I suffer from anxiety. Probably from a lot of other things too, but we’re going to focus on this right now. I am an introvert, which causes me to worry that I’m holding my kids back. I know, you’re wondering how MY problems hold my kids back, but let’s think this through.
It is not just difficult, it’s painful, for me to talk to the other parents. They’re mostly kind people, but my heart starts racing, my face starts flushing, and it takes every ounce of my energy to get through a conversation. So when they want to have playdates, I start to panic. How am I going to get through a few hours of conversation? Maybe I can find a reason not to go. But if I don’t go, my kids don’t get to interact with their friends outside of school. That’s not fair to them.
So off we go, to meet up at the playground. I’ve probably spent the last two days trying to come up with topics, overthinking everything. But even if I think I’ve prepared myself, I always fluster. Did I say the right thing? Did I over share? Did I make some dumb joke? Do they think I’m weird? Are they judging me? Oh god, here it comes!
It feels like I’m suffocating. It hurts to breathe, and then I worry if they see the pain on my face, even though I’m doing my best to hide it. That, of course, makes me worry even more, and it makes the pain in my chest stronger. Sometimes I think I’m having a heart attack. By the time we get home, I’m sore and tired. All I want to do is sleep, but, of course, I have things to do around the house. I’m so exhausted that I don’t want to, but it will help relax me, which in turn will make the pain go away.
If it weren’t for my kids, I would never meet new people. It’s too difficult, but I suppose anything worth doing isn’t easy, right? There are days I wish I never had to do this, but those little smiles and stories of how much fun they had make it worthwhile. I suppose they’re right when they say parenting can be painful. I always thought they meant watching your kids grow up and not need you anymore, but I guess it’s a literal thing, too!