I don’t suffer from anxiety.
I stress and worry but, for whatever reason, it doesn’t consume me. I’m lucky that way. When I go to sleep, I put my head down and simply go to sleep. It usually happens quickly, much to Mom and Buried’s envy.
She does have anxiety.
Her anxiety is exacerbated by the physical challenges of multiple sclerosis and the so-called “mom brain” that races with schedules, to-do lists, and more. These things keep her up at night and weigh her down during the day.
The pandemic doesn’t help. Neither does parenthood. Covid has tested everyone’s mental health, including our kids’.
Resilient as they are, we know the toll extended periods of isolation take, especially on 4-year-olds desperate to make new friends and on 10-year-olds desperate to spread their wings with old ones.
My wife is at higher risk for the coronavirus, and after contracting it in the spring she is still dealing with after-effects of her infection. We remain vigilant against exposure as numbers surge (thanks assholes!) and we await the vaccine and hope Mom and Buried doesn’t get Covid twice.
All the while, we’re hoping like hell that our kids aren’t traumatized. They’re growing up with compromised childhoods, that much is clear. This puts even more pressure on parents to do whatever we can to help them emerge unscathed.
It’s not easy, especially when we’re struggling to keep ourselves afloat.
The fact that the pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon only makes things worse and heightens both my wife’s and my 10-year-old’s anxiety (which goes hand-in-hand with the ADHD that makes remote schooling even more challenging).
We are nervous, and this inevitably makes our kids nervous too. And that makes us worry even more. It’s a vicious cycle with no easy solution.
But our kids need us, which makes it all the more important that we do what we can to keep it together – at least until the world manages to do the same.
For some that means making resolutions, for others it means skipping dry January, forgetting about screen time limits, and keeping the tree up. Just do what you gotta do.
Self-care comes in many forms, but you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself.