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Being a human is hard, being a parent is stressful, being an anxious parent is sometimes too much!

As many of you know I ventured into uncharted territory this weekend. I decided to take my book to the Iowa Horse Fair to promote it to a crowd of people that didn’t know me. That meant leaving home Friday at 7:00 AM and not returning until 7:00 PM Sunday. While that might not seem like a big deal for most, it was huge for me. Remember, I’m the girl that hated to stay away from home as a child/teenager.

My family came down to attend a rodeo with me Friday night, stayed in the hotel to swim and attend the horse fair with plans to head back home Saturday night. This was a fantastic plan up until the moment Ellie put on her swimsuit to go for her first dip in the pool, I noticed a red mark on her tummy, looked closer and realized she had hives. My first reaction was, “oh crap it must be bedbugs!” After a quick examination of Grace, who slept in the same bed as Ellie, we realized she had none of the red marks. As we retraced our steps through the week, night and morning of we determined she had had a lot of citrus. She’s had citrus before but we did all comment that she had had a large amount. Luckily, because I’m an anxious mom, I had Benadryl with me and we gave her some which seemed to ease the hives.

Said child must have taken some selfies at the horse fair!

Fast forward to a successful afternoon at the horse fair and my family hitting the road to travel home.  My niece joined me at the horse fair and we had a great time laughing with kids that came to our booth and visiting with each other. As we were finishing up at the vendor show for the night I got a call from Rob that the hives were back with a vengeance. If you are at all like me you know what happened next, my legs went numb, my arms went numb and my heart felt like it was going to fall out of my chest.

Does she have hives because I’m not home?

Does he know what to do if she has trouble breathing?

Will he even hear her if she has trouble breathing with her sleeping?

Why isn’t he taking her to the doctor?

Rob eased my mind by telling me he had spoken to our friend that is a nurse, asked for advice and he had even picked up some over the counter meds for her. My body started to calm down as I talked myself into the fact that he would do just fine, it wasn’t my fault that she had hives and he could parent her just as well as I can. As I tried to fall asleep in the hotel room that night I kept telling myself she was going to be fine, at the time she fell asleep she was having no trouble breathing, and it was just something on her skin.

Fast forward through a restless night of sleep and another phone call that the hives were back and worse. Cue numb feeling in arms, legs, and lump in throat. I began talking to myself, using my name and telling myself that it would be fine, kids get hives. I will admit though I couldn’t stop the feeling that it was my fault because I wanted to go away and promote my book. That was the mom guilt/anxiety kicking into overdrive. I know I’m not the only one to experience this, but man it’s a crappy feeling!

Why do we as mom’s or parents get this guilty feeling? We HAVE to take time for ourselves. Especially when we give, give, give all of the time.

My entire way home from Des Moines I couldn’t turn the negative thoughts off in my mind about it, if I wouldn’t have went to promote the book she wouldn’t have gotten hives and on and on!

Guess what? It’s Thursday and she still has hives and I am still an anxious mom.

I will repeat what I have said before, I am doing this work so that my girls know that they too can dream big and huge! But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t deal with the mom guilt and anxious feelings that many of you may be dealing with, too!

Are you an anxious human? How do you deal with parenting guilt?

From the gravel road-

Jen

15

Do you ever have one of those days when things just don’t feel right and you are just literally waiting for the next shoe to drop?  Maybe the cattle got out, you missed the train to the city, or you spilled your coffee all over the front seat of your vehicle?  I’ve been there, heck, we’ve all been there. BUT it’s not a place to stay.

A few days ago I had one of those days, as I sat and reflected on it I remembered something I had heard on a podcast (I feel awful, but I cannot for the life of me remember which one.)  The podcast talked about things you can do when everything is feeling awful and not okay.  The actual podcast talked about questions to ask yourself when everything is awful before you give up.  Now, when they talk about giving up I am not sure how literal they are meaning that, I was in no way thinking about giving up on life, but I am sure if someone were in that dark space that this list would help them, too.

I am going to share the list in full disclosure that I did NOT come up with those questions, but will add my thoughts (in italics) and share the ones that I think really hit home for me. This is the actual PDF with credits on the bottom of the page for where it came from on the web.

Everything is awful and I’m not okay: Questions to ask yourself before giving up:

1. Are you hydrated?  If not, have a glass of water. Dehydration can mimic or increase feelings associated with anxiety and a well hydrated brain functions optimally. Avoid excess caffeine.  Did you know the latest research recommends half of your body weight in water?  I will admit this is the first thing I think of when I get a headache or am just feeling crappy.  Go guzzle a 16 oz. glass of water!!!

2.   Have you stretched your legs in the past day?  If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the energy or time for a run or a trip to the gym, just walk around the block or building. Even minimal exercise preps the mind for learning so that you can focus better and recall things easier, plus it’s good to get a change of scenery. I have said this forever, just move!  It doesn’t matter if you don’t run, just move your body by going up and down some stairs or stand up and sit down 20 times.

3. Have you said something nice to someone in the past day? Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine! I TRULY believe in this and I love to do it in writing!  How long has it been since you wrote someone a letter or card?

4. Have you moved your body to music in the past day? If not, jog for the length of a song at your favorite tempo, or just dance around your bedroom for the length of an upbeat song (singing along is a bonus) Hello, playlist that my children cannot be in the room when I have it going!  Whatever your jam is, blare it! Sometimes at work when I am writing a report I will put my ear buds in and rock anything from classic country to Lady Gaga.

5. Do you feel ineffective? Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an email, loading the dishwasher, or tidying up your room. Good job!

For real, when nothing feels right, choose something you know for 100% fact that you can be successful at and go for it.  You are going to think this is weird, but mine, folding a basket of towels.  Towels are easy, not a ton fit in a basket, and if I end up putting them way-BONUS!

So, there you have it, my Top 5 Tried and True Techniques for no longer feeling like everything is awful and that I am not okay.

Do you ever feel this way? What works for you?

From the gravel road-

Jen

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