To the Child with the Anxious Mother

I’m sorry.

Im sorry we don’t do play dates. I’m sorry I’m yelling or upset before we even leave the driveway. You see, on top of the rush and hustle of getting you all dressed I’m fighting a battle with my own anxiety. I’m sorry I worry so much about the opinions of the other moms. I’m sorry I let that build up and explode into the car before you’re even all buckled, because deep down I was hoping one if you would feign sickness and I could cancel. I’m sorry I ruin your happiness before we even get there. I’m sorry I more often than not, choose to stay home.

Im sorry you dont have birthday parties. The only thing more powerful than my social anxiety is my financial anxiety, and birthdays are when they collide. I’m sorry I’m terrified to spend money on all the extras in fear I can’t buy you a gift you’ll love. I’m sorry I naturally assume everyone feels the same way I do, therefore no one will show up. I’m terrified you’ll feel disappointed or even hurt if nobody shows. I’m sorry we just buy a gift and cake to enjoy as a family.

I’m sorry I dont participate at your school. I’m sorry I never attended a field trip, class party, or school event with you. I’m sorry I used your younger siblings as an excuse when in reality, I was too scared to. I was afraid I’d do or say something to give your teacher, her aid, or another mom the wrong impression. I was afraid they’d judge you based off that impression of me. When I did attend your end of year ceremony, I realized I had missed the note about dressing you up. There you stood in your well worn uniform amongst all the kids in their Sunday best, and I fought back tears. I was humiliated and my anxiety was bursting at the seams, all for something so small. I’m sorry I’m just not good at this.

I’m sorry we don’t attend church. I met most of my childhood friends at church. Attending a church means acclimating. It means letting strangers become your friends and extended family. I’m sorry that I simply can not do that. I’m sorry I don’t want to let new people into our lives for fear they’ll harshly judge me as your mother. I’m sorry I would teach you our religion here at home rather than be expected to be a participating member of a congregation.

I’m sorry. Please know, I love you. I’m proud of you. I love showing you off. There is a whole world out there and I assure you, I won’t let you miss it. I’ll happily drive you to practice one day, drop you off at a friends, pay for the big school trip. I’ll encourage you and do whatever I can so you have a life of your own outside these four walls, but faking confidence is so incredibly exhausting. I’m sorry I’m happier, more comfortable, and a better functioning mom here at home in yesterday’s sleep clothes. I’m sorry.