Ready to learn how authenticity ends anxiety for moms? If you’re an anxious mom, this one’s for you.
The anxiety of being a new mom
I write in my book, The Authentic Wife: Uncaging Yourself Through Marriage, how I went from a Type A, overachiever, do everything, get everything done person to this woman who was so thrilled to finally have the baby I’d wanted forever, like all my life. But I was stuck in a chair with her breastfeeding and the world was just crashing around me because I had set it up that way.
I made sure that I did everything because I did everything “right,” I never asked for help, and I didn’t need help because I had it all under control, and that was the way I liked it.
My clients often remind me of what it’s like to be so anxious and unsure of what the right decision is. To absolutely control the crap out of everything. To have backup plans for your backup plans, to have spreadsheets and a decision matrix and all the data and the logic to make even sometimes very simple decisions because we don’t trust ourselves.
Control brings us safety when we’re anxious
We don’t feel like we can trust our gut for the answer, and it’s a scary place to be as a new mom. It’s a terrible place to be because of all the times when we need to lean into that intuitive knowing we have of what our children need, as mothers especially. We are so attuned to them at every moment, and we know. If we can listen, we know what they need. We know if they’re feeling pain, we know if they’re hungry, we know.
But if we’ve shut that off, then we don’t know. And we look for the books and track the milk, and we do all the things, and we find all the answers.
We didn’t have a healthy model of authenticity
Part of the problem is when we don’t have a healthy model for what it should be. What I experienced from my parents wasn’t a healthy model. While it was great in so many aspects I still grew into an adult who never felt like I got what I truly needed.
The stakes were so high, and these are humans. I have one shot at raising them. I knew that I had just from 0 to 6 to form their entire subconscious operating system. There was so much pressure to get it right.
We rely on our strong intellect as moms
We rely on what we know. And women like me rely on our intellect.
We have basically claircognizance where we just know things. We’re good in school or good out on the streets, somewhere we have the ability to breeze through things that might be a struggle for other people.
We learn things quickly, we understand concepts fairly quickly, we’re curious, basically. It would really boil down to we’re curious and if we want to know the answer, we’ll find the answer.
We’re leaning on that knowledge to know the way forward. We’re stuck in depending on our brain and being in this masculine state of being all the time. Do, do, do. Plan all the things, or think about the scary stuff that happened in the past. And the rest of the time it’s all about the future — what can I do now to make my life easier in the future?
We live in the future instead of the now
I used to be so efficient and concerned with efficiency I would almost paralyze myself for such simple tasks, even folding the laundry. Even now, I have to tell myself to fold the thing that’s on the top. That probably doesn’t make sense to you, but the way I used to do it is ask myself, what makes the most sense to fold next? What is the most efficient way to fold this laundry? What is the best use of my time?
So now, among many other changes, I have to tell myself, Just grab the thing on top and fold it. It’s that simple. Just be. Just be present while you do the task. I had zero concept of just being present in the moment.
Our childhoods were unpredictable
Because life for me as a child had been, at times, unpredictable. I got the message that people you love disappear, and the home you love will go away. We all get a message like a pet will die, or friends move away. I learned that I didn’t have a lot of control and the world was scary. I didn’t have a lot of structure either, especially after the divorce. There wasn’t a lot of structure in our lives.
It’s kind of funny because we have this way that we go toward peaceful parenting, basically letting the child lead, and the truth is that children need the adult in the home to set up structure, to have routines, to hold limits. We need that. If we don’t get that, then we don’t feel safe. And if we don’t get that, we don’t feel safe. And if we don’t feel safe, then we control the crap out of everything when we’re an adult in an attempt to feel safe.
So we have a ton of anxiety, especially when our kids come.
But we can’t control other people
Our old way of controlling everything to feel safe stops working because now we have humans in the mix, and we can’t control other humans. This illusion that we can control our lives begins to crumble. We start to realize that while we think we’ve created this sense of safety, actually, no. There are other things at play. Our kids are going to be themselves. Our husbands are going to be who they are. We’re going to have to learn how to accept and act moment by moment.
But in the meantime, we’re looking everywhere for the right way to do things. We’re reading the books, and finding the experts, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe you lack some knowledge in those areas and it’s good to do those things. But if you depend on someone else or take months or weeks of research to make a decision, then you’re totally cut off from your body, from your soul, from your authentic self.
We left our bodies for safety, and now we desperately need them
This huge deficit that we feel is our inability to feel our emotions and use their guidance.
All human decisions start with emotion. I know that Descartes Error talks about it, but there was also a book about a woman who had a stroke and lost that logical part of her brain, but she could still make decisions because emotions guide behavior. They’re like our soul tapping you on the shoulder, telling you that something is off about your present situation and you have to take some action.
Each emotion has a message. In my Happily Ever After marriage coaching program, I call them Royal Guards and you have to go on a quest and figure out what that emotion means.
