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Have you ever noticed, that before you became a parent you were so much more relaxed than you are right now? Hopefully it’s not just me, because I feel with the more children you have, the more your parental anxieties rise. Most women – and men – ha*ve heard of postpartum depression and even antenatal depression. And while they used to be taboo to talk about, being outspoken about PPD is more and more common nowadays. What most mothers haven’t heard of is the anxiety symptoms that crop up after your baby is born.

Anxiety is something that both men and women can experience, and for women, feelings of anxiety can develop as a direct correlation of their child being born. The idea that this crying, beautiful little creature is suddenly their full responsibility invokes fear and anxiety, even if you have managed to bond and form a deep love for the baby. It’s very normal to be anxious about whether you are doing the right thing as a parent and whether you can even protect your child. The key is to know when your anxiety is crossing from normal worries about how to protect your child, to an obsession over all the things that could hurt your baby.

Motherhood wires your brain into a highly sensitive state. It’s both empowering and overwhelming, the protectiveness we feel for this vulnerable human being that has come screaming into our lives. We worry about our children regardless of whether they are under our watchful eye in that moment. We worry about them at school, during activities away from us and when they become teenagers who require freedom to flourish and spread their wings. When you’ve just had a baby, the idea that you are essentially raising that child to live without you is inconceivable. However, we have to get them from babies to adults with the least amount of damage as possible, both physical and emotional. The need we feel to protect them and make life as safe as possible is one that never goes away, and there are a lot of things you need to consider when it comes to the safety of your children.

Home Safety

House renovations are fun for someone who wants to make upgrades and changes to their home, but it’s all fun and games until your building site of a house causes an accident. Ensuring that repairs across the home are done in a timely manner is important, and using a company like coastalcontracthardware.com/ for your garage door repair is a good idea to get the job done professionally. When you have children running around the house, you can never be too careful about getting repairs done promptly. While you’re at it, you need to ensure you have child-proofed your home. You don’t need to use plug socket covers, and you can read more about that in this article. But you do need to consider how a slamming door can affect your child and whether you need to add door stops or door holders to the doors to stop little fingers becoming trapped. Parental anxiety plays to your advantage with your home, because you can instantly hone in on the dangers that could upset or hurt your baby and can be quick with your safety choices.

Internet Safety

We live in a digital world full of iPads and touch screens and the internet, which means our children are going online on social media younger and younger. Children are impressionable and a big part of keeping them safe isn’t just physically taking care of them, it’s looking after their self-esteem and confidence. The saying about sticks and stones is entirely wrong, as words CAN hurt, and they can have a lasting effect into adulthood. If you aren’t looking after your children online, you are going to end up having to deal with children that have their own anxiety and confidence issues. The internet is a magical invention, but it’s harming to those who are immature and not able to cope with the online bullying that inevitably happens when life is spread on social media. The biggest and likely best thing that you can do for your child is to keep them off social media until they are at an age where they can cope with the pressure a little better. A thirteen-year-old is not going to have the same confidence as a sixteen-year-old, and it’s up to you as a parent to stop playground bullying in its tracks at the playground and not allow it to carry on at home.

Stranger Danger

Children are impressionable creatures, which means that if a kind person talks to them or offers them sweets, they are inclined to dive right in and accept the gift. When our children are playing out of sight, we want to be confident in the knowledge that they are able to say no to strangers and not get into that strange car. Children need to know their name, your name and their address as early as possible, so that if there is an emergency, they know how to get help and how to direct someone to them. Starting them young with the rules about dealing with strangers is not a bad decision to make, and if your child is under ten, they shouldn’t be without you in busy places. Children are not capable of making thought out decisions, even if they do seem incredibly smart. Your anxiety as a parent will shoot through the roof if you know your children are not at home and they are in a place you cannot reach them. Avoid this situation as much as possible.

Parental anxiety has a lot to answer for when your heart is beating hard in your chest and you feel afraid. The thing is, this anxiety is going to keep your children safe and well. Protecting your child is ingrained in your very heart and the veins connecting it. Saying no to your children in the name of safety should never invoke guilt – these are your babies. Their safety is the most important thing in the world.

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This morning was a rush, as every morning is. I rush out the door just to sit in my car and idle in traffic. It is finally warm here in Michigan and by warm I am talking 75° this morning. I have been yearning for the warmth since January. I curse at the weather every day because I get so irritated with having to bundle up. I want to throw on my sandals and head out the door. I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my body and the wind in my hair as I drive. You know, the “feels” of life. The nature, the simplicity. I miss that. So often I am in a daze with my kids and having the sun shine down gives me hope that I can make it through the tantrums and demands of everyday life.

On my ride into work, I chat with my husband about various topics and today (and for the past month or so), it has been about how I feel – like a robot – always on the go, never really allowing for downtime. Just going through the motions of day-to-day living. I am the hamster on the wheel that keeps running but doesn’t see myself getting anywhere. And I get sad. I feel sorry for myself. I know all about the power of positivity and try to enjoy my cup half full versus half empty, but lately, it’s been hard. 

And it makes perfect sense why. My family and I haven’t had a real vacation in a year. And when you take a vacation with young children, there isn’t much relaxation going on. I really, really could use a weekend trip to a tropical island sans kids, but oh, the mom guilt wouldn’t allow for that. Nor would my finances. So I continue to strive on and remind myself that everyone does it. I am just burnt out. And which I am. 

Just as I was getting on the elevator this morning on my way up to my office, a co-worker asked about my kids. And my response, “Good, you know, they’re kids.” He knew what I meant. I ain’t one to sugar coat how kids can be. You probably know that about me if you read my blog or if you know me personally. There is no reason to hide the truth. Kids are WORK. And some parents work at it harder or have circumstances that don’t allow for much rest or weekend getaways. 

And the response from my coworker (who’s also a parent) was one of understanding, “Feel like a hamster on a wheel yet?”

Boy, do I ever, I thought.

Least I’m not alone. 

 

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