Life as an anxious, socially awkward mum

my-life-as-e1539831292108.pngI’ve recently come to the conclusion that people who finish a whole stick of lip balm before losing it, are the only people who should be allowed to have kids.

Before the haters gonna hate and get all Judgey McJudgerton on me,  it goes without saying that I absolutely love being a mum to my three apprentice humans [etc etc, blah blah, insert gushy motherhood-loving sentiments usually reserved for Facebook status updates here], but in no-shit-Sherlock parenting news, being in charge of another [3] human being[s] is an ass-ton harder and more exhausting than I ever thought was possible.

And frankly, it’s really become quite apparent that looking after my Tamagotchi in 1995 didn’t adequately prepare me for being a parent.

Side note: The Sims also gave me a completely skewed perception of what it takes to run a household and Sweet Valley High severely inflated my expectations of how hot I was going to be in high school.  #mylifeisalie

SVH twins
Not me in highschool
tamagotchi
Not a human child

As an adult and a mother, I like to think I don’t require a lot to function. 10 hours of sleep. 73 striped t-shirts. 18 pairs of leggings. 8 meals a day. An ongoing stream of new Netflix documentaries about murder or maximum security prison in Idaho. Complete solitude and no social obligations whatsoever. Just your standard stuff. I mean, if you hadn’t noticed, I’m pretty laid back, I only care about two things.

  1. Every person on earth and their opinion of me.
  2. The sheer psychological weight of being alive.

What I guess I didn’t expect, however, was that as a 36 year old woman, I’d still be a binge thinking, socially awkward weirdo with an overactive blurt-reflex [like that time I couldn’t think of something to say to a schoolyard dad and a teacher walked past and I blurted “she’s got bow legs” like I was caught right in the cross-hairs of a Tourette style truth serum rapid fire shoot out] and a side serving of crazy who worries about something awkward I said to someone three years ago [for five hours] [in the middle of the night]. Someone with approximately 99 problems, 86 of which are completely made up scenarios in my head that I’m worrying about for absolutely no reason, + a succession of highly important random life ponderings like  “how does the internet even work”, “how was the earth created”, “who made microwaves”, and 47 things I haven’t done but should have etc etc.

It’s a tough gig.

Here’s the thing though, as much as I use the buffer of humour to soften the reality of my anxiety for those around me, the truth is that there have been times it’s actually been pretty full on.

People seem to use “anxiety” as a buzz word these days. But, unpopular opinion, anxiety isn’t a synonym for worry. Life stress or general worry about stuff are temporary. Anxiety is forever [much like bringing glitter into the home, stretch marks and sarcasm]. And being a human with a brain that has the tendency to ruminate on anxiety, at the same time as being a mum, brings up a few things for me that other mums with anxiety [and even some without it!] might relate to.

1. Leaving my kids with someone else.

anxiety memeBUT WHAT IF THEY DIE!!???

But really.

What if they do?

It’s not just a fleeting concern. It’s a… I think I’m going to vomit or shit myself, twisty stomach, might choke on thin air feeling of anxiety that only goes away when my children are returned safe and sound to their beloved Smother… anxiety meme 2uh… mother.

2. Are my kids OK? AKA are they still breathing in the middle of the night.

I know I’m not the only one who does “the check”. I’ve been known to accidentally wake my children up I’ve been doing “the check” so thoroughly. I’ll stand there listening for the sound of their breathing, wondering if it’s actually the sound of their breathing or if it’s me hearing the sound of my own breathing and thinking it’s theirs, until I have to physically touch them to assure myself they’re OK.

3. Basically any social interaction ever, be it the kids or my own.

I mean first things first, frankly, it’s very hard to make friends as an adult because once you’re an adult you’ve realised you hate everyone. But aside from that, I could [and might!] write a whole article about school pick-up politics and managing other parents in the playground. Shit gets REAL when you’re seeing the same women day in day out in the school yard lemme tell ya.

It’s not just that though. Anxiety also leads me to stress endlessly about how my kids are going socially. There was a point at which I just preferred going to playgrounds where there were no other kids so I didn’t have to worry about mine saying something assholey or someone else’s kid being a jerk and me wishing I could tell that child off but obviously not actually doing that because other peoples children [and their parents!!] also give me anxiety. Funnily enough, it’s actually quite difficult to find playgrounds…without…children… in them. Lol.

4. What if something happens to me?

I spent a solid year in 2016 being convinced I was dying of an as-yet undiagnosed terminal illness. I get [NOW] that this sounds ridiculous, but when I was bouncing around spending $600 a pop seeing multiple neurologists and checking myself into Emergency departments at hospitals every 15 minutes… it seemed very very real. Do you ever realise, halfway through acting crazy, that you’re acting crazy but you can’t stop because it’s too late to turn back? And if you give up now you’re admitting defeat and you’ll never do that because you’re not a loser, you’re a winner, and winners never quit and quitters never win? That’s my life right there in a nutshell.  I affectionately call this my “2016 break down” which was much like “2007 Britney” but without the head shaving and $14 million in my bank account. Oh baybeh, baybeh. When I was in the process of getting my brain shrunk by professionals about this whole scenario when I had [begrudgingly] accepted that perhaps I was just suffering from acute medical anxiety, I was told that “existential crises” were very common in young mothers. It’s got something to do with the fear of orphaning your children. Just in case we didn’t have enough to worry about already!

Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg that took down the entire fucking Titanic when Rose let Jack die even though she had a FULL DOOR to float on that she could have shared with him instead of letting him FUCKING FREEZE TO DEATH AND DROWN.

titanic

Annnnyhoo.

Will I ever be totally normal? Will things I said 5 years ago finally stop freaking me out for 2 hour blocks at 4am?  Will me sitting there in the schoolyard feeling hotter than Chris Hemsworth with a sunburn in a sauna eating jalapenos, with suddenly altogether too much saliva in my mouth and a complete inability to form a coherent sentence about, you know, anything relevant to any conversation that’s being had, ever become a thing of the past?

Tune in to the next episode of definitely fucking not.

Here’s the thing though. Snapchat psychologists (not a thing, but just roll with it) have determined that anxiety is a lot like a toddler. It never stops talking, tells you you’re wrong about everything at any given opportunity and continually wakes you up at 3am.

So I guess after having had three of my own, I’m pretty well qualified!

 

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2 thoughts on “Life as an anxious, socially awkward mum

  1. Oh Liv, I haven’t even read this but I think you are great and if you are socially awkward then I’m up there with you. On the outside extroverted but I just hide out and avoid unnecessary interactions where people will ask me about me. Prime example at Sunday’s fete working bee at school, I went and played with everyone’s kids instead of talking to the parents. At the end of the day they were like ‘wow, you are so good with kids!’ Me – internal thought, no I was avoiding all of you, so you don’t ask any questions about how I am.

    Love your work, ps. Saved that bird, it bit me hard! But it’s ok, I couldn’t feel my hands, I played that it hurt cos it looked like it should hurt. He flew back home from Unley vet.

    Regards,

    Lou

    Like

  2. Lol I’m really on and off; if I’ve got anxiety I’m no good to anyone. Cannot have a conversation! Or a normal one at least 😂 the harder I try the worse it gets!! But I can never predict when I’ll feel anxious and when I won’t! So it’s just a fun lottery for everyone involved 😂

    Well done on the bird saving! I was all like.. natural selection, let it die! Lolol

    Like

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