Momfidence

Gaining confidence as a mom can be tricky.  You start out with this squalling baby that needs you 24/7 and then some.  You’re exhausted.  It’s stressful.  You realize you may have left the house with poop on your clothes.  And you’re hormonal.  None of that is conducive to making you feel like you have it all together or that you’re confident.  While you have maternal instincts to take care of your baby, you don’t always know what she needs every single time she cries.  And you don’t always have the right thing to do that will soothe him.  You realize that you don’t have all the answers — even when you already knew that.

At some point, though, things settle down and you start to build confidence.  After all, not only are you learning about your new baby, but she’s learning about you, too.  I remember when my daughter stopped screaming immediately upon waking.  She learned that we were always going to be on our way to take care of her when she needed us.  These types of things are what started building my momfidence or confidence in my mothering abilities.  I had moments where I realized the baby was happy.  I realized she was well fed.  I realized she was doing all the things babies are supposed to do.  Some of it was by accident.  Some of it was by nature.  But, most of it was because I knew how to take care of her.

These days, we don’t have the same struggles.  They’ve changed.  Fortunately my 2-1/2-year-old sleeps through the night.  And she’s potty trained (save for sleep times), so I don’t leave the house with poop on my clothes any more.  I have some momfidence that I know my child.  She tells me her feelings a lot of the time