Have you ever whispered to yourself, “I never thought I would be that parent” when facing certain situations? In the last couple of weeks, I’ve caught myself saying this, especially when my husband set up the play tent we acquired for our ten-month-old. Our ‘never spoil’ mission being thrown out the window almost immediately.

What caught me off guard was going back to work. For months I’ve been battling the notion that I will not be my daughters sole caretaker anymore, and it’s been daunting. I’ve weighed the pros and cons numerous times, going back to work ticked off boxes in all categories, so why do I feel guilty?

Due to COVID-19, my entire team is working from home with no real date as to when we will be physically back in the office. Since I am home, I have taken over the dual office I share with my husband and am revamping my station to support my workload’s technical aspects.
My husband, who’s been off work for months now, has taken full reign over our Daughters schedule with her grandmother taking her twice a week.

My first day back, my daughter wasn’t here, and I wasn’t able to login to anything, it almost felt like a ‘day off’ from everything. I didn’t feel bad or guilty; I thought I had it under control. It was only the second day when both my husband and daughter were downstairs, and I heard her giggle that the waterworks showed up. I am glad I didn’t have a virtual meeting for others to see how much I missed my daughter.

She’s right downstairs though, how can you miss her?!

There is so much that I miss.
I miss being the first person that she sees whenever she wakes up.
I miss talking to her about our day and what I had planned.
I miss our daily walks.
I miss teaching her how to climb stairs, cruise and/or walk.
I miss being the one making her giggle like an idiot.

I went from undivided attention to a working mom, thinking my daughter would have an issue with it, but it’s only me. I never thought that I would miss every aspect of being a stay-at-home parent, but I do (ok, not ALL aspects, I can do without the constant cleaning!)

My anxiety has been flaring up on top of this new adjustment, and I am overthinking the moments and milestones that I will miss. I’ve already missed her initial crawling, and it seems like any day now she’ll start cruising between our furniture without our help. I know that it’s impossible to be there for everything, and it seems silly to get upset over things that haven’t happened yet. What can I say? Having anxiety is a full-time gig, and I am the CEO.

Now that we’re adjusting to our new normal, I know that I can do a better job of managing my anxiety. First and foremost, I need to maintain a balanced lifestyle. We’re all currently working on this as a family, but I know I need a better diet & exercise. With the 1 pound I lost this week, it’s motivation to continue with the crap I’ve cut out while figuring out how to get moving.

It might take some time to adjust to not being with my daughter constantly, but I know she is in good hands with her Dad/Grandmother, and I’m thankful for that.

With Halloween parties almost at an end, the dreaded holiday anxiety is right around the corner. Busy schedules are bombarded with travelling, decorating, cooking, wrapping, and parties. It’s easy to get overwhelmed during this time of year and attending an office party in most cases doesn’t alleviate the stress.

Work parties can feel different for others, instead of excitement you feel stuck out of obligation. The social expectations that you should feel joy clouds with over-thinking:

Who would want to talk to me anyway?
Will there be enough seating for everyone?
Should I eat beforehand, so I don’t look like a goblin?
Will they judge me for having more than one drink?
Where do I put my hands?

One of the ways that I combat work party anxiety is by making a plan ahead of time. Being in control of any situation will decrease your anxiety. There are several ways in how you can prepare:

  1. Set a Goal for yourself
    Take the pressure off your expectations and give yourself a timeline. If you’re not comfortable with forcing yourself through a full night then why do it? Give yourself an allotted time frame, and check in with yourself to see how you’re doing. You can then base your decision off of that. No one will judge you for bowing out early
  2. Find your exits
    If your office party is at a different venue, I recommend scoping out the area to gain familiarity. I always need to know where my exits are, in case I need to go outside for a quick breath. Don’t be afraid to take breaks when you need them, too. Realigning yourself after any symptom of anxiety is always better with fresh air.
  3. Confide in someone
    If you’re lucky, you can bring a plus-one with you but what happens when you don’t have that safe person? If you’re on friendly terms with anyone at work, it’s best to let them know that you find these parties challenging. This way, they’ll be able to check in on you and keep an eye out for any symptoms that you may experience. Just knowing that there is someone there for you can be a lifesaver
  4. Prepare Questions
    In my experience, I know people love talking about themselves. I try to bring up specific personal questions to avoid the common workplace talk: Where they’re from, pets/children, vacation, bubble gum preference, etc. Asking questions is a great way to take the spotlight off of you and find out interesting things about your co-workers you wouldn’t generally know.
  5. Go
    Some people with anxiety would think its best to stay home and avoid the office party altogether. This is probably the worst thing that you can do – it’s important to acknowledge and understand your anxiety but avoiding situations will only cripple you. Even if your anxiety does make an appearance, at least you’ll be prepared and in control. Know that It’s best to push through your comfort zones so you can grow as a person.

I wish everyone luck in the forthcoming hustle & bustle!