It’s an acknowledged fact that parenting young children is a challenging job. During back-to-school season, parents are deluged with emergency contact forms, bus schedules, extracurricular activities, homework, lunch boxes, baths, and bedtimes, and the list goes on. Transitions are often trying times and new school routines can bring tears and anxiety for some children and parents.
Like many parents, I had the notion that once I got passed those school-aged years, the job would become easier. This is not true – at least not in our case. The process of growing up is multifaceted, and young adults live in a swirl of genetics, emotional maturity, intelligence, and peer relationships. College is a kind of halfway place.
My son’s struggles are his story to share when and if he chooses to do so. But my struggles are fair game. The triad of menopause, launching a child to adulthood, and care giving for aging parents is a dangerous combination. With the help of a trusted counselor, I’ve made progress in developing foundational habits and ways of coping with anxiety, so I’m better able to help my son, and my happiness is no longer hijacked by his mood. I’ve accepted that I must let go and give him room to find his own path – with plenty of support, of course.
There is always effort in deciding how much to share in this space. I strive to land somewhere near authenticity without being foolishly transparent and to act with empathy. If you are reading this and you feel overwhelmed by anxiety or worry, you are not alone.
I have a couple of really good books to recommend.
The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques by Margaret Wehrenberg
Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
And a couple of suggestions that always help, even when you think nothing will help, even when you cannot see your way to a clearing.
Get adequate sleep. Eat healthful foods. Exercise.
Find something that brings you into the moment, something mindful and meditative, a practice.
The combination of walking and taking pictures has proven to be like medicine for me.