As I regularly do, I took my youngest two children with while I ran a few errands. When we reached our final stop of the day, I parked my vehicle, hopped out of my seat and quickly threw back the sliding back door.
Beyond Traditional Therapies For One And All
Being an athlete myself for most of my life, loving science and math for as long as I can remember, and growing up in a family that did whatever it takes no matter what has definitely contributed to my strong advocacy for Breanna’s treatments and how I view her future. Luckily I married a man who is on the same page as me. From our experience with receiving Breanna’s diagnosis, there isn’t someone who takes you on to the next step. It’s like you and your child are held over the edge of a deep body of water and both dropped in at the same time. You’re left to save yourself and your child without extra measures while trying to get to safety. I feel that my past and passion for learning has at least partially helped set us up for success. It also helps when you meet people along the way who are similar in tenacity and it makes research time far more efficient!
A few weeks ago my husband asked if I was going to arrange for our six year old daughter to play with her friend, Ava. It had been awhile since their last playdate. I sighed and responded that it was on my list of things to do, but I was kind of hesitating. When he asked why, I had a hard time putting it in to words. It wasn’t that I don’t love Ava, she is a great kid, and it isn’t that I don’t enjoy her mother, because she is actually a really good friend of mine. It came down to the fact that her mother is a helicopter parent and the sheer act of having a playdate with her meant that I was going to have to enter the Helicopter Vortex. I was going to have to over-parent my daughter.
Have you ever felt this before? Or ever been in a situation where you find yourself altering your parenting style to match more closely to whomever you are with? I call this the Helicopter Vortex and it is exhausting and confusing and guilt-inducing all at once. To be fair, I have found that it doesn’t just swing one way either. I have also fallen into a few interesting Free-range Fiascos too.
The terrible “mom guilt” sets in when we let our children watch TV. There’s that “don’t use TV as a babysitter” concept that we hear all over the place. While the moment to limit screen time is definitely for the best interest of our children some TV time doesn’t have to be all bad.
I’m one of those moms that hugely controls what her children watch. Although both my children (even my 3 year old) knows how to navigate Netlflix. Although Netflix has a HUGE selection of all sorts of shows and movies for children to watch, I have carefully chosen shows for my children to watch. Shows they love that also have some educational value to them. I’m an elementary school teacher. Learning all day, every day is just in my blood.
To make your life easier, I wanted to share a list of 5 shows your children can watch without you having to worry or feel any sort of mom guilt.
I have a confession. I am obsessed with doing everything efficiently and fast.
Prior to becoming a mom, I thought I had a pretty good handle on things. I felt like I was making good use of my time and getting lots done in the 24 hours I had. Often I would get asked how I have time to get so many things done. I always answer, I just find the time to do it.
After becoming a mom, I felt like I had less than 24 hours each day (which I knew was untrue) to get everything done and to keep a small human being living. I felt like I had a million of things to do in a short amount of time and things were only being partially done due to interruptions and starting tasks after my daughter went to bed. Obviously, this wasn’t sustainable and I needed to make some adjustments. Here are some adjustments I made:
I’m going to be straight up honest with you.
I had a panic attack this morning waking up to my children. My youngest miracle is three and hates sleep. I often say he will grow up into a fine entrepreneur since he has no concept of time. I can count on him being in my room between 2 and 5 a.m. every day. When he comes in, so does his older brother, who has a radar go off every time he senses his brother is getting iPad time he isn’t.
When this happens they are like two beta fish in a tank fighting over a kernel of food. These are the days I hold a deep disdain for the high and mighty “we don’t do a lot of iPad time” horse I seem to ride on.
This morning at 4 a.m. I woke up to my youngest and the first thing I felt was a stabbing pain in my chest. I could feel the attack starting. I set him up with an iPad and tried to settle myself down. Convincing myself it was only because I was disturbed in the middle of a sleep that my body had panicked.
An hour later both children are screaming and fighting. One wants oatmeal, one wants pancakes, no wait cereal, no wait toast. But it won’t be done fast enough so can I make them a snack before I make them breakfast? Also:
My one son runs upstairs with the other toy, the chase begins.
I haven’t gone to the washroom yet and the list begins in my head. It’s the list I know I’ll forget, the list of everything important that needs to get done today. It’s not the list that gets me, it’s the fact that I know after 32 years of life, that this is the “didn’t do” list, not the “to do list.”
E-mail dings. I have a bride interested in my wedding packages but how much would it be to travel to B.C and would that be something I am up for?
OMG what an amazing opportunity, I’ll just message her back rea….
