As a mum I had prepared myself for tears, tantrums and toilet training. And although they took there toll, especially since my daughter is the must stubborn girl in the world it seems (well maybe with the exception of her mum!), these things seemed easy compared with trying to send my anxious daughter into the world.
It was evident even as a baby that my daughter was shy. She didn’t smile for many people and stuck very close by mum, even not wanting dad for a time. This didn’t cause to many dramas though and even had some advantages. Then we started kindergarten! The first day seemed to go surprisingly well as she said goodbye and went off to play. I would have enjoyed this moment more if I had known what was to come.
There was the usual clinging, crying and stubbornness you see every year in kinder and prep, but what the mums with more relaxed kids don’t see is that this is just a small part of the drama. For us it was constant. Only the few hours after she came home was she not worrying. Then as the sun set her worries would start, her nagging to not make us ever make her go to school ever again and her willingness to give away her most beloved school uniform. This was so burdensome for all of us. We would spend hours talking about it, calming her and preparing her to cope. Weekends were also not immune as she was either worrying about Monday or we were trying to get her off to dancing with the same, maybe even worse dramas.
She is now in grade 3 and I am happy to say she finally went off to school this year without any tears! While special events like performances, school sports excursions or a different teacher continue to cause some angst, it is usually not so overwhelming. This was not without a fight though. We realised along the way she was also very anxious not just shy. She would over-think everything. Every possible thing that could go wrong would come into her mind and set her off. There wasn’t even always logic to these things. We took her to a psychologist and that helped immensely. With the introduction of ‘Mr Worry’ to blame we all felt like we had ways of coping and dealing with this ongoing anxiety.
If you have an anxious child you will know exactly what I am talking about, if you don’t there is a fair chance you will never understand how difficult it can be. The moment at school is such a small part. This moment has been building for hours, if not days. Then when the teacher finally pries your child off you, they often go off having a great day. While mum goes home with images of her crying child begging her to stay. It’s heart wrenching, and at the same time you are angry – angry at them and angry at yourself. Then there is guilt, guilt for the anger which you know is unhelpful, guilt that you can’t help your child in what is so painful for them. In the moment you want to just pick them up, hold them close and take them home. But you know in your heart this will never help, you know your job as a mum look to the long term and fight for the short term (or not so short term!)
Written By – Kristin Harmer
Hi I’m Kristin Harmer, I have a lovely husband Sam, 3 kids (Lily 8, Winter 2 and Beau 10weeks), and am a stay at home mum. I hate to cook and clean, but strangely I am blessed with a love of being a stay at home mum. I love to dance, sing (although I am not good at this), and am very involved with a local church. I am too opinionated for my own good and as you can imagine, facebook makes this very apparent! I value relationships very much and love my house to be full of fun.