Moms: 5 Tricks To Manage Anxiety

Will the bottle be sterilized enough? My child has a high fever, do I fly to the emergency room or do I try to give him an antipyretic first? He was invited to play by a friend, but who knows if I can trust his mother? My little girl is supposed to go on a class trip, but I'm afraid they don't check them out and she gets lost or hurt, I make up an excuse and don't send her?

These and a thousand other anxieties take over more and more mothers nowadays, those of the era of stress, hyper addiction to one or at most two children (this is the average Del Paesena), supermothers who are asked for everything and perfectionists of their role. How to win the hard battle against this disabling discomfort, which makes mothers feel bad, but also conditions the life and the peaceful growth of the children? Here is what Professor Laura Bellodi, psychiatrist in charge of the Anxiety Disorders Center of the San Raffaele Hospital in our city, answered us.

“To begin with, we need to make a premise and a distinction. Anxiety is not always a pathological condition. It becomes such when it generates a drop in the level of performance it accompanies and not an improvement in it. Let's think of a delicate exam that the child has to face, a difficult test to pass, a moment in which a mother is called to give the first care to her sick child: in many situations, so to speak, the anxiety that matures in managing the event acts as a bit of adrenaline and leads the person to govern it in the best possible way, to give maximum commitment.

On the contrary, there are many cases in which anxiety becomes pathological, and this happens when the neurovegetative manifestations that it entails (increased sweating in the hands, tachycardia, acceleration of the heartbeat ...) determine a worsening of the mother's performance. In this case it is necessary to intervene, taking care of the problem of anxiety ".

The most common anxiety experienced by mothers in their role concerns excessive apprehension towards their children. “This phenomenon is more pronounced in new mothers, due to the maternal hormonal imbalance typical of the baby's first months of life. That's when many women experience pathological anxiety about everything: will the floor be clean enough? Will the baby have fed enough? Is the bath water too hot? ”.

“Generalized anxiety, which has no somatic character, but only a cognitive expression (therefore there are no physical manifestations, but only mental) is the one that derives from the obsession with control, that is the intolerance of uncertainty. It is one of the most common phenomena among mothers of children even when they have grown up ". Concrete examples? I don't send him to his friend to play without me because I remember there is a table under the window, he climbs up and flies down from the fourth floor. I don't send him on a class trip because buses are sometimes driven by tired drivers who can get into accidents. I am not enrolling him in the football course because it can hurt, swimming is better ”.

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But all these and other anxieties of mothers do not leave their children unscathed, who suffer the consequences. Which? “Without a doubt, these are all decidedly negative effects for the peaceful growth of children. The mother is the model of the child, if she is apprehensive there are two possibilities: either the child rebels, if he has a particularly strong character, but nine times out of ten the child molds on those same anxieties, which will condition the balanced development of the child. little".

Practical advice on how to cope with maternal anxiety


First of all, the mother must try to understand if she is faced with pathological anxiety states or not. As anticipated before, only in the case of anxiety that creates a discomfort such as to affect performance in the role of mother, you have to run for cover. If it is a question of constructive anxiety, which makes the mother efficient, she can learn to live with it.

For the purposes of this evaluation, the concrete situations experienced by the mother (serious unforeseen, child's health problem, difficult decision to make) can be reviewed with a cold mind, then going to see if the anxiety in those moments had prevented her from achieving an optimal result for the sake of the child or on the contrary had made her an efficient and better mother. Only in the first case it is necessary to face it as a problem and start the battle against anxiety.


Having ascertained that it is a pathological anxiety and to be curbed, before resorting to the intervention of the doctor or psychologist, try personal solutions. How? First of all by starting to do good autogenic training.

Experimenting with breathing techniques helps to distance yourself and gain a more objective view of things. So when you feel that anxiety is taking over, take a break and breathe deeply for a few minutes to calm down. Then resume doing what he had stopped, but with greater serenity.


Thinking back to past cases - sources of anxiety - then went smooth as oil: it can be helpful to mentally retrace the times that there was a decision to be made (do I send him or not I send him on an adventurous trip with friends? ) or a quick fix to a health problem (the baby has fallen, is bleeding, I start disinfecting him or I go haywire and call the doctor while the wound is covered in dirt?) and the less anxious choice prevailed , with encouraging results. Why not insist on that path then?

Read also: my son has anxiety


When personal attempts and efforts to manage anxiety have failed or have been insufficient, then it is time to see the doctor. First of all, your family doctor, who knows the personal history of the mother and will be able to assess what to do better than anyone else. Without a doubt, starting with a basic check-up that highlights any deficits or abnormalities in blood and thyroid values ​​that could be at the origin of the problems. If all the tests have given negative results and the health of the anxious mother proves to be iron, then the family doctor will advise her to consult, as appropriate, a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Never do it alone.


The so-called social anxieties deserve a separate discussion, i.e. those that are experienced when it is difficult to socialize with other mothers, and to make the child socialize with other children, or there are great difficulties in experiencing the separation of the little ones when, for example, they begin going to kindergarten or school, or feeling stuck and unable to interview the teachers.

In these cases, the only winning answer can be desensitization, that is, in practice, rather than avoiding social opportunities, getting involved and facing them or even creating them. A closed mother who cannot bring her child to school friends' parties could organize a snack for some friends at home.

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Updated on 08.01.2022

  • anxious mamma
  • anxiety and children
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