Have you ever heard that women’s brains are spaghetti and men’s are waffles? Meaning that women think with everything intertwined, and every emotion connected and wrapped around each other. Men, on the other hand, are known to compartmentalize things. They can leave one emotion with one event, and move on from one thought to the next. Now, I am not saying that all men easily compartmentalize and all women do not. I am just saying that research shows that God designed the female brain and the male brain differently and at times it is quite obvious. Women are more prone to anxiety whereas men often are “anxious for nothing”.
Waffles Vs Spaghetti
For example, every summer when our beloved pool club, which we spend every waking hour at, closes, the moms are devastated. We know that this moment doesn’t just signify the pool closing. It means that school is starting so we won’t have access to our friends and our kids’ friends all day every day. It means early bedtimes, routines, and schedules, less social time, and more homework. And in New Jersey, it means stuck inside in the dead winter while our kids eat us alive. Meanwhile, the men are like, “Get over it. The pool isn’t dying, you will see it again next year.” They compartmentalize it and move on.
Be Anxious For Nothing
I see the differences a lot when I talk to my fellow mom friends. We all often say, “I worry so much more than my husband…”, or “Nothing seems to get to my husband, he is as cool as a cucumber whereas I freak out about everything…” It is obvious to us that as parents, usually the Mom takes on more of the “worrier” role and the Dad is the more “chill” parent.
But we moms take on A LOT. If you are the parent who is at home more to do the day-to-day tasks you know how chaotic your schedule is. Schedules, doctor appointments, sleep training, feeding our kids properly, guiding them to be good people and citizens, training them in faith, BATHING THEM (why is this so hard???), soccer practice, homework, teacher meetings, developmental milestones…etc…its OVERWHELMING. Not to mention our own lives and appointments to tend to, and then consider the moms that WORK FULL-TIME outside of the home and are FULL-TIME MOMS…you get the point. We have a lot on our plates. And of course, this isn’t every situation and I have friends whose husbands help tremendously (shout out to mine who is a tremendous help!), but oftentimes more responsibility falls on one parent. And it tends to be the role of the nurturer or Mom. We are spread very thin…enter WORRY.
Different Brains For A Reason
I would like to think it is not a coincidence, but rather God designed our brains differently for a reason. I believe God designed the women as nurturers who are going to carefully put their children’s concerns first and consider all possible outcomes while protecting and guiding their children. In practice, unfortunately, that protection can look a lot like worrying about every possible outcome. And being anxious for nothing feels like a very distant concept. I also like to think that God made our brains differently so that we can fit together perfectly and balance each other’s needs and desires as a couple.
I was recently talking to a friend who disclosed that she feels that her worrying has escalated. She is searching for her faith but doesn’t know where to begin. I assured her those feelings are pretty standard as a mom, but it’s what we do with them that makes a difference. I recommended Max Lucado‘s book, Anxious For Nothing: Finding Calm In A Chaotic World. He is one of my favorite Christian authors, and that book is one of my favorites of all time.
The entire book is based on Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” His book emphasizes that worry is a part of the human condition. It is not a sin to worry and feel anxiety, but how we act on those worries is where we encounter problems. His book will fill your toolbox with ways to calm your heart and mind with Christ’s love, power, Word, and thankfulness.
Be Anxious For Nothing. NOTHING??
Bottom line: you are not alone if you worry and have anxiety. Especially if you are female. Especially if you are a mom. But you don’t have to let it rule your life…being anxious for nothing is HARD. FOR NOTHING? REALLY. But through Christ and practice, it is possible. And worth it.
(I hear..I am still working on the FOR NOTHING part.)