Nervous Moms are Cautious
You would think that after your child reaches 7 years old, you wouldn't be as overly cautious or nervous about their well-being as you would a 2 year old.
Over the past few weeks since my son has been enrolled in summer activity programs, I've noticed other moms are anxious about leaving their children in the care of someone else.
Let's explore what moms can do to feel at ease.
The world at large.
No doubt about it. The world is a big place.
It's frightening to think about letting your child out there in a cruel world when you have taken so much time to raise your child to be the smart, talented, well-loved and safe!
Do you feel anxious when your child participates in group activities without you?
Tip #1 ~ Plan ahead for activities and appointments.
I'm a planner.
I have gotten myself away from three calendars though. I'm down to one large one now that fits in my shoulder bag, and a magnetized white board for the fridge with blank columns for daily appointments.
Once upon a time, when my children were much younger, I didn't have nearly as many appointments as we do now. I have at least three appointments a week now. At the beginning of each week, I transfer my weekly calendar items to my magnetized fridge white board. The entire family can see what's ahead for the week and plan accordingly.
Today my son had a field trip. He knew he had to wake up extra early in order to make it to the bus on time for his trip. Having the magnetized fridge calendar is an extra reminder area for the children.
Moms who are having trouble prioritizing or are anxious about getting their children ready for appointments should try my suggestion and see if it helps.
I am totally lost without my calendar!
Tip #2 ~ Plan meals for the week.
We budget our money closely for groceries.
It's very difficult for me to go to the grocery store without a shopping list.
If you are spending way too much time or money in the grocery store, try writing a shopping list.
We have a paper that comes to our mailbox weekly with store flyers. I look over the flyers to determine which store has the best deals. Then I make my list out. Sometimes I go to two or three stores to save money. However, most stores offer an online preview of their sales. So regardless if you get the paper version, you can still look online to see what's on sale. (Some even have a way of generating a grocery list when you click on the online items and put them in your cart. Print that out and take it with you to the store.)
Another suggestion is if you do have challenges in your home such as multiple children in different age groups, you can find out which stores offer home delivery and order your groceries that way. I used to do that when I had two small children and no car. I ordered my groceries once every two weeks. (You'll save money this way too because you won't have your children asking you to buy everything they see in the aisles!)
The point here is not so much that I'm dictating to you how to buy your groceries. It's an exercise in diligently planning. You will find when you are organized and have a more structured routine, you will worry less. It all goes hand in hand to becoming the mom that makes everything look so easy!
Tip #3 ~ Get your finances organized.
Many families with children face financial burden. I know a lot of people that have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck. It's a scary thought for sure, but it's a fact of life! Not everyone has a small nest egg saved for a rainy day.
I find half the battle of becoming less anxious or stressed about my family is in organizing the family finances.
A lot of times, financial burdens can create anxiety that you don't even realize is impacting your daily life with your children.
I created a simple 3-ring binder with a three-column ledger to keep track of our household bills and expenses. I have a plain dated calendar that I write all of the monthly bills on the payday they are to be paid. I created a grid on graph paper to show what bills are due each month, with notations for bills that come up during the year (such as the gas tank rent, property tax, etc.) and I check off each bill as it is paid.
This eases my mind. I don't have to worry about bills and can use my brain to focus on my children.
As I stated above, I'm a planner. I've known people that live in ultimate chaos without planning a single thing. They live for the moment.
I'm not one of those people. I can't manage a household with children successfully when everything else around me is in utter chaos. I knew a brilliant women who was a top executive in a corporate office. She made her job look so simple, yet everyone knew it was very difficult. Paper was all over her office. She never used her in boxes. She knew where everything was in a big heap, and that's how she worked. That would never work for me.
I figured out a long time ago that the less I had to remember in my brain, the more room I had in my mind for things I needed to focus on in the moment.
Tip #4 ~ Get yourself in order.
Clear your mind.
In order to focus on someone else, you need to let go of your past negative memories and present concerns.
First and foremost, don't look down upon yourself. You are a mom! You have one of the most important jobs in the entire world. You are in charge of raising another human being! That in itself it to be proud of!
With your head held high, never let someone tell you that you aren't good enough or aren't a good enough mother.
On a personal note, I have encountered a few of those people. The ones that compare themselves to you and think they are better than you. When in reality, if we all think about this for a moment, how can someone be better at raising your child when they never had to raise your child? Right? They might have been better at raising their own child than you could have because it's not your child. However, you are the mother for the job! So don't let anyone take that away from you with negative hurtful words. Be proud to call yourself mom and ignore those who have self-esteem issues themselves that just want to bring you down.
I have an older dog. She acts like a mother hen around my other family pets. I've learned something from her. Whenever she is stressed out around the fighting cats, or the pit bull chasing a tennis ball, or the children running around playing tag....she stops, lays down, and breathes out with a huge sigh. She knows she can't do anything about it, so she stops in her tracks and releases that negative energy she has pent up.
There is something to be said about breathing out with a deep sigh. It relaxes your mind, your shoulders ease up, and you feel more comfortable physically.
So, having said all that, whatever it is that is concerning you at that moment, drop it and kick it over the goal line. You don't need to deal with it right now. Let it release from your mind so you can focus on your children without worrying about anything else that really has no business cluttering up your brain.
Tip #5 ~ Have confidence in your decisions.
This is a tough one. When a mom doesn't have confidence in her own decisions, how can she expect to be confident about other people taking care of her children?
Last week I saw a mother stand in line with her two children to register them for a summer activity. There was a field trip to the community pool. The mother almost changed her mind while at the sign-up table. She decided it would be too dangerous for her children to go to the pool without her supervision.
The supervisor tried to re-assure the mom that the pool workers were all life guards and trained to rescue. If a problem arose at the pool, the children would be in very capable hands.
The mother wasn't satisfied with this answer. Begging and pleading as if the children were being forced out of her care, she told the supervisor she just wasn't sure about sending her 10 and 8 year olds off to a terrible fate at a community pool without her by their side.
I got a good chuckle at that one (because her children were taller than the shallow end of the pool). We have excellent swimming instruction in our community. By age 6 months, I enrolled both of my children for the baby swim class. They were pros by age three.
My family goes to the beach a lot. My children are some of the youngest swimmers I've seen at the beach. Many children their ages do not know how to swim. They go up to the edge of the water and dip their toes. They build a sandcastle near the water line. They won't go in the water without mom and dad though.
So, one way of gaining confidence is by teaching your children something. Such as my example of swimming lessons.
Here is a true story you might find pretty funny. As a grown woman, I was planting a garden one year. My farmer grandfather pulls up in his old pick-up truck and starts telling me I have no idea what I'm doing. I didn't plant the corn in a sunny enough spot. The green beans need poles to grow up (even though I planted bush beans). It was a waste of time planting lettuce because he doubted I'd ever get much (we got a fresh salad out of the garden every night all summer). I finally got to the point where I meant no disrespect, but I simply stated, "I had the best teacher. How could I go wrong when you taught me everything I know?"
I grew up on a farm. My grandfather was my teacher since I was old enough to hold a baby sheep in my lap and bottle feed it. Yet here he was telling me everything I was doing was wrong. I learned everything I knew from him.
Anyway, when you are mom, you wear many hats. Have confidence in your children. If they don't know something, teach them. If they need lessons, find out where there is a place you can bring them to learn something new so you don't have to worry. You can have confidence in your children when you feel comfortable allowing them freedom to do something outside of the ordinary.
Tip #6 ~ Trust people.
This one is probably the most difficult, even for me. Trusting other people is really hard to do. Especially when past experiences dictate how you handle future relationships with others.
When you enroll your children in school, day care, or another activity which requires you to entrust your child's welfare and safety in another person's hand, you have to remember these are trained professionals.
The world is not perfect. Bad things do happen a lot.
My sister had a baby last year. She works full-time and her child goes to a day care facility. She made sure the facility was current in technology. She can watch her child from her phone all day to know that he is safe. This isn't always available such as at a school.
I have to admit, I don't trust many people. So it's even difficult for me to achieve this.
When your child is away from you, remember they are growing and learning. This is how they develop their own personalities and independence.
Checklist for the beach.
Towel and goggles
Swim trunks and t-shirt
Bagged lunch plus snack
Change of clothes
Wetones hand wipes
Tip #7 ~ Organize beforehand for activities.
When my son goes on beach trips through his summer program, I make sure he has everything he needs.
He needs to bring so much stuff, I keep a list on the fridge that I can check off to double-check what I've packed. This way I'm confident sending him off in the care of someone else knowing he is all set.
Tip #8 ~ Get plenty of rest.
As a mom, I know how exhausting it is to stay up late and do it all over again tomorrow.
Motherhood never gets a break.
Getting a good night sleep helps ease tension. I find that if I even stay up late to watch television, I'm exhausted the next day from not getting a full-night sleep.
Sleepytime tea helps me relax after having a wound-up day!
My little adventurers.
There are moms that have it all put together and show it in their confidence.
There are also moms that are anxiety-driven and feel overwhelmed in different scenarios.
Confidence comes through experience.
The more you experience different situations with your children, the more secure you will feel going in to new situations.
Remember, you are your child's teacher. Have confidence in your child's rearing so they can go on and become the confident adult you intend them to be.