When I first started this post it was titled “Those Anxiety Filled Excuses Need to Stop.” Then I realized I needed to take ownership, they were MY anxiety filled excuses that were preventing me from growing. Most of all, I was holding my children back from quality experiences. It’s been a blessing to be able to run my business from home, but chasing that so called “balance” started to seem near impossible.
I wanted to take my children out while my husband was at work but I would get overwhelmed by the thought of tantrums, dangers and everything else you could imagine. These scenarios would play out in my head and it became debilitating. The anxiety made it impossible to head out the door, which meant the “to do” list was pushed onto the weekends. There was little time for family fun outings, with Saturdays and Sundays filled with things that could’ve been completing during the week. No wonder there wasn’t any balance.
There wasn’t a specific moment or turning point that I can think of, but one day it happened. I was tired of living weekend to weekend. I was done being impatient with my children for running all over, making messes here and there. It was time to get honest, they just needed to escape the boredom of being stuck in the house all day. So what changes did I make?
I made commitments to my family.
In order for my toddler to build some social skills, without being in a childcare environment, I enrolled him in a music class. I could truly go on and on about the course, but overall my son and I absolutely enjoy the weekly class together. The initial 2 weeks forced me out of the house, because even though it’s a low cost option, I still knew I’d make the most out of the monthly tuition.
At the beginning of each month my husband and I decided to map out our weekends with the help of our 8 year old daughter. She picks a few things she’d like to do each month and we work together on planning it out. With the weekends filled with commitments, I make sure to use the hours throughout the work week to finish as much of the “to do” list as possible.
Understand that meltdowns are teachable moments.
I haven’t mastered this area yet, but I will. Meltdowns are inevitable with babies and toddlers, whether you’re at home or out of the house. When they can’t fully articulate their feelings, this is their go to communication tool. It’s in these moments that we have the opportunity to teach them how to manage their frustrations.
Honestly, part of me worried about what others would think. That needs to stop for me and you! Obviously I’m not going to stay in the store or restaurant if it becomes a disturbance, but give yourself a moment to breathe. You ARE allowed to try and turn a difficult situation into a positive one. For me, I thought of the people around me first, when my focus should have been my child. My anxiety filled voice only made the situation worse. STOP. BREATH. TEACH.
Like I mentioned, I haven’t mastered this yet, but I acknowledge that I have some adjustments to make. My children deserve the opportunity to learn how to properly act in public, and the only way for me to provide that experience is to actually take him out in public. Funny how that works.
Acknowledge that they are excuses.
It’s too hot, I’m too busy, it will be too crowded…EXCUSES! I admit it, these are some answers I’ve given my children to avoid walking to the park that is just across the street or a trip to the museum. None of those answers were honest, but how could I explain to my kiddos that I was too overwhelmed? I didn’t have too. Somehow our kids can sense our anxiety, and some even internalize it.
My daughter has had panic attacks about failing school, not completing an assignment, missing her personal goals…SHE’S 8 YEARS OLD! That girl has never missed her Honor Roll goal and up to a year ago she was still having anxiety. With clenched hands, teeth grinding, and a trembling body she would tell me she didn’t know how to make the frustration in her body stop. This was me, my anxiety grew in her…NO MORE EXCUSES!
Seeing my children transition over the past year has been incredible. Finding my place in this world and fighting past the anxiety has been a journey, where some days are easier than others. If you find yourself struggling with anxiety, know that you can break free from it. It doesn’t mean it goes away, it means finding a process that works for you. You don’t have to be bound by your fears.
Creating a new routine, will help you adjust over time. It’s taking that first step, that is the most difficult. Just remember it’s not impossible.
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