Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hashtag Anxiety

In what is pretty much normal for this house, my girls woke up already in middle of an argument. I’m convinced that they are telepathically connected in a way that allows them to begin quarreling even while they sleep so that when they wake up they can immediately bring the fight to the next level.

Decibel level.

When they finally found an activity to enjoy together I committed to being relaxed about the activity and to stop it only at the danger of actual death [to clarify, one kid blacking out for a minute here or there is not danger of actual death.] The activity in question was the methodical destruction of every drawer filled with neatly folded clothes. Unfortunately, there were only three drawers like that in the entire house and the activity ended all too soon. That’s when #hashtagrivka spied the bag of plastic shopping bags that we keep in the hallway and figured it could do with some emptying out. Now, a bag of bags in which I carried food home? We musta had hundreds of those.

So I planted myself on the couch and watched the girls gleefully jump into piles of bags like they were at Disneyland. It took only a minute for me to realize that I was tense. And that the only thing my brain was letting me see, over and over, was an image of my kids blue in the face. My heart was pounding and I felt hot and uncomfortable.

I tried to reason with myself. I was sitting right next to them. They weren’t putting the bags on their heads. If one of them would jump headfirst into the pile my problem would be a cracked skull, not suffocation (you can see how helpful I am at helping myself. /sarc font/). The logic didn’t help.

In an instant I was up off the couch, shouting panicked warnings about asphyxiation and grabbing plastic bags in a frenzy. The girls got caught up in the cleaning activity but they were disappointed and bewildered.

Having a mother with an anxiety disorder isn’t easy.

Having anxiety and mothering a tenacious #hashtagrivka is no antidote.

I felt sorry after the episode, wishing I could go back and deal with it calmly, in a way that would actually teach them something. But I know better than to dwell. I don’t tell myself that there is always tomorrow to do better, I tell myself that there is now. Now I am going to start over. Now I am going to try to be mindful and present and not let the anxiety get the best of me.