Anxious Mom Parenting an Anxious Kid
It’s been 48 hours since my dental surgery and I feel anxious. I slept later than planned so my pain med management went past the suggested time. So I felt weird sensations likely cause I now have 2 metal screws in my jaw bone. I decided to sleep after taking the Advil and allow more time to rest because I am quick to try to resume to “normal activity” instead of going slow. I continue to breathe deep because that is a quick reset for the limbic brain, the feelings brain. Instead of trying to talk myself out of feeling anxious- I just need to do the work in my body and breathe.
I sleep 3 hours til hunger wakes me. With an implant screw put in on both sides of my mouth- chewing anything is not really an option. So applesauce it is. I also discovered I could melt semi-sweet chocolate chips for my chocolate fix.
I decided to write. I long to be a writer (publish books) so I gotta show up and actually write to make that happen. I write about anxiety tools I used the other day. Even while I write I feel anxious. My husband reminds me that I just had surgery and that it is natural to feel anxious about weird bodily sensations as my body heals. Thank God for his active left brain when mine checks out.
I am slowly returning to my normal schedule so I’m sitting in carpool. Hubby has done all the kid transports the last 2 days.
Fear creeps- what if I can’t drive? What if I’m dizzy? Normal, irrational anxious thoughts. So I plan to bring a new book to read. It is not a learning book how to better parent my youngest who has special needs. It is just a book to delight in. It is the newest book from one of my fav authors, Shauna Niequist. I feel a connection to her writing because it is how I write- real and from the heart. I love her little, short chapters of life observations because they resonate deep within. Her style inspires me to just show up and write. I want to show up and allow writing to be the cathartic release it is and trust God to get it into the hands/hearts of those who need to feel seen, heard and loved via my words.
Even as a read, stupid anxiety returns. Seriously I just want to enjoy a book. So I breathe deep and then I am reminded as I sit in the 2nd row of my minivan (cause the driver seat because an inferno in the afternoon carpool sun) that I have not written out our afternoon schedule for my 1st grader. My youngest deals with anxiety though he would not say that nor does he know that. But his therapist is the one that explained that his anxiety manifests through rigidity and intense desire to be in control of situations and those around him. His turbulent infancy/early toddler months have made peace hard to come by as he struggles with trust and dependence of adults. So we are continually learning him. I think that this is true of each of our kids but the learning curve feels much more steep with him. With drug exposure in the womb then being placed in first foster home at 20 months and then our home 3 months later- there is much healing still going on his heart and body and our job is to walk along side him in this healing journey.
I realize even in my anxiety- I can help him in his anxiety. His therapists have suggested writing out a brief, simple schedule of what is to come the next few hours on a dry erase broad to ease his anxiety. Knowing what is ahead helps transitions go smoother and behavior be better because structure and stability are provided. So now from the transition of school to home- I try to have a mini schedule with a snack waiting for him on his carseat as he jumps in from carpool. The snack is to help him not be hangry.
Audiobooks in the car seem to be a soothing/calming while we drive to therapy. I have to ask him if he wants to listen to it. He better goes along with things if he thinks it is his idea. This is true of most things. I feel like a hostage negotiator always trying to phrase things to bring about the result of compliance that I am hoping for. I’ve read that kids learn best from listening to stories rather than lectures so I will let Berenstain Bears teach him about hanging out with older/naughty kids.
I realize that it makes sense that anxiety comes easier for me as I try to help my little one with his anxiety and with each day not knowing what will set him off. But I’m learning. If he senses a hint of impatience, frustration or anger from others (myself included) it causes his behavior to be worse. It triggers anxiety for him. So having to be on my A game all the time is exhausting but necessary if I want the best chance at peace. But to be honest this is no guarantee either because so many factors that are out of my control so I just have to be present, help him ride the waves of strong emotions and avoid getting knocked out in the process. I am knocked down plenty with his fits of rage but I have to get back up and help him learn how to process his emotions in a healthy way.