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12 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You're an Anxious Mama

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Sometimes, anxiety can make us do things that might not automatically make sense to others. This can be especially true when you’re a mom who struggles with anxiety.

Maybe you’re constantly worrying about your child due to their unique health challenges. Maybe you’re afraid if you don’t let your guard down, someone will hurt your child. Or maybe your anxiety often turns into anger, and you lash out at your child’s teachers and coaches when you think they aren’t caring for your child to the best of their ability.

Whatever your experience of anxiety looks like, we want you to know you’re not alone. During those times when others believe you to be off-putting or unreasonable due to anxiety, it can be helpful to get support from people who truly understand. That’s why we asked moms in our Mighty community to share the things people don’t realize they’re doing because they’re anxious moms. Below you can read what they had to say.

If you relate, feel free to share this with your loved ones so they can better understand why you act the way you do!

Here are 12 things people don’t realize you’re doing because you’re an anxious mama:

1. You Need to Be Close to Your Kids at All Times

“I constantly have to be within arm’s reach of all my kids when we’re somewhere busy, even though my oldest children are 12 and 13 and carry phones. I get really agitated and irritable because every ounce of my being is used to keep track of my children every second.” – Shaneen P.

“I have twins so when I’m taking them in and out of the car, I wrap one foot around the stroller wheel so I constantly have a touch on it in case someone tries to take them.” – Rachel H.

“I follow my child around like I’m her shadow. I can be anxious about something completely unrelated to her, but my anxiety shows through my inability to separate myself from her.” – Madelyn H.

2. You’re Always Prepared for Emergencies

“My phone is always on and [set on] loud. I’m always making sure I can get to her school and have emergency tins of food in our house.” – Hannah H.

“I always pack an entire overnight bag and keep it in the car, just in case something was to happen. I’m terrified of something happening and not being prepared and someone thinking I’m a bad mom.” – Amanda S.

3. You Can’t Sit Still

“I pace and walk around. I can’t sit down or sit still. There’s always something I should or need to be doing.” – Arryn M.

4. You’re Constantly Scanning Your Environment

“I’m always checking what’s around us if we’re out and about. Exits, sketchy looking people, who is parked next to my car, who is watching him and ready to take my phone or tablet from him, etc.” Also, where the bathrooms and drinking fountains are.” – Jenn J.

5. You Snap at Your Kids Easily

“I’ve learned that my anger stems from being anxious. People tell me I’m always angry and yell too much. Which is true. I yell and get angry when I’m worried they are going to spill or make a mess, or misbehave in public or if we are running late for the bus. Weird thing is, I’m never actually mad at the kids. But with the way I yell, you’d think I was.” – Kelly D.

“I get irritated so easily and snap at my kids. I have to keep reminding myself they are only kids and they don’t know any better because ‘mom usually solves it for us anyway.’” – Breeann G.

6. You Avoid People

“When I pick my daughter up from school, I always keep my head down. I am terrified to look anyone in the eye. Sometimes I wear sunglasses because it helps me feel calmer.” – Christina R.

7. You ‘Hover’ Over Your Child

“I’m an undercover hover mom. When I still had my son, I would constantly be beside him, day and night. Instead of [being obvious by] smothering him and literally staying beside him, I’d participate in his activities to ‘blend’ in. I never got sleep as I’d be checking to make sure he’s still breathing every 15 minutes or so. I never laid my phone down in case of emergency; I’d have it on me to call for help. I also closely linger to anyone feeding, holding or even changing his diaper.” – Jewellia H.

“I low-key keep an eye on every single person that walks past my kids when we are out in public anywhere. I make sure I’m holding their hand or have my hand on their shoulder if someone walks too close. I’m terrified of what a scary place this world has become and anxiety only makes it worse. It’s like I have one eye constantly on my kids and the other on everyone else. ‘Can you stay beside me please?’ Is something I say constantly. ‘Keep your hand on the cart,’ [is one I say] when we go shopping. I’m definitely a helicopter type parent even though I try so hard not to be. We have our safe places. Home and my parents’ place. Out in public, it’s other people that worry me.” – Darby N.

8. You Check Your Home Security Often

“I have a bad habit of checking our home security cameras a lot when I am gone. I check them every 10 minutes at least. He can’t tell me if someone hurts him, and that makes me very anxious.” – MaryEllen H.

9. You Keep Your Fridge Fully Stocked at All Times

“I keep a fully stocked pantry and freezer at all times. If I can’t control what happens to my child, I’m making sure I always have something to feed her.” – Ahlea M.

10. You Never Put Your Phone on Silent

“If I leave the house without my daughter, I never turn my phone on silent. I will set it to vibrate, but never silent, even in the movie theater. I keep my phone in my hand or next to me and check it frequently to make sure I haven’t missed any calls about her.” – Jennifer L.

11. You Try ‘Too Hard’

“Over-trying! I once invited a group of pre-K moms over for an afternoon mom/kid play date. I decorated my house and made a full-on the grill barbecue lunch for everyone! It was evident that most of the ladies were taken aback by my efforts and I never did hear from any of them again.” – Naome B.

12. You Pretend Like Everything’s Fine When You’re Struggling

“You smile and pretend you’re OK because you’re petrified if you aren’t 100% perfect, then you are not worthy of raising children in your ‘condition.’” – Cherie S.

It’s OK to feel whatever it is that you feel. If you need help with coping mechanisms, find someone you trust and talk to them. It’s OK to ask for help. You can also post on The Mighty to hear from your fellow community members. Use the hashtag #CheckInWithMe for insight and support from your Mighty community.

For more about what it’s like to live with anxiety as a mom, check out these articles from our community:


Originally published: November 1, 2019
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