But up until that point, when I was trying to control everything and feeling endless anxiety. Literally thought that I knew when something horrible would happen. I’d been through 9/11 and stuff in our own family. The world was unpredictable. I used to pray every day, “Please keep us safe, please bring my husband home today.” And there’s nothing wrong with that except that being a total ball of anxious mess is no good for anybody, but especially not good for a mom.
We have no trust, in anyone
When I don’t have that trust in myself, that trust in the energy coursing through our body in the form of emotions that are here to guide us, then we’re just lost. We don’t have a sense of reality, and we don’t even know what we want. The only thing we have to operate off of are belief systems, I call them in the program our Royal Decrees. They’re this book of law that says you should behave this way or behave that way.
So we’re caged by it then we cage our husband or kids by it from these old belief systems that never worked anyway.
We just don’t know. We make people afraid to be themselves and afraid to trust their emotions. They’re afraid to express what’s in their heart, to say no to things, to say yes to things, to protect themselves and their boundaries.
We feel too much fear to be who we really are
When we feel so much fear to just be who we really are, then we’re on the path but the path is not a path. It’s a big circle, and there’s so many different ways we could go, and we’re like, Please somebody, tell me what to do! We just flounder around and we’re so afraid and second-guess our choices and beat ourselves up for the choices we’ve already made and don’t really feel good at night when we go to bed.
So we start to think ugh, must be my husband! IT must be him! It’s all his fault. if he would just go along with the program, then I would feel in control again. if he would just be another me, then we’d be good. If he would pick up the stuff that I always did or have always done, then I wouldn’t be feeling so low and upset with myself right now because it’s not getting done up to my standards. If he could just be another me, then I’d be happy.
He’s not going to be another you, and that’s not the problem.
Anxiety is an emotion we need. It gets us to act and do things when we need to. But just like other emotions, we can have inauthentic energy arise when we are living off of these old belief systems. If we have the belief that if we just control everything well enough, everybody will be safe. And also, we end up kind of taking a role that’s not even ours to take. From that place, we have zero faith that we actually have any control over what’s happening in our lives. We have zero faith in a Higher Power, of understanding how there’s cause and effect, and how consequences of choices that society or government make, or people make over time, are going to impact us at some point.
We have to live in presence
But we can’t go out to that big picture and be afraid all the time when there’s so much we can control in our lives. and it starts with this journey from our head to our heart, into our bodies. It starts with us going from all the time doing to coming back into balance, so we are doing and being. We can take inspired action, but we can also just sit and be present in this moment. And see what’s actually in front of us. The stories in our heads will drive us to insanity. They will tell us that everything is scary and you have no power here and all these bad things will happen again. And there’s no hope; the only thing you can do is be super afraid and make all the right decisions today for the next five or ten years.
Who knows where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing a year from now? five years from now? Planning is good, but obsessively obsessing about the future is going to keep you kind of stuck in this place of limbo because you never say what am I working toward, what do I want to experience?
Move from expectation to intention
We have to move from the idea that we can have expectations for how other people will show up and how a day will be, we have to move from expectation to intention. This is what I want to experience, what I want to see, what I want to feel. When we do that, we change our brain’s filters. We tell it to look for the evidence that our intention is really happening.
When we have an expectation, the brain goes, ok, this is what we’re expecting, now let’s find all the ways that this is not happening. And it begins to give you all that data, and then you’re just down low and feeling out of control and anxious.
The intention is so important. What do I want to experience? What matters to me? What is the right decision for right now? Remember that you are not locked into most of the choices that you make. The house you choose, the job you do, how you dye your hair. These are temporary choices. You just have to be brave enough to take a new course of action.
You have the power to change your relationship
Just like if your marriage is not what you thought it was going to be when you picked this lovely man, you can choose for that to be different now. You can see how you’ve operated up until now and choose to operate a different way. Because when you change your role in your relationship dynamic, it will change. If you don’t like it, you have the power to change it.
If you don’t like the way your parenting is heading and you feel guilt and shame every day, then look at why you feel that way. What is your intention with them? How do you want to be with them?
Being present in your body…I highly recommend that to get there, you begin with meditation. Lumosity Mind is an app that helps you learn how to meditate, and I highly recommend that for learning. Insight Timer is another great app to help you use a timer or guided meditations after you know how to meditate.
You are this conscious observer of your thoughts.
Then begin to do some energy exercises. This ability will improve your experience in the bedroom as well.
Your heart is begging you to spend more time being.
Sometimes your husband will be better at presence and it will bother you if you don’t have a healthy relationship with presence yourself.
Authenticity ends anxiety for moms because it requires us to get into presence, reconnect to our real selves, trust our intuition and Higher Self guidance and wisdom, and be in our bodies guided by our emotions.
To start to learn what your emotions are telling you, download my free emotion assessment called The Princess & The Peeve.
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