“Overcome anxiety by building faith in your ability to overcome uncertainty”
This past weekend we took the boys to the zoo. If I’m being honest I have avoided taking the boys out in public or on family outings because of my anxiety. We all know how difficult it can be taking small kids out. The thought of it would make me panic and sweat. Different scenarios would play out in my head. I could see the boys having epic meltdowns and peoples eyes burning into our souls. I imagine forgetting something really important like the bottles or pacifiers. I fear something happening to Jackson like if we turn away for a second and he gets lost in the crowd. In the past my anxiety has always been something that has affected me but now, it was something that was ultimately affecting my boys.
I knew I needed to make a change for the sake of my kids. I hold so many memories as a child going on fun adventures with my family. Those are the same kinds of experiences and memories I want my children to have. Anxiety tried to steal time from my family but I wasn’t going to let it happen anymore. I told my husband that I wanted to take the boys to the zoo because I knew Jackson would love it. He loves animals and playing outside. The night before we were going to leave I started to panic. Instead of letting the fear takeover I sat down and took a breather. I got out a pen and paper and started making a list. I am the type of person who functions better when things are planned and organized. I wrote down everything that I would need and highlighted the most important items. I would play out different situations, like diaper blow outs, and what I would need in that scenario. I also packed up the boys diaper bag the night before so that I wouldn’t feel rushed the next morning. I have noticed in the past that my anxiety can be triggered if I feel rushed and unorganized.
Another major help was having a support system. My parents and sister met us at the zoo that afternoon. This way we would have a few extra hands! It was also a great chance for my boys to spend time with their grandparents and Auntie since they don’t get to see them that often.
The boys shocked me and did SO well at the zoo. We brought our Caboose Too Ultralight Graphite double stroller by Joovy, which is a game changer by the way, and Beckett just chilled and napped the whole time! Jackson walked most of the time and would hold my hand when I asked him to. Seeing the joy and awe on his face as he watched each animal was the best feeling in the whole world. His sweet little giggles or his attempts at imitating the different animals are moments I’ll hold tight to forever. For a moment I was mad at myself that I let my anxiety hold me back from fun experiences like these in the past. Now, I can’t change the past but I can move forward and continue to better myself. My boys inspire me to be the best version of myself. They pushed me past my comfort zone and our trip to the zoo turned out to be one of the most fun days we have experienced as a family.
Anxiety is hard, really hard. It does not discriminate and can steal the joy from any situation. We need to push through the anxiety. We need to let it know that is doesn’t run the show and it can no longer steal another moment of our happiness. Find a system that works best for you! Most people may think I’m over the top for packing everything and picking out the boys clothes the night before but that’s what works for me! Tell anxiety that it doesn’t control you. Our trip to the zoo was just one victory over my anxiety. And remember that anxiety is not a weakness…it only proves how strong we are when we overcome it. There is something so beautiful and wonderful on the other side of anxiety.