Pushing Past My Anxiety So My Children Can Play
As soon as the words “Mommy can we stay and play at the playground,” a cold dread hits my chest, and I immediately scan the school grounds for any vaguely familiar moms. This happens to be a common occurrence, since my kids ask me almost every day I pick them up from school.
The best days are the ones that are slightly chilly, misty with rain, or just a little too warm for comfort. Those days I can send my kids off to play and not feel the anxiety of running into another mom from my daughter’s class.
It’s not that I don’t like the moms. I’d actually love to have a friendship with each one of them. I just want to skip right to the friendship. The thought of introducing myself and nervously making small talk while my children play is enough to feign preoccupation with work and hide in my car with the door open next to the playground.
When another mom does spot me, and so graciously makes a little small talk with me, my tongue becomes instantly glued to the roof of my mouth and my mind goes blank. What eventually manages to tumble out is something that resembles a complete sentence!
The result is a whole school year gone by avoiding the opportunity to get to know and become more comfortable with fellow school parents. And, while I’ve been fortunate to have friends help ease me into making school mom friends, the struggle is real!
And yet I press on, pushing myself to say yes when my children are begging me to play on the playground after I’ve said no the three previous days. I scan the playground, bite my lip, say yes, and hope for the best!