Confession: When it comes to taking my two children out in public without my husband, I’m afraid I’ve lost my mojo. For this only child, there’s just something about being outnumbered that scares the crap out of me. Just the thought of taking them both out to dinner, a private violin lesson, the grocery store, a birthday party or anywhere else without him fills me with anxiety. Will they listen to me? Will they run ahead? Will they cooperate and get into their car seats when it’s time to go? What if one of them has to go to the bathroom right after we sit down with our food? What if someone has a meltdown? What if it’s me? What do people think of me when they ignore me? What if I lose my temper in public? What if they start hitting/kicking/biting each other? Or worse, what if one of them is mean to another child with their body or their words? It all seemed much more doable with only one child. I had that one kid thing down. Situations are so much easier to address when you are able to focus your attention one place. When my attention is split, I feel much more vulnerable.
And so lately I feel like I am avoiding public spaces. We hunker down at home. I tell myself that we are hardly ever here anyway. We need our down time. The girls love playing together here. They get out ALL the toys and create elaborate shows and games. Their imaginations run wild. And then they get tired/hungry/cranky and cry and bite each other and the fun is over. But at least we’re at home and no one can see me lose my cool.
I’ve finally admitted this more recent anxiety trigger to myself. Admitting it is the first step right? Now, I have to overcome it. Luckily, as my anxiety usually goes, the situation is usually much more stressful to envision than it is in actuality. I do realize that most people aren’t judging me nearly as harshly as I am judging myself. And I really do feel that if they are judging me, I really should not care. My girls play great together at home. They are wonderful little girls. There’s no reason to assume they wouldn’t be pleasant in public too. I think I need to start to try to rid myself of the anxiety and go out into the world anticipating the best instead of fearing the worst.