Vows for Jax, and Welcome, James

Oh, Joy! Jaime, another #ppdchat friend (she tweets as @jamesandjax) is visiting us today. Jaime blogs about her journey through ppd and anxiety while balancing work and home.
I’ve been writing and talking about my disarming anxiety process lately (part 1, part 2), and Jaime and I twitted back and forth about it, and voila, now she is here. Got to love the magic of the Internet.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this post. I love getting to know her better, especially finding out more things we have in common (like anxious stomach aches in childhood, and a limited repertoire of play-dough creations), and I love her vows. A big: Yes! Me Too!! to every single one of them.

Passing the mike to Jaime: 

My earliest memories are strange. I was an Army brat, a toddler living in Germany with my mom & dad (and later, my little brother, who was born there). I went to preschool there. I even learned a little bit of the language. I believe my earliest memory is from age 3–being stretched out across the backseat of a blue car as we drove it through the Alps in Switzerland. I think we were on a little getaway with my Aunt & Uncle, visiting from the States. All I remember is laying on my back, looking out the windows, being afraid of the ascent as I bit my thumbnail all the way down.

Another early memory that stands out is compiled from a few occasions that were mostly the same: Now back in the States & no longer a family, my mom supported the 3 of us (her, me, and my little brother) by waitressing. My grandmom, her mom, watched us every day before and after school until dinner. My mom always picked us up around 6:00 pm. And on the days when she was running late, I pretended to be asleep face down on my Nan’s couch. Really, I was hiding and crying. I now recognize this as the dawn of my separation anxiety, with which I still struggle from time to time.

See, my anxiety crept in at such a young age. If someone, especially my mom, was late to pick me up, I assumed the worst–that she was killed in a car accident (typical of children who experience separation anxiety). I don’t know why car accidents were my go-to fear back then. I guess I didn’t know the world as such as a scary place that other, worse things could happen.

I told my mom recently about my anxiety as a child. I wish I hadn’t, because I think it made her feel guilty for being a working mother, as if she had a choice. And now that I am a mother, I know how hard it is to deal with momma guilt! I told her only because I wanted her insight about whether she had known me as an anxious child from the start, or if my memories have been skewed over the years as my anxiety developed, tainting them with anxiety that didn’t actually exist back then.

All I know for sure is, I would give my left arm to avoid passing down my anxiety to my son, Jax, who is 2 years old. With this as my mission, I googled.

And one of the best articles I found was this: Too Tense — 7 Things Parents Can Do to Help an Anxious Child, by Dr. Paul Foxman. I’ve summarized some of his great tips as vows to my son:

  1. I vow, first and foremost, to listen to you when you try to iterate your needs. You may not verbally do this, and that’s ok. I will be sure to listen with my eyes, as well as my ears.
  2. I vow to teach you self-care and positive self-talk. I vow to teach you by example. I’m working so hard to limit my negativity.
  3. I vow to take it easier on myself so that you don’t think perfectionism is the ideal for which to strive. It’s OK to be imperfect. In fact, I want you to know that it’s our flaws that give us our character, and often develop our strength. And that I look forward to your flaws!
  4.  I vow to stop trying to be in control 100% of the time. I’ll settle for 80%. Haha, that’s a joke. I vow to joke more, too. I vow to lighten the mood. I’m too serious around you, my dear. I worry too much. And then I worry about worrying too much.
  5. Nothing feels better to me, especially when I am anxious, than plopping down on the floor with you and a handful of toys. Play-Doh does wonders for nervous energy–all that kneading is like having a colorful, yummy-smelling stress ball at your fingertips, with the added bonus of amazing you with what I can make! (Sorry that I mostly make snowmen. I’ll learn some new tricks soon, I promise.)
  6. Finally, I vow to take all of your future stomach aches seriously, especially any that occur before tests, gym class, and any other thing I used to hate myself as a child.