My kid lets out the 911 scream.
Did he fall from the bunk? Is he bleeding from the head? Did he find one of our animals deceased? I’m terrified, my chest stabs in pain. He can’t find his tiger, not just any tiger, his favorite one.
5 deep breathes.
I get a message “Did you register Maverick in Kindergarten?” My heart pangs again.
Oh right. My baby is going to Kindergarten in two weeks and every time I try to think about it, tears well up in my eyes. I message my best friend as I cry, looking for some solace.
My 3-year-old escapes out the front door. I had a chain lock on it but they busted it last week. The three-year-old lets all the animals out just as the neighbours are having cement poured.
Thinking a walk and some fresh air will cure this anxiety and chest pain, I manage to get everyone dressed and out the door.
The coffee shop is packed and my claustrophobia kicks in. I start taking deep breaths but each breath is more painful than the last.
Am I having a heart attack? Maybe this isn’t anxiety. Maybe this is the real deal.
People with anxiety are known not only for having their medical issues dismissed to anxiety, but also dismiss it themselves. Often times I will delay going into the doctor for weeks. There was a time in my life I almost died from a virus thinking I had the flu and anxiety. Another time a nurse didn’t believe me that I was in active labour and said she just thought it was my “anxiety” and didn’t request the epidural.
I purchase some drinks and a coffee, a medicinal coffee in my mind, and leave as quickly as I can.
As I anxiously watch my kids play balancing act and “how high can I jump?” in the park, I start wondering whether I’m honestly having a heart attack and contemplate calling an ambulance. I’ll just google this symp….
My son gets stung by a wasp on his hand, for the second time in as many days.
He is screaming, and I’m worried. I breathe in and it hurts. I pick him up and the weight of him exasperates the pain. I have to put him down, it hurts too much. We abandon our drinks, including my freshly purchased coffee.
I carry him all the way home, all 42 pounds of him as I worry and struggle to breathe. We get home and my chest hurts badly.
I pull out the iPad, maybe I can kick this panic attack with a quick 10-minute meditation.
The kids are fighting, and they’re hungry, and they want to play outside, and can my oldest make his own cereal, can my youngest *insert jibber jabber request*. Also, MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY.
My chest aches.
Five things I’m grateful for
Five deep breaths
Is the day over yet?
It’s 11 a.m.
This is the life of a Mom with generalized anxiety disorder. What does this mean? It means I am worried about everything, and I always have been. I remember being a child and constantly being told I needed to calm down, not worry, learn to soothe. I had no idea why everyone else wasn’t in a constant state of panic and I was. I remember looking at my Mother after another failed doctors appointment. She was telling me “It’s your anxiety. You need to calm down and stop worrying” and with every bit of sincerity asked “How? How do I do this? Please teach me.”
However, some days I can not see the positives in this diagnoses, and it hits me how real it actually is. The actual physical pain is very similar to when I had pneumonia. It feels like I’ve pulled all the muscles in my chest. I am exhausted. It is now dinner time as I write this, but it might as well be the middle of the night. I have been in flight and fight mode so long I can no longer judge whether situations are safe or unsafe and I am saturated with fear and panic after 12 hours of this. Thoughts are unfiltered and emotionless. I’m just so tired.
As a Mom with anxiety, I could write several books on what life is like for me that is different from others. I remember asking a good friend “How do you plan a birthday party? Aren’t you scared you’re going to forget someone and hurt their feelings?” “No,” was all she replied. Life for any parent is anxious and overwhelming but for someone who has any sort of anxiety disorder, some days can actually feel like parenting is killing you.
If you are a Mom dealing with anxiety I want you to know you are not alone. It can seem like everyone around you is not seeing the same flaming to the ground world you are, and I understand this feeling.
If your today was exactly like mine, just know that the best thing is, tomorrow is a new day and this feeling will pass.
Tomorrow your anxiety may do great things for you!
1. Keep you from getting scammed. Someone with anxiety can see the loopholes in a scammer almost instantly.
2. Be great conversationalists. We are quick thinkers!
3. Be an amazing detective! Whether on the hunt for the perfect car or sleuthing for your bestie, someone with anxiety can deduce several facts as quick as a computer as well as find creative ways to research what they need.
4. Make you grateful. Someone with anxiety knows the worst outcome of every situation, and often times it is us you will find breathing out the most sighs of relief. Every day is a good day when the fear of doom doesn’t actuate, am I right?
5. Make you an amazing risk taker! When your brain has somehow fear mongered you into thinking the outside is a death trap, even walking outside can feel like climbing a mountain. Someone with anxiety is always overcoming a fear one way or another. Especially parents! Every single time we “allow” our kids out of our sight, we are overcoming our greatest fears, so bravo and encore!
6. Make you quick on your feet. Maybe you do something for work that requires you to be a quick decision maker, or maybe you have two active preschoolers as I do. Either way, anxiety is going to give you heightened reaction time! I can not tell you how many times I’ve heard “Wow, great catch!” or “Whoa, save of the day!”
Try to remember while you’re swirling in the tornado that the storm is temporary.
If you can’t see the light than your only job is to hold on. Hold on to whatever you can and breathe as much as you can. The kids will sleep eventually. If it doesn’t get better, talk to someone. Ask for help. Maybe someone who knows what you’re going through, or a professional. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice things in your budget for your time. You are just as important and can not pour from an empty cup. Also, call a spade a spade. If you are having a panic attack, say it out loud. You wouldn’t believe the freedom of just saying it. And remember, it isn’t all bad.
You’re going to be great. Maybe not today but you will be, and remember, you are not alone.
Twirling Red Dress Photo: www.everlastphotography.ca
WAHM/D, SAHM/D, Work out of the home or other?
I am a part time Grade 5 Teacher and a part time stay at home mom: the best of both worlds… most days!
# of Kids? Ages?
I have three energetic girls, ages 6, 4 and 19 months
What movie makes you cry?
A movie that makes me cry is The Lion King. I can’t even make it past the intro without crying and belting out “Circle of Life” at top volume.
Tell us about a mom/dad who inspires you?
I have so many friends who are role models for parenting! One of my best friends is an incredible, gentle and talented mother of 3 who owns her own Barre Studio and has been inspiring me since junior high. Thanks Jeanette! Another is a co-worker and amazing photographer who always seems to have exactly the right answer for any question, and makes me strive to be a better mother- I couldn’t have done it without you, Tessa!
What’s the fondest memory you have of your life as a mom/dad so far? The biggest challenge?
My fondest memory of parenthood so far is each and every trip we have taken with our kids. Getting out of our day to day routine and fully focusing on the children while introducing them to all of the amazingly rich cultures and places in this world is truly rewarding.
My biggest challenge is parenting without our parents around. Some days I just want my mom to be here to offer support and a hug. She’s only a phone call away, but the challenges of last minute childcare and sick kids can be a lot on a working mom with no backup!
Would you rather be able to see 10 minutes into your own future or 10 minutes into the future of anyone but yourself? Why?
I’d rather see 10 minutes in to anyone else’s future, but not my own. The future is not ours to see… que sera, sera.
You and your oldest child switch bodies for an hour. What do they do? What do you do?
If I could switch bodies with my 6 year old daughter for an hour, I would fly down the street as fast as my legs could take me, until I felt like I could take off into the air, and not worry what anyone thought, or about pulling a muscle. I would promptly eat hundreds of calories of cookies and cakes without a second thought about nutritional value or calories or weight gain. Then I would throw a temper tantrum and slam a door or two. It would feel so nice to get it all out in an extremely immature way, without any regard for the door jamb or fixtures in my house.
If my daughter were in my body for an hour, I suspect she would raid the top shelf of the pantry and eat whatever she likes before trying to drive the car. She’d also send her little sister to her room for a power-trip.
Lately we’ve been talking about worrying in our house. About how it’s ok to feel worried and how everyone worries about different things but that doesn’t mean that it’s less important.
My one son just tried out for a sports team for the first time and was anxious.
My other son has weekly spelling tests at school that he wants to do well on. And by well he means he wants 100% EVERY time so he works hard at it but he worries.
Are you heading on a family beach vacation with your kids? Before you get to relax, you have a few things to do! Okay, ‘a few things’ is probably an understatement. As a mama, I know first-hand that it’s a LOT of work to pack for a vacation with the kids. Rest assured, soon you’ll be on the beach with a cocktail in hand and won’t have to worry that you forgot anything.
In conversation with Dr. Ganz Ferrance.
My kids are getting older, they’re 7 & 9 now, and I’ve been contemplating a summer camp where they actually stay there for a week – the sleepaway camp. I recall being around 8 years old when I attended my first overnight camp and I have really fond memories of it! It was very strange at first, and I was a little homesick too.
We decided to have an expert weigh in on some of the questions I had around knowing if your child is ready for sleepover camp. Alberta Mamas reached out to Dr. Ganz Ferrance, a registered psychologist in Alberta to discuss.