Monday, June 10, 2013

Stay At Home Mom Anxiety

My daughter and I have been having a tough go of late.  About 3 weeks ago she started having anxiety about going to school.  My once happy go lucky, skip to class, choose to go to school when not feeling well little girl dreaded going to school in the am.  It started with "my tummy hurts, my throat is sore" and I would send her to school saying that if she really didn't feel well she could call home.  I got 2 calls home that week (thankfully right after I finished my morning runs), the calls home coincided with her teacher being away and having a sub.  Her whole personality was different that week, timid, shy, sad, clinging.  She wasn't herself.  I was worried something had happened with her friends, had someone hurt her?  It was really hard to get her to tell me what was wrong.  The second day she called me, I found her in tears in the school office.  I knew at this point she wasn't sick and that some kind of anxiety was at play.  So I took her to her favorite cupcake shop at 9:45 am and tried to coax it out of her.

She said school was different.  That it was hard.  She's used to things coming pretty easily to her, and get's frustrated when things get hard.  She said that her teacher was away a lot.  Her teacher was pregnant and has since left on bed rest.  I think the biggest concern for her was not knowing what to expect when she got to school, would her teacher be there?  She had grown attached to her.  I was able to get a meeting with her teacher that afternoon, so we could talk about how Kay was feeling and help her feel better.  Her teacher is amazing, I adore her, and told Kay that things are harder because she's doing grade 2 work, because she is smart.  Kay said she doesn't feel smart anymore.  Her teacher helped reassure her that she's doing great.  She helped her get excited about the next morning.  Kay left the meeting looking like a weight had been lifted.  But an hour later she was back to anxious and even told me she was having a hard time not thinking about school and being scared.  Her tummy hurt more. I tried my best that evening to help her.  I took her to a boardwalk to walk in nature and relax.  We read the kissing hand that night, I gave her a necklace to wear of mine that would remind her of me at school.  The next morning was horrible though, I had to stand with her, her head buried in my chest. Her friends tried to cheer her up, but it didn't help.  When the bell rang I had to drag her in and hand her off to her teacher, prying her fingers off my coat.  My heart was breaking.  I left the school with my own anxiety beating strong.  I went to the gym and starred at my phone waiting to get a call from the school.  I thought I was off the hook and then got a call as I was picking kasey up from JK.  I went into the school and saw her in the office.  I wanted to take her home but knew that wasn't the right thing to do.  I gave her a pep talk...a big hug and sent her back.  She looked so brave walking back to class.

It was then I though I am so very lucky to be a stay at home mom.  That I was able to be there, when she needed me.  That I can drop her off each morning and pick her up.  That I was able to get her that one morning and take her out for cupcakes.  That I don't have a 'job' in the way of doing that.  I felt really good.  I felt like even though things were tough, I was being MOM and that was really good.  I felt like my mom, 'Marmie' and how she always made me feel better.

Its been 3 weeks of dealing with Kay's anxiety.  Every morning the sore tummy aches start around 6am.  If I am leaving to train a client at 6:30am (I'm home by 7:48am) she's upset and extra anxious.  The anxiety re me leaving to train starts the night before.  I've had to stand in the school yard every morning coaxing her into school. She's made a break away a few times!  Her teacher is on bed rest, the week she left was very hard and sad.  Her new teacher is great and kay loves her but that hasn't eased the morning transitions.  I've taken Kay out on a mommy and daughter evening.  I've been patient.  I've been loving.  I've lost my temper a bit too and told her to suck it up Butter Cup :(  I feel guilty that Kasey is getting the short end of the stick.

Then this morning, Monday morning it all starts 6AM!  My heart starts fluttering. My anxiety is up just thinking about it all.  The morning progresses with more and more whining about not feeling well.  She says she feels like she is going to barf.  My chest feels like its tight and my heart is racing.  This is not good.  I'm making her school lunch when she starts crying and laughing.  SHE POOPED HER PANTS! Yep...she has the runs.  She's sobbing and kind of laughing (in our house poopng your pants if kind of funny).  I'm thinking I can't send her to school what if she craps her pants!?  Is she sick. She had two bday parties the day before.  Has her anxiety gotten so bad it upset her tummy that much? So she stayed home.  It was a very quiet, boring, and whiny day.  (insert SHOOT ME NOW).  It took me till noon hour for my own anxiety to leave and to be replaced with lack of patience and grumps.

 I don't feel like the 'happy nurturing stay at home mom' anymore.  I am tired.  I feel drained.  I'm dreading another morning.

 I'm hoping we figure this out.  That it get's better.  People have told me its not uncommon at this time of year.  I want my happy girl back.

3 more weeks of school.


  1. Hang in there mama! I have no advice but just want you to know that you're dong the right thing. You're giving her support, love and tools to cope and a bit of anger and punishment to remind her that you are not a pushover and she needs to learn not to abuse the situation. A balance between good cop and bad cop is the best we can do. Like you said, there's less than 3 weeks left. This too shall pass and you'll be able to enjoy the summer with both of your beautiful girls :)

    1. Thank-you :) I'm really looking forward to some fun with all our kids this Aug...SAUNDERS AWAY...relaxed well as relaxed as it get's with kids...time :)

  2. Just found your blog through a mutual blogger friend Amy ;)

    Yes at this time of year kids get are tired....even my teenagers (twins) are tired and cranky and they go to bed at 9:30....way before I do!

    Both my sons cried and didn't want to go back to school after their 5rh grade teacher got promoted to another position, therefore leaving right in the middle of the year....really don't understand why they would allow that at this level...anyways they did go back...wasn't pleasant at first but after I decided it was went well and they ended up liking the new teacher too!

    It will get better, hang in there.


    1. Thank-you Manon :) sometimes you just need to hear it will get better.

    2. Journaling, drawing, nature walks in morning to help calm if your schedule allows and even play dough in the morning are great play therapy remedies that can help kids work through some anxiety. It is so hard the whole family, but you are almost there:)

  3. well today is the last day of school praise the universe. you are not alone. my daughter is in grade 2 as well and things got a lot harder the last 3 months, especially with math. of course I did not find that out until her report card yesterday (!!!) but, it affected her self confidence. her teacher also left at the beginning of April on maternity leave. We have lots and lots of separation anxiety issues when there is something that takes more effort at school. Grace told me she doesn't understand why it's so hard for her to understand some concepts when everyone else in the class just does their work and she feels that they are smarter than her. unfortunately it can just take little things to affect sensitive kids sometimes. it's great you are there for her and i have to believe "this too shall pass". finding something she was unexpectedly awesome at (public speaking) really boosted her confidence, and encouraging her to get out and exercise :) also helps. free unstructured play. monkey bars. swinging. they all help to regulate the nervous system. hugs!