Parenting with Social Anxiety

We are officially a Gymboree mommy and baby. We went to open gym yesterday and Punky had more fun. She was able to crawl around and cruise on all the different ramps and mats. She was able to get out of her shell and play. I just let her explore the gym and she one minute I am talking to another mom and the next, I look back and Punky is WALKING.

She just took off. I was so surprised. She didn’t get very far before she fell over, but I cheered for her and told her out great it was and she just smiled and crawled back to where she started.

This struck up a few conversations with some of the other moms in the gym.

This is where things got sticky, in my head. I have a self-diagnosed social anxiety, a quirk really. I haven’t been officially diagnosed, but I know myself well enough to know that when I am in a public situation, with people I don’t know, I start to panic. My heart starts to race and I start to clam up. I do take a small dose of anxiety medication, but really I don’t see a therapist for it. It’s just something that I live with and deal with.

However, in that moment, I had to reason with myself that I had already taken myself out of my house, to go somewhere other than work or Walmart. I went to a social situation and I brought Punky with me. If I was already here, and it was the second time, that I just needed to relax and let Punky have fun. Let myself have fun.

So we started talking. Usually, once I get to know people, I am pretty much alright. I just have to get to that point. I have to get out of my house and I have to make myself not to make excuses or re-schedule the events. When I learned about Gymboree, I made an effort to go because I wanted to allow Punky the opportunity to socialize. So, that’s the first step.

I have paid the fee and set up a commitment for the the next two months to attend 1 class a week. I reason with myself that I can’t waste my money with reschedules and excuses that don’t really exist.

Once we started talking, one of the moms invited me to their mommy group. They have play dates and mommy date nights, nights out. I was flattered that this woman was inviting me, and she seemed nice enough for sure!  The problem is me.

We are not the most conventional of parents. We are parenting without religion, we are parenting without gender roles, we are parenting as a lesbian couple. I don’t know these women well enough to know if they would be alright with these things. I don’t want to be the whispered about mom either. I mean, I am sure these women are nice and in the back of my mind, I know my fears are irrational.

I don’t really have mommy friends outside of work. I think it would be awesome. I want, so badly, to get out of my shell and do this. Not just for Punky, but for myself. I have taken the first step and asked to join the Facebook group. I will try and get to know these women in a Gymboree and Facebook atmosphere.

I don’t know these women and they don’t know me. Maybe once I feel them out in a public setting, I might get around to stepping out and actually meeting them at their houses or in a more intimate setting.

Like everything else, this is something I hope to work on this year. I want to get out and do things. I want to take Punky places, I want her to experience things and I don’t want my anxiety to limit the things she is able to do!

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