Those of us who are recovering (or who are still struggling) with a postpartum mood disorder understand the importance of these things for our own healing–relaxing, limiting negative self-talk, practicing self-care, letting go of control sometimes, and allowing our imperfections. We need to remember that they are not only good for our souls, but also good for the littlest souls among us who see and hear everything we do, even when it looks like they’re glued to the tv set or have their nose buried in a book. We are role models for our little ones. We must practice what we preach–be kind to yourself today. The rewards of your efforts are limitless.

– – –

Don’t you just love this?  
Now go over to Jamie’s and read what else she has to say about anxiety in this very helpful post. Tell her I sent you and give her some comment love, especially on Sunday, Cause it’s her birthday! Oh, Jamie, I’m so glad you were born!  

Comment magic:
Talk to Jaime, talk to me, talk to you:
Tell Jaime what parts of her post touched you.
Tell me: what helps you when you are anxious.

Tell you: which of these vows calls to you? What kind of support will actually help you keep it?

As always, oodles of love to all who read.
Whether you comment or not, may the joy be with you.

 

10 Responses to Vows for Jax, and Welcome, James
  1. Yael
    August 19, 2011 | 12:37 pm

    Jaime, this is good stuff! thank you. Gotta love the band…

  2. Jaime
    August 17, 2011 | 2:19 pm

    I want to share a great post I read on pediatric anxiety on Band Back Together. Here’s the link: http://www.bandbacktogether.com/category/children-2/pediatric-anxiety

  3. Yael
    August 16, 2011 | 11:20 pm

    Hey everybody, thank you so much for the visit and the comments. I ADORE this post and these vows, and I’m thrilled that it resonates with so many of you. Toasting for helping our kids and ourselves feel secure.

  4. Jaime
    August 16, 2011 | 9:34 am

    I hope all of you find great methods to keep your kids’ anxiety in check. If you do, I’d love to hear them! :)
    Jaime recently posted..Vows for Jax

  5. Jaime
    August 16, 2011 | 9:33 am

    Hi Janine! I think I’d consider anxiety my worst trait, too. Well, it’s a tie between that and my negativity! Thanks for stopping by & commenting!!

  6. Janine @ Alternative Housewife
    August 16, 2011 | 12:53 am

    Great post! Passing down the anxiety is one of my biggest fears, as it is what I would consider my worst trait. I am OK with my son getting my poor vision and even my bad skin, but the anxiety is such a hard thing to live with, and something I never seem to grow out of. I don’t really remember it from when I was a kid, although I did worry about death a lot, something my husband says he didn’t do, so maybe it wasn’t as normal as I’d thought.
    Janine @ Alternative Housewife recently posted..Home again from Campout 2011!

  7. Jenny
    August 15, 2011 | 12:19 pm

    This is great. I worry about passing along my anxiety to both my girls. My oldest is nearly 4, and she already is showing signs of perfectionism. I am trying to model positive self-talk and keep encouraging her as much as I can. The suggestions and the vows are awesome. I need to put this up somewhere to remind myself.

  8. Toni
    August 15, 2011 | 10:12 am

    Wow. Excellent post. It’s made me look back and realize that I too have been anxious from a very young age. Great tips. I so hope that my little girl does not have to deal with anxiety.

  9. Cristi Comes
    August 15, 2011 | 2:51 am

    This is wonderful. I was also an anxious child and I fear passing it on to my son. He’s already quite anxious at almost 4. So thank you for sharing the book and these suggestions. Keys hope we can help our little ones but more confident people.
    Cristi Comes recently posted..I’m Going BLUE for #SuicidePrevention

  10. Rach (DonutsMama)
    August 14, 2011 | 10:40 pm

    Thank you Jaime for this. I really want to teach Donut not to be anxious as well. I’ll have to check out those tips in further detail. You sound a lot like me about the separation anxiety. I was actually discussing it with my husband today because Donut is going through a lot of that right now.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..Life’s Lessons: The "She’s Still Talking About Sleep??" Edition

Vows for Jax, and Welcome, James

Oh, Joy! Jaime, another #ppdchat friend (she tweets as @jamesandjax) is visiting us today. Jaime blogs about her journey through ppd and anxiety while balancing work and home.
I’ve been writing and talking about my disarming anxiety process lately (part 1, part 2), and Jaime and I twitted back and forth about it, and voila, now she is here. Got to love the magic of the Internet.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this post. I love getting to know her better, especially finding out more things we have in common (like anxious stomach aches in childhood, and a limited repertoire of play-dough creations), and I love her vows. A big: Yes! Me Too!! to every single one of them.

Passing the mike to Jaime: 

My earliest memories are strange. I was an Army brat, a toddler living in Germany with my mom & dad (and later, my little brother, who was born there). I went to preschool there. I even learned a little bit of the language. I believe my earliest memory is from age 3–being stretched out across the backseat of a blue car as we drove it through the Alps in Switzerland. I think we were on a little getaway with my Aunt & Uncle, visiting from the States. All I remember is laying on my back, looking out the windows, being afraid of the ascent as I bit my thumbnail all the way down.

Another early memory that stands out is compiled from a few occasions that were mostly the same: Now back in the States & no longer a family, my mom supported the 3 of us (her, me, and my little brother) by waitressing. My grandmom, her mom, watched us every day before and after school until dinner. My mom always picked us up around 6:00 pm. And on the days when she was running late, I pretended to be asleep face down on my Nan’s couch. Really, I was hiding and crying. I now recognize this as the dawn of my separation anxiety, with which I still struggle from time to time.

See, my anxiety crept in at such a young age. If someone, especially my mom, was late to pick me up, I assumed the worst–that she was killed in a car accident (typical of children who experience separation anxiety). I don’t know why car accidents were my go-to fear back then. I guess I didn’t know the world as such as a scary place that other, worse things could happen.

I told my mom recently about my anxiety as a child. I wish I hadn’t, because I think it made her feel guilty for being a working mother, as if she had a choice. And now that I am a mother, I know how hard it is to deal with momma guilt! I told her only because I wanted her insight about whether she had known me as an anxious child from the start, or if my memories have been skewed over the years as my anxiety developed, tainting them with anxiety that didn’t actually exist back then.

All I know for sure is, I would give my left arm to avoid passing down my anxiety to my son, Jax, who is 2 years old. With this as my mission, I googled.

And one of the best articles I found was this: Too Tense — 7 Things Parents Can Do to Help an Anxious Child, by Dr. Paul Foxman. I’ve summarized some of his great tips as vows to my son:

  1. I vow, first and foremost, to listen to you when you try to iterate your needs. You may not verbally do this, and that’s ok. I will be sure to listen with my eyes, as well as my ears.
  2. I vow to teach you self-care and positive self-talk. I vow to teach you by example. I’m working so hard to limit my negativity.
  3. I vow to take it easier on myself so that you don’t think perfectionism is the ideal for which to strive. It’s OK to be imperfect. In fact, I want you to know that it’s our flaws that give us our character, and often develop our strength. And that I look forward to your flaws!
  4.  I vow to stop trying to be in control 100% of the time. I’ll settle for 80%. Haha, that’s a joke. I vow to joke more, too. I vow to lighten the mood. I’m too serious around you, my dear. I worry too much. And then I worry about worrying too much.
  5. Nothing feels better to me, especially when I am anxious, than plopping down on the floor with you and a handful of toys. Play-Doh does wonders for nervous energy–all that kneading is like having a colorful, yummy-smelling stress ball at your fingertips, with the added bonus of amazing you with what I can make! (Sorry that I mostly make snowmen. I’ll learn some new tricks soon, I promise.)
  6. Finally, I vow to take all of your future stomach aches seriously, especially any that occur before tests, gym class, and any other thing I used to hate myself as a child.

Those of us who are recovering (or who are still struggling) with a postpartum mood disorder understand the importance of these things for our own healing–relaxing, limiting negative self-talk, practicing self-care, letting go of control sometimes, and allowing our imperfections. We need to remember that they are not only good for our souls, but also good for the littlest souls among us who see and hear everything we do, even when it looks like they’re glued to the tv set or have their nose buried in a book. We are role models for our little ones. We must practice what we preach–be kind to yourself today. The rewards of your efforts are limitless.

– – –

Don’t you just love this?  
Now go over to Jamie’s and read what else she has to say about anxiety in this very helpful post. Tell her I sent you and give her some comment love, especially on Sunday, Cause it’s her birthday! Oh, Jamie, I’m so glad you were born!  

Comment magic:
Talk to Jaime, talk to me, talk to you:
Tell Jaime what parts of her post touched you.
Tell me: what helps you when you are anxious.

Tell you: which of these vows calls to you? What kind of support will actually help you keep it?

As always, oodles of love to all who read.
Whether you comment or not, may the joy be with you.

 

10 Responses to Vows for Jax, and Welcome, James
  1. Yael
    August 19, 2011 | 12:37 pm

    Jaime, this is good stuff! thank you. Gotta love the band…

  2. Jaime
    August 17, 2011 | 2:19 pm

    I want to share a great post I read on pediatric anxiety on Band Back Together. Here’s the link: http://www.bandbacktogether.com/category/children-2/pediatric-anxiety

  3. Yael
    August 16, 2011 | 11:20 pm

    Hey everybody, thank you so much for the visit and the comments. I ADORE this post and these vows, and I’m thrilled that it resonates with so many of you. Toasting for helping our kids and ourselves feel secure.

  4. Jaime
    August 16, 2011 | 9:34 am

    I hope all of you find great methods to keep your kids’ anxiety in check. If you do, I’d love to hear them! :)
    Jaime recently posted..Vows for Jax

  5. Jaime
    August 16, 2011 | 9:33 am

    Hi Janine! I think I’d consider anxiety my worst trait, too. Well, it’s a tie between that and my negativity! Thanks for stopping by & commenting!!

  6. Janine @ Alternative Housewife
    August 16, 2011 | 12:53 am

    Great post! Passing down the anxiety is one of my biggest fears, as it is what I would consider my worst trait. I am OK with my son getting my poor vision and even my bad skin, but the anxiety is such a hard thing to live with, and something I never seem to grow out of. I don’t really remember it from when I was a kid, although I did worry about death a lot, something my husband says he didn’t do, so maybe it wasn’t as normal as I’d thought.
    Janine @ Alternative Housewife recently posted..Home again from Campout 2011!

  7. Jenny
    August 15, 2011 | 12:19 pm

    This is great. I worry about passing along my anxiety to both my girls. My oldest is nearly 4, and she already is showing signs of perfectionism. I am trying to model positive self-talk and keep encouraging her as much as I can. The suggestions and the vows are awesome. I need to put this up somewhere to remind myself.

  8. Toni
    August 15, 2011 | 10:12 am

    Wow. Excellent post. It’s made me look back and realize that I too have been anxious from a very young age. Great tips. I so hope that my little girl does not have to deal with anxiety.

  9. Cristi Comes
    August 15, 2011 | 2:51 am

    This is wonderful. I was also an anxious child and I fear passing it on to my son. He’s already quite anxious at almost 4. So thank you for sharing the book and these suggestions. Keys hope we can help our little ones but more confident people.
    Cristi Comes recently posted..I’m Going BLUE for #SuicidePrevention

  10. Rach (DonutsMama)
    August 14, 2011 | 10:40 pm

    Thank you Jaime for this. I really want to teach Donut not to be anxious as well. I’ll have to check out those tips in further detail. You sound a lot like me about the separation anxiety. I was actually discussing it with my husband today because Donut is going through a lot of that right now.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..Life’s Lessons: The "She’s Still Talking About Sleep??" Edition