You are wondering how to parent when you have anxiety. It’s difficult enough to struggle with your anxiety on a regular basis. That tends to affect how you view yourself as a parent as well. You may struggle with doubt, insecurity, and overall sadness. Maybe you feel worried that your anxiety is interfering with your parenting.
Just know, parenting is not easy. It’s okay to make mistakes and you are worthy of forgiving yourself for them. Everyday is a new chance to learn and grow as an individual. It can be tough trying to fake being the perfect parent. Let’s be honest, it’s exhausting! And, it’s unrealistic to hold yourself to that standard.
An important thing to remember is that your feelings matter. Just because you have children, does not now mean that you don’t exist anymore. You are still a valid human with emotions. And you deserve the same love and care that you give to your family!
Feeling burnt out, we may not even have the energy to pat ourselves on the back. We may think “oh, whatever, I’m just being a dad/mom”. However, you do deserve to feel valued. You do deserve to have love reciprocated back to you from your family!
Parenting with anxiety is tough. You feel that you can’t always meet your needs. It’s difficult to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. You want to be able to manage your anxiety in a healthy, positive way. No more negative self talk, more self love.
How to Parent When You Have Anxiety: Be kind to yourself.
Some days, you will experience worse anxiety than others. It can feel overbearing. Exhausting. You may feel irritable, guilty, fearful, and more. All combined in an uncomfortable way. It may be hard to focus on tasks more than other days.
You may question if you are doing what’s best for your kids. Your family. You may even question yourself, how you are as a parent. Are you doing enough for yourself, as a person? It’s a whole lot of overthinking and feeling completely overwhelmed.
When anxiety feels out of control, you can easily slip into a rabbit hole of self blame or self hatred. Maybe you engage in negative self talk, telling yourself you’re a bad parent, or that you’re failing your family.
Even with all of this ongoing anxiety, make sure that you are being kind to yourself! Parenting is a beautiful struggle. No one ever said this was going to be easy. You need to cut yourself some slack, forgive yourself, and talk to yourself how you want others to talk to you.
Understand that as parents, we make mistakes. Oftentimes, we don’t even realize that they are mistakes until we already do them. Make it a habit to recognize what could have been better, accept the fault, and move on. Life is a learning process. And it makes it so much harder when you are constantly hard on yourself.
How to Parent When You Have Anxiety: Make time for yourself.
Parenting can put a lot on your everyday plate. Juggling work, picking up and dropping off the kids, running errands, cleaning around the house, and more! You are truly a superhero. Whether you’re a single parent or working as a team with your partner, you are a busy bee.
Not only are you taking care of others, but you are also needing to take care of yourself. And – let’s be honest, you may not be taking as much time for yourself as you’d like.
You want to ensure that you are really making time for yourself! It can be hard to remember to take time for yourself in the midst of parenting. It may even feel overwhelming to try and fit something into your schedule. Everyday can be so busy and your anxiety forces you to make sure everything goes according to plan.
Making time for yourself does not have to be like trying to block a whole day or weekend off from your responsibilities (although, that does sound tempting). You can also reserve times throughout the day, dedicated to you – and only you.
This can look like creating downtime for your interests or hobbies. Maybe you like drawing, reading, or collecting things. Scheduling time to go to your favorite store each month is one idea. It could even be taking an extra long shower one day or a bubble bath. Maybe even getting a good nap in!
Whatever it may be, dedicate the time to no one else but yourself. Be in tune with your needs and your body. Understand that you do deserve time to yourself, and that you are able to do that! It just takes some planning and schedule management, but it’s possible.
How to Parent When You Have Anxiety: Surround yourself with support.
Surround yourself with people who care about you! It’s essential to have a good support system when you are a parent with anxiety. This doesn’t even have to be some large group of people. Just ensure that you have someone there you can trust on a regular basis.
It’s possible that sometimes, you’ll just want to take a personal day and tend to your own anxiety. Support could be your neighbor, family member, friend, or coworker that can help you with that. A good support system will help you (when they’re available) and make sure you feel loved and valued.
When you have a team, you as a parent are unstoppable! And, it’s great to involve caring and loving people into your kid’s life as well. Make sure they are someone you trust inside and out. People you can go to when you feel anxiety coming on is important. They are the ones for you to rest your head on when things get hard.
Another support system would be therapy. As much as your support system loves you, they shouldn’t be subject to helping you solve every single problem. Seeking out a therapist is a great idea for managing anxiety as a parent!
Therapy can be your safe space, for yourself or with your partner. It will offer a place for you to talk about your anxiety judgment free. Therapists are also able to guide you with parenting advice and coping mechanisms for anxiety.
In the end, make sure to be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for mistakes, and be grateful for your mistakes. Tomorrow is a new day. Make sure to implement down time for yourself. Whether it be through reading, sleeping, showering or eating – you deserve a break here and there! Finally, surround yourself with support. Find people who genuinely care about you, and want to see you succeed. Consider seeking professional help when your anxiety feels inescapable.