some of us to the depths of despair, but for most of us it gives a general day-to-day feeling of unease which can come and go without warning.
If adulting wasn’t hard enough, we then became Mothers, and when we finally got through the anxious time of getting pregnant/being pregnant/giving birth, we had our babies, and we worried about every single thing that already/might/possibly/absolutely could happen!
We worried about..
Our babies weight gain
Bottle or breast
What the wonder weeks app says
What other people might think
Too much tv
Too little interaction
Being too warm
Being too cold
Totally benign things like mismatched outfits
Plus a whole plethora of many, many more things.
Throughout my adult life I have become what can only be described as a serial scenario inventor, my husband has to stop me in my tracks sometimes when I conjure up these ‘what if’ situations.
I recently found myself pondering over the idea that when my girls have their first night out as adults, I wouldn’t possibly be able to rest until they were home safely, what if they had a dodgy drink or they couldn’t find a way to get home?’ (I will totally be picking them up) The fact that they are 6 and 1 means they wont be having a night out for many more years and seems ridiculous to think about it now, but this is what worrying like a Mother is. We think of all kinds of erratic things that make us anxious!
In light of our motherhood worries, and acknowledging that I’m equally as anxious as the rest of us. I pondered over a few techniques I could use to help myself curb these anxiety inducing thoughts. Even after 6 years I feel as though I am still totally learning on the job of this Mothering melarky but I will put these to the test..
- I will try to not compare myself to any other Mother that ever was, ever, including my own. After the immense amount of Mums I’ve met through my life, its pretty clear that we are all unique. We are individually shaped from the moment we are born by a multitude of experiences and backgrounds. There are so many diverse cultural and economic aspects in our lives that make each of our mothering experiences unlike any other.
- I will be mindful to live in the present. Thinking of scenarios that may or may not ever happen in the future is just going to create extra needless anxiety. By staying in the present I can concentrate on whats going on here and now. That is not to say I can’t plan productively for my kids futures for aspects such as education choices and finances. But once that’s done I can aim to stay focused on life as we know it. The same goes for letting go of what’s happened in the past.
- Breathing through it. I’ve already been putting this one into practise as I’ve been lucky to discover an amazing breathing technique which I can say has really helped me. I learnt this one through my hypnobirthing practise with Frankie, by taking a breath in of four and out for a count of eight for a few minutes in an anxious situation will soon enough become a calm one. It’s also great for bedtime when a million thoughts are keeping me awake!
In reality though Mums, I am very aware that there is no real answer to ‘how to not worry like a Mother’ because we are programmed for exactly that! But lets give ourselves a bit of a worry free breather from time to time and a huge reassuring pat on the back for doing the best we can!