Mommy can’t play right now, honey, she has anxiety.

I know you want me to help with your puzzle, but my mind is all fuzzy and distracted and I can’t focus. The sound of the dice knocking loudly against that cup is overwhelming me in a way I can’t quite explain and I’m feeling far too restless to sit on the floor and take turns at Candy Land. You go ahead and play by yourself and maybe I’ll join you in a while.

Mommy’s sorry for losing her temper.

You spilled juice all over the couch after I had just asked you to be careful, and I yelled. Again. I know it was an accident and certainly didn’t call for that kind of reaction, it’s just that sometimes when I’m feeling on edge it only takes the smallest nudge to knock me over.

Mommy is going to go lie down, sweetie.

It’s a beautiful day and I know I said maybe we would go to the park but inside my heart, it’s feeling pretty cloudy. Getting us all ready to go anywhere sounds like an impossible task when all I really want to do is climb into bed and sleep until tomorrow.

Mommy’s heating up some chicken nuggets for dinner. 

Yes, I know we had them for dinner last night, too, but today was long and I’m struggling this week. It was all I could do to hold it together through the day, and so tonight, instead of dirty counters and a sinkful of dishes, chicken nuggets will have to do.

Mommy’s heart is so heavy as she peeks at you sleeping sweetly in your bed, little one.

I hate that at such a young age, you sometimes have to care for me when I should be the one caring for you. You know to shhh your brother when I’m feeling overwhelmed and you encourage me to take deep breaths when you see my mood spiraling. It hurts my heart when I cry and you immediately begin making promises to be a good boy—oh my love, you are the best boy.

I need you to know my tears have nothing to do with you. You’re wonderful and precious and everything I’ve ever dreamed of. Do you know that? Do you feel my love through the darkness?

I worry I’m missing out on the joy in this season of your littleness. I know this time is fleeting and we’ll never have it back. You deserve so much more than the bare minimum but lately, I feel like that’s all I have to give. I pray it’s enough.

Mommy has anxiety, honey.

It must be confusing why I don’t enjoy all of the things I used to and why I don’t smile quite so often. Maybe you wonder why I’m so overwhelmed all of the time.

Everything about anxiety is hard to understand—I pray you never do.

I wish you weren’t along for the bumpy ride as I learn to navigate it but I promise: I WILL GET THROUGH IT. Even if it takes time.

Someday, there will be more good moments than bad. We’ll laugh like we used to and play games and bake cookies and dance across the living room floor. I’ll smile all the way from my lips to my eyes.

You’ll get the best of me again.

But for now, thank you for your patience.
Thank you for standing by me.
Thank you for loving me always.

My heart is yours forever, little one. This life we share? I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not ever.

We’ll get through this tough season together. We’ll step into tomorrow hand-in-hand—but if it’s OK, I might need some extra grace along the way.

I’m so sorry, honey, but mommy has anxiety.

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Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward