You might follow my work as a therapist on Instagram or read my articles on mental health in the South Asian community here at 5XPress, but aside from being a therapist and writer I’m also a *drum roll please* an anxious mom.
This summer has been especially rife with anxieties for me with local travel, weddings, planning a trip to Mexico and repeatedly thinking about how to back out of all of these events because honestly—I am afraid.
The anxious mom in me feels like a toddler on a sugar rush. Sometimes I can rationalize away my anxiety and other times I feel like I’m running in circles with no idea what to do.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my anxieties around travel, weddings, COVID, and life in general. My hope is that in doing so, other parents can feel like they are not alone.
You know that feeling you get as a parent where you have no idea what you’re doing but you just hope for the best?
I get it too.
Last week I went to Sooke for three days with my family. I was so nervous—more nervous than one should be about travelling just four hours away from home. I packed Clorox wipes so we could re-wipe all of the hotel surfaces, tons of sanitizer, and lots of baby wipes. I probably would have packed disposable gloves too but I didn’t want to freak my child out.
As I packed my bags, I seriously considered just cancelling the trip altogether. My daughter is four and she goes to daycare. As a result, she comes home with flu-like symptoms almost every two weeks.
It’s terrifying and traumatizing. Sick kids didn’t feel like as big of a deal pre-COVID, but now every time my child has a fever, stomach ache, or a weird rash, I can’t help but wonder if it’s COVID.
It’s a strain on them and on us as parents, as we rearrange our days to care for our child, worry about whether they need to be tested, and keep them away from any immunocompromised family members.
I realized as I was packing that it wasn’t travelling that was scary but the fact that we have no idea what to expect these days. Our lives feel very much out of our control when it comes to health. When it comes to our children, it’s hard not to worry about their well being every time we take them into a new environment with new people such as when we are travelling.
Is there a new strain? Is it worse? Is it better to stay home? Is travelling a risk? The underlying question underneath all of this is what if something happens to me or my child? And what if I can somehow prevent it by just staying in one place?
Last month my daughter was really sick and I had to take her to the emergency room. It was not an experience I wanted to repeat and a part of me felt like taking her on a trip was selfish.
What if she did get sick when I could have easily cancelled and stayed home?
How can we possibly know the outcome of choosing to travel versus staying at home?
Ultimately, I did decide to go on our trip. I packed our bags, brought my trusty wipes and hoped for the best.
Despite all the worry about the trip we actually ended up having a great time. My daughter used many public restrooms on our trip, and she went to the pool with her cousins. I cringed and worried and wiped and sanitized and I’ll be honest, sometimes it didn’t feel worth it.
But still, there were moments when I looked out the window at the crisp blue water and felt at peace. I forgot how much I craved new experiences and how a part of me had withered away during COVID, the part of me that wanted to see new things, explore and take my daughter for the ride with me.
Embracing uncertainty is hard but so is living in a bubble of anxiety. Remember, as parents we’re doing the best we can and there is no handbook and no right or wrong way to do things.
You are doing a great job and you are an awesome parent.
Anxious mom out.
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