How to Handle the Anxious Mother

My name is Maggie. And I suffer from anxiety. Yes, suffer. I’ve lost relationships because of anxiety. I’ve hurt people because of anxiety. In general I might say I’m an awesome person, except for the anxiety. It has kept me from accomplishing a lot of what I’ve wanted to do in life.

The anxious person doesn’t handle pressure well. It eats them alive. I’ve come to be afraid to say no. My logic stands as this: You say no when asked something. Then, you’re hit with pressure. The more you say no, the more you are pressured into doing something you’re uncomfortable with, or not ready to do. If you say no, you’re screwed. Easier to skip that whole process and anxiety attack and just go with it.

For those around the anxious person, or in this case mother, mother-to-be, teenage girl, etc., dealing with this person can be rough. You have to be careful. I consider myself an extreme case, but then again, I’m a little dramatic. (Since everyone is different I shall start referring to myself).

In my case, being put on the spot is the worst thing you could do. I need time to think about things, especially now that I’m a mom and usually things involve him. I have to take the time to think, is this a good idea for me? Is this a good idea for him? Demanding a response right then and there involves pressure. My heart is racing just thinking about being pressured. You force me to either say maybe or yes. Maybe means “I don’t really want to, but I’ll think more about it and get back to you.” Yes either means: “yes!” or “I don’t feel like dealing with you anymore. I’m saving myself.” If I say no, well, read the above again if you don’t know what happens.

The next terrible thing you could do to an anxious mother: Not give her the space she asked for. If people would just wait until I’m ready, things could be a lot easier on everyone. I wouldn’t feel pressured, which as you know I hate, and things might happen a little sooner. Otherwise, I have been known to push people away until it never happens, or the pressure builds and I cave. I may cave and you might get your way, but emotionally I’m a train wreck.

Next, Don’t ask, “are you ready yet?” because you know what that is? Pressure.

I’m not sure why I have to say this, but I don’t think people get it. Don’t pressure me into taking my baby somewhere where the flu could be lurking, just waiting to attack me and my baby. I may have had the flu shot, but my worst flu ever was when I got the flu shot one year. Also, they don’t make the flu shot for infants. Sorry not sorry we’re safe and happy in our bubble.

Passive aggressive comments about seeing the baby aren’t going to help you. You’ll just upset me and piss everyone else off.

Read this post and have all of the tips down pat. Then offer to help me with something specific. I get nervous asking people for help for fear of being too needy.  If you get a “no, I’m not ready,” check the above about waiting until I’m ready. If you get a yes but I haven’t gotten back to you about when, chances are I forgot. So kindly remind me.

Be considerate. Be thoughtful. Be encouraging. I might become less anxious. 

Now accepting donations so I can wear this shirt and alarm those around me:

12 thoughts on “How to Handle the Anxious Mother”

  1. Sweet Maggie – I think you are an awesome person all together… and brave to share this. Motherhood tends to bring out the anxiety in all of us and I suspect it has just made you increasingly aware of its intensity. Continue to be honest with the people you trust and do the best to trust yourself. You are doing great. xoxo

  2. I totally get not wanting to go anywhere for fear of getting sick. I have a 2 year old and a 1.5 week old. When my first was just a tiny babe, someone was giving me a hard time about not putting her in our church nursery. She said, “So she gets sick, then what? She’ll cry. Big deal.” Um, no. Then I get sick. Then we are both up in the night and miserable. There has been so much illness going around lately, I’m ready to become home bound til summer arrives. That being said, I totally support you not wanting to go somewhere for fear of germs.

  3. I had my son in November and I kept him home as much as possible that winter and blamed it all on the pediatrician ;) “No, we can’t come over/go to church/etc., his pediatrician said he must stay home.” And when you do go out, keep him in his car seat carrier and tuck a bottle of anti-bac hand gel in there.

    Proud of you, Maggie! You’re a great mother! {{hugs}}

    1. Thank you so much Malia! I’ve become obsessed with Bath and Body Works and their 5/$3 travel hand sanitizer. I keep one everywhere!

  4. Feel for you. I don’t handle passive aggressive people well either and since one person in my life had been getting actually more and more passive aggressive, I finally built up the nerve to explain to them what that was and how they were doing it in conversations with me. Gave them examples how they can just say what they need to say, without the sneeky kind of pressure that it was making me feel. I hope the person or persons that are doing the passive aggressive thing to make you feel pressured, will learn better, more open communication methods with you. Hang in there.

    1. Hopefully they will get it. Unfortunately, they just don’t understand how I feel and the impact of their comments. Thank you for the support. I truly, deeply appreciate it!

  5. Maggie,

    I think you mentioned somewhere about not knowing a lot of girls your age with kiddos. It made me wonder if there is a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group near you? I think they typically meet at churches, but you don’t have to attend the church (or any church for that matter) to join. There is a fee, but they offer scholarships, too. Here’s a link to find a location near you: http://www1.mops.org/web/web_group_search.php

    I just joined MOPS last year and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! They have childcare, so you get a break and get to chat with other Mom’s w/o interruptions. And, my group at least, always has a fantastic speaker. I’ve been so impressed (and blessed) since joining.

    Also, I heard a few days ago that they have a MOPS group specifically for teen Moms (but I think it was in NY). Not sure if there are others like that around the US, but you could always start one ;) You know, in your spare time. Ha, ha! I know there isn’t such a thing as spare time for Moms.

Comments are closed.