Being a mom is difficult all on its own, but throw social anxiety into the mix and, sometimes, it's damn near impossible. Between normal worries about everyday things and the unforgiving spectrum of things you worry about when you have anxiety, daily life can be a struggle. As with anything, though, there are certain things every mom with social anxiety just has to overcome. It's not easy, but we have to deal for the sake of our kids (and, honestly, ourselves).
When I was a new mom, I thought I would be perfectly content to stay cloistered in my house with my new baby every single day for the foreseeable future. After that blissful postpartum period was over, I realized how wrong I was. I had to get out of the house. I was going stir crazy and my kid needed to see something other than my face and our ceiling. However, even wandering the aisles at Target made me uncomfortable. My social anxiety was in full-effect and I just knew everyone I passed was secretly judging everything about me; from my shoes to my baby to my diaper bag.
Leaving my house was not an enjoyable experience by any stretch of the imagination, but I soldiered through that first outing. Lo and behold, it got a little easier the next time. And the next time. And the next time. It was and never will be completely effortless, because social anxiety is always there, but I built up a little resistance to it, along with the following situations:
Calling The Pediatrician
Before you even get comfortable being a mom, you're going to have to call the pediatrician. Some people even interview pediatricians before the baby is born (which, for the record, seems super brave to me).
If you thought calling to order pizza was difficult, wait till you have to schedule your kid's first appointment. Still, you have to do it. There's simply no way around it and, eventually, you'll get used to it. I promise.
Talking To Teachers
PTA meetings, orientations, registrations; there are so many moments when you'll have to talk to teachers. Maybe by 12th grade it'll be no big deal, but until then I suggest all the deep breaths. Plus, at least you know you're not the only one stumbling over your words, right?
Meeting Other Moms
This. Is. The. Worst. Meeting other moms is never easy and it makes all new moms nervous, not just us socially anxious moms. I promise, once you find a couple that you feel comfortable with, your whole life changes for the better. It might not be easy, but (in my experience) it's totally worth it.
Asking For Help
Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and ask for help. It sucks. You're going to worry about people wondering why you need help, right? Because if you were a "good mom," you wouldn't need help.
Yeah, that's just your anxiety lying to you. People want to help you, so try not to freak out when asking for the assistance you need and deserve.
Leaving Your Comfort Zone
I love my house and there is literally no where I'd rather be at any given moment in time. When you have kids, though, staying inside your home every hour of every day for all eternity just isn't a realistic option. They need to get out, and so do you.
Going New Places
When you have children, spending a few peaceful moment simply sitting at your favorite coffee shop isn't really an option. You have to branch out, spread your wings, and go find new places that will accommodate your family.
Going somewhere new, with kids and without another adult, is a big step and can be ridiculous social anxiety trigger. Still, not only is it worth it for the kids, you're going to feel like a rockstar when you do it. (Or rather, after you're back home. Then you'll feel like a rockstar.)
Joining A Moms Group
Being alone is hard. Not having mom friends is hard. The most efficient way to beat them both is to find a real life moms group. Not just an online gathering but real people, in the real world, who do real things.
Your kids will have kids to play with and you'll have a little bit of company and support.
New moms, and even not-so-new moms, need reassurance that they're doing it right. Support is crucial and having a place where you can ask questions and get real, honest answers is so important. Asking questions can be daunting; you'll wonder what the person you're asking questions to is thinking of you and why you even have that question in the first place. You'll wonder if that's a normal question to ask. You'll wonder if you only have that question because you're screwing up.
Ask anyway. It won't be as bad as you think, and you might even find the support you're looking for.