By Mandy Rees
Am I the only parent who worries about pretty much everything? My daughters are 21 and 16 and I still wonder whether I should be cutting up grapes before they eat them. I feel anxious when they are in a car driven by someone who is not me. I worry that I don’t say the right thing to them and that, sometimes, I don’t have the emotional capacity to be there to properly listen when they need me.
I am often known to ask myself, ‘Is all this worry normal?’.
I think that a big part of it is. After all, your babies are the most precious things and they are irreplaceable.
Anxious thoughts are part of every parent’s life but they do not have to become the driver of your emotional state. Learning healthy ways to live with them is important. They should not control you.
My daughters are 21 and 16 and I still wonder whether I should be cutting up grapes before they eat them.
You Control Your Thoughts
You are in control of the thoughts in your head. I know it doesn’t always feel this way but no-one puts thoughts in there but you. If you put them in, you can take them out. When you think something, notice it, remember that it is only a thought and not reality. Move on.
What You Are Worrying About Is Unlikely To Happen
We all catastrophise and almost everything we catastrophise about never happens. Thinking the worst robs you of the joy in the moment and makes you unhappy. It’s OK to take precautions to avoid disasters (and you do this already because you are a good parent) but take a moment of pause to recognise when you are making up disasters.
Do Something You Love that Switches Off Your Mind
Hobbies, being outside, reading – all of these help your mind be healthy. Regular exercise boosts your mood and those endorphins are good for your emotional health.
We all catastrophise and almost everything we catastrophise about never happens.
Talk To Other Parents
Sharing how you feel makes a huge difference because it makes thoughts feel smaller and less overwhelming. Knowing that you are not alone in how you feel puts things into perspective. Find a trusted group of parents you can confidentially share your worries with. Friendships like this are worth their weight in gold.