Transition: Newborn Anxiety to Manager Mom

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The anxiety and thoughts started right after I had my first baby. My normal mindset of being prepared but generally not worried about things was replaced by round the clock “what if?” thoughts. “What if I drop the baby? What if I don’t hear him cry? What if I am feeding him too much? Too little? What if I don’t ever sleep again? What if my husband leaves me? What if I die? What if the baby dies?” Whoa! Stop. It was all too much.

Motherhood had shifted me into a dark place that I had never seen before. It was a relentless place of worry, questioning and planning that was all new to me.

Somehow I made it through those dark days and nights. Looking back, I wish I had spoken up more to my doctor, my husband and my friends. I thought it was normal to feel that way. I even had a second baby two years later. That’s when the constant stream of worries doubled down and I finally went to see a counselor.  

I was so physically exhausted that it was hard to distinguish between what was acceptable and would change with time, with the things that were deeper and needed to be worked on through therapy. After some time with the therapist, things started to get better and I finally felt like I had the support I needed to let go a bit of the worries that I had.

Today I have school aged kids and things are MUCH better. Those first years were definitely the hardest for me to manage. Now they can brush their own teeth, get dressed, pack lunches, put their shoes on, make their own waffles, etc. The routines are more streamlined and I can focus more on bigger things rather than worry about ALL of the little things.

2012 and 2018. You would never know that I was struggling so hard in the picture on the left. Today things are different.

Yet somehow, I still feel like the manager mom.  

My entire family looks to me to make the plans. It feels like if I don’t do it, no one will. “What’s for dinner, Mom? When can I have a play date, Mom? Where are my shoes, Mom? Tell him to stop, Mom! What does ____ mean, Mom? Can I play Nintendo, Mom?” And on and on it goes.

Moms often have the burden of planning; of being three steps ahead of the rest of the family and taking on that anxiety and worry of logistics. THAT is what is making me so tired these days!  

The mental exhaustion of being a mom has made me physically unable to stay awake past 10 p.m.! I often compare myself to a shark – that if I lay down on the couch I will fall asleep within two minutes just like the story of a shark who never stops moving to avoid death.  

Yes, the anxiety and worries of having newborns and toddlers was emotionally draining for me. I am happy those days are long gone. The way I see it now is that the only way out of this mental exhaustion is teaching our kids to be as independent as possible. And that takes patience and time. Which I am running out of because I am so tired!

Did you experience postpartum anxiety or baby blues? Are you still feeling like the manager mom in your house as your children get older?

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Abby is a full time middle school teacher and mom. She was born and raised in Fairfield County and despite a few attempts at moving out west to Colorado, she has always ended up back here in the tri-state area. She met her husband, Chris, in college, and they were married in 2008 in Norwalk. They welcomed their first son, Ben, in 2010 and their second son, Tommy, in 2012. They recently just bought their forever home in Wilton and brought home a Bernese Mountain dog puppy, Nora, to add to the fun. Abby spends her weekdays working and parenting her two young boys and her weekends trying to relax with family and friends. She enjoys running, podcasts, nice dinners out with her husband or friends and the quiet hour alone with her coffee each morning before everyone else wakes up.

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