Confidence is probably the hardest thing for a new mom. You second guess everything. Maybe I should have breastfed for another month. Then she wouldn’t have caught that cold. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone back to work so early. Then he wouldn’t have so many tantrums. Maybe I shouldn’t have co-slept. Then he wouldn’t need me to put him to sleep all the time.
It’s also called Mommy guilt. Mommy guilt drives us to do stupid things. Like buying an expensive toy that kiddo only plays with once because we hope that will somehow compensate for some personal inadequacy. It also makes us feel even less confident as parents.
While we worry, while we doubt ourselves, while we falter, our children are observing us too. They look to us for assurance all the time. They can sense our hesitation. They prey on that moment we waver.
It isn’t easy to parent with confidence. Especially when you’re trying something new for the first time, all the time. I was miserable the first six months because I’d never felt so lost in my life. My world wasn’t just upside down, it was like I had wandered into a world where no one spoke the same language, all my previous skills in life were rendered completely useless, and I knew absolutely nothing. As someone who used to think she knew something about most things (haha), this was earth shattering.
The truth is, there is no perfection in motherhood. Don’t even bother looking for it. If you think you’ve seen it, it’s just a mirage. They’re just doing a very good job of hiding their insecurities. Or they’re using that image of the perfect mom to sell something (I kid you not).
To me, I think parenting with confidence is not about knowing everything. It’s about accepting that you -don’t- know everything. In fact, make that most things. Life is full of unpredictability, at this young age kids change every day, and there’s more things we don’t know than we do know. We just make the best choices based on our circumstances and limited knowledge. And wing it from there. Want me to tell you a secret? Everyone else is doing the same thing.