How do you know if your toddler has anxiety?

I have mentioned before how scared I always am of passing my anxiety on to my kids. Especially Biggie, who is almost 5. He is my cautious child. The worrier. Smalls is an absolute toddler tornado who has no fear AT ALL I AM NOT JOKING and I thank the universe that they both aren’t like that. Again, I don’t get enough credit for not being a raging alcoholic.

Biggie is notorious for asking “what can I do for you right now?” When we are hustling with the bedtime routine especially. Normal people would think how adorable and sensitive he is, and how helpful. If you’re me, however, you wonder if it’s because he thinks he has to do this to decrease our stress.

Before I got a handle on my anxiety, I would cry all the time. I was a mess. And he would see it. He would come over and hug and kiss me and I loved it, but it also breaks my heart that he had to witness it. All my comments about my body image, how I had food guilt… he heard everything. And still hears it because even though I say it less, I am not perfect.

Or what about every time he hears me say I’m stressed, that I am overwhelmed?

We expect a lot out of him, as a big brother and as a member of our family. We are always on the go and hustling from this place to that. We are always getting on him about not getting buckled when he gets in the car (seriously trying to get your 4 year old to move quickly is the most frustrating thing ever. Try and convince me otherwise. That’s right, you can’t. I rest my case.) I feel like we are always rushing him, and we sometimes have to remind ourselves to ease up and let him just be a toddler.

How many other 4 year olds are the same way? Is it normal for them to be cautious and nervous around new things? Is the fact that his little brother is balls to the wall 24 fucking 7 just due to his age, or is it because he is too little to understand what’s going on? I am thankful I don’t have girls, because I worry I would not be able to give them the body self confidence they need. How can I teach it if I don’t even have it myself? Every time he is nervous to try something new, every time he tries to help out when we are busy, every time I get on him about doing something that might cause him to get hurt, even if it’s a minor thing… I worry. I worry he is this way because of the way I am. I work so hard at being a mom, and being a good one, and that little voice in the back of my mom brain always wonders how much my struggles are affecting him.

I hope that one day he will look back and see how freaking hard his mommy worked to make herself better, to ask for help when she needed it, and to own her mental health and overcome her struggles. I hope it makes him better equipped to handle his own.

Will this keep me from worrying? Pfffft.

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