The Not So Perfect Mum: Parenting should come with a health warning

not so perfect mum

Parenting should come with a health warning, a BIG, BOLD, RED lettered warning to mention how parenting is going to affect our health, particularly when it comes to worrying. And as we’re all different, worry comes in more or lesser degrees depending on the kind of person you are, but I would say the majority of us worry, and this is perfectly natural and normal.

I am worried about my child, as she does not read as well as some of her peers.

I am worried about my child’s health as he refuses to eat vegetables.

I am worried about my son’s future because they have no interest in school.

I am worried about the negative effects on my child when I go back to work.

I am worried about the negative effects on my children if we divorce.

I’M WORRIED WHEN I’VE GOT NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!

I am worried my teen spends too much time in his room and does not engage with the family.

I am worried my child is mixing with the wrong crowd.

I am worried my daughter spends too much time on social media.

I am worried that my child is not talking yet, and my friend’s daughter is.

I am worried about my son because he does not have many friends.

Storytime

These concerns and hundreds more are perfectly normal. Making sure your child is ok is one thing; however, if worrying about all things parenting is beginning to take over your life, then this is another.

Is this worry beginning to keep you up at night?

Is this affecting your daily life?

Are you pacing the floor?

Is this consuming your energy, leaving you feeling anxious?

Are you stuck in an endless loop, and this is all you think about?

parenting

Hit the pause button

If you find yourself (which you will) worrying or concerned about anything in your life or parenting, then hit the pause button, take a step back, breathe, and look at what you are worrying about. In general, we are not worrying about what’s happening right now, we’re worried about the future. A future we’ve made up in our head! Us humans are excellent at doing this we create stories about what may or may not happen, and it all comes from fear.

DEAD!

You’ll be familiar with this scenario in one way or another:

You’re at home waiting for your friend/partner/child to come home.They are usually home on time, and now you’re beginning to get concerned. You try to call them, but no answer. You try again, no answer. Time goes by and still nothing.

You’re trying to stay calm, but you’re starting to fear the worst. The typical negative thoughts now kick in. You can go from zero to one hundred in seconds, and now you’re freaking out because in your head they’ve had an accident or even died.

Not uncommon and can lead to lots of unnecessary suffering, anxiety and stress. Particularly when they burst through the door, safe as sound.

What about going for a routine blood test, and your doctor says there’s a problem with a blood count and you need to come back for some more tests. For some of us, this would be no issue at all, for others a story could be made up. And again, you could imagine you’re going to be told some awful news, creating unnecessary suffering and pain.

You wake up at night and pop to the loo, and settle back into bed. And then it begins – you start to think about all the things you’ve got to do the next day, or you’re worried about your parents’ health, or how you’re going to find the money to pay all of these bills. Concerned, worried, fearful, anxious, and now you can’t sleep. You could have gone through a ton of emotions and you’re left tossing and turning. To be clear you’re still in bed!

Here and now

Understand that your mind does not know the difference between what is really happening and the story you have made up. Important to know as your body will respond accordingly. Being consciously aware of where your mind is going will help you to reduce the unnecessary pain and drama. Always come back to the here and now. Not to say you should not think about the future, or plan but make sure you are not getting lost in the story. Your mind will be used to your way of thinking, so be prepared to continually bringing yourself back to the present moment.

parenting

If you’re wondering how to do this, it’s simple. Once you are aware, then you are already back in the present moment.

Remember this is a skill and will take time.

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

  • WORRYING ON OCCASIONS IS NORMAL AND NATURAL.
  • WORRYING ALL THE TIME IS NOT.
  • WHEN YOU BEGIN TO NOTICE YOU ARE WORRYING – HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON – TAKE A STEP BACK – BREATHE.
  • BECOME AWARE OF THE STORIES YOU ARE MAKING UP.
  • PLAN FOR THE FUTURE BUT DO NOT LIVE THERE IN YOUR MIND.
  • COME BACK TO THE HERE AND NOW – THE PRESENT MOMENT.

Teresa is the author of the forthcoming book “I should have bought a puppy; Parenting with heart, honesty and humour.” Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

7 comments

  1. Yes to so many of these – I am always worrying or feeling guilty about some aspect of parenting! Trying so hard to stop this and concentrate on what is going well 🙂

  2. Great advice here. I am an immediate worrier but I am quick to talk myself down. Although I did convince myself that my Dad was dead because I couldn’t get hold of him one morning. I had mentally rung the police to break in to his house, began thinking about his eulogy and how I would afford his funeral and panicking about what I would do without him and my Mum.
    He was safe and well and had just left his phone in his pocket on silent!

    Its when you stop worrying about your kids and start worrying about your parents that you wonder when the tables turned so quickly!

  3. I have dealt with terrible worry and anxiety over the years. Especially when my daughter was not enjoying school and I just didn’t know what to do. Talking helps so much and realising that you are not alone. Parenting is a tough ride.

  4. Great advice, as a parent of children that have officially left home, you never stop worrying about them, but it does get easier and I have learned that they have to make their own way in the world

  5. Yes to a lot of these! I do worry about my kids, but so far it doesn’t keep me awake at night so I hope that is a good sign.

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