Anxiety Mental Health Parenting

How My Parenting is Affected by Anxiety

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How My Parenting is Affected by Anxiety

You know about my anxiety already. I’ve talked about how my mental health affects my relationships and how I’ve let my friends down because of it. But one subject I’ve avoided talking about, is this.

How my parenting is affected by anxiety

This is something I really struggle with, because I don’t want my children to be affected by my mental health. But, of course they are! My mental health affects every aspect of my life and my kids are the biggest part of my life, so there’s no way they can escape it.

I try really hard to be as “happy” as I can around the twins. I just don’t want them to see me looking sad or anxious all the time. Not because I’m ashamed, but because they oviously don’t understand. And I wouldn’t know where to begin explaining it to them.

But it’s not always easy to put a mask on. I spend so much time trying to be open and honest about my mental health with everyone else, sometimes it’s hard to make that transition and remember to put that mask back on when it’s just me and twins.

I want to be the best mum I can be

All mums do, right? And I think I do a pretty good job. Most of the time. Some of the time. I’m an OK mum and that’s probably good enough. But I do worry about not being good enough. I don’t think that’s part of my anxiety. I think that’s just part of being a mum!

Before I had the twins, I had all these plans about the kind of parent I would be. Some of that hasn’t changed. I wanted to be a gentle parent and I am, for the most part. That’s really important to me, so I work on it every day. Anyone with toddlers will agree that gentle parenting is harder on some days than it is on others.

But that’s not the only thing that’s important to me

I wanted to take the twins to baby/toddler groups. I wanted them to have lots of friends and lots of fun experiences. Sometimes, I feel like they don’t get any of that.

We don’t go to toddler groups. I find them too stressful. I spend the whole time trying to watch them both 100% of the time and that’s just not possible. For a start, they run in opposite directions and, like all parents, I’m at a disadvantage, because I only have one pair of eyes and – more annoyingly – I can only be in one place at a time. So, who do I chase?

I’ve tried a few times. Usually with another adult so I’m not outnumbered. But we never go more than once, because another adult isn’t always available and I’m not brave enough to go on my own.

How My Parenting is Affected by Anxiety

That’s just one way my parenting is affected by anxiety

But it’s not just my parenting – my anxiety also affects Mr Becca’s parenting. There are things he would love to do with the twins, but my anxiety makes everything more difficult. Most recently, he wanted to take the twins swimming. I say “most recently”, but he had been asking about it for most of this year and I came up with an excuse every single time!

I was worried that Alice would hate it and would want to leave. That Jack would love it and wouldn’t want to leave. That I would look awful in a swimming costume and that everyone would be looking at me the whole time we were there. I put it off for so long and built it up into this huge thing that I just couldn’t do.

We went swimming last week, because I had run out of excuses. Alice did hate it. At first. And Jack did love it. In the end, neither of them wanted to leave. But we still managed to leave. I mean, I’m not writing this in the changing room, or sitting on the edge of the pool. Getting the twins to the car was… interesting. But I wasn’t on my own and we did get them there. And they were over it by the time we got home. The important thing is that they loved it and they can’t wait until we go back. Oh, and no one was looking at me. At least, I don’t think so.

I hate that my anxiety stops the twins (and Mr Becca) from having fun

That’s when it’s most obvious that my parenting is affected by anxiety much more than I would like. It just reminds me that I’m not the only one living with my anxiety. I wish the twins didn’t have to live with it, too. But I guess I can’t protect them from everything and all I can do is be the best mum I can be.

I’d love to hear from other mums who worry about whether their parenting is affected by anxiety. Drop me a comment below or head to my contact page.

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