Social anxiety is a condition you can't truly understand unless you suffer from it. What some people consider to be a nagging nervousness can be absolutely debilitating, and it can be amplified when you're a parent. So believe me when I say there are cruel things people can, and do, do to a mom suffering from social anxiety... and because people don't understand unless they've been through it these cruel things are often done unintentionally.
My social anxiety can show up seemingly out of nowhere and without warning. If I'm in a crowd, if the air feels too thick, or if it's particularly loud, my lungs seize up and everything around me seems to close in. My social anxiety was difficult to manage before I had a child, and now that I'm a mom it's incredibly difficult to overcome. It can happen in the middle of a conversation with another mom, at a school performance, or on a walk through town. And, for the most part, when my anxiety hits people have no idea how to react or how to help.
Thankfully, my kids are old enough and know me well enough to identify the moments when I'm struggling and can give me either a hug or space. I just wish adults — including other parents — were as empathetic and would educate themselves about the signs of social anxiety. Perhaps, if we all were more cognizant of people's mental health and the challenges we all face, moms with anxiety wouldn't have to endure the following cruel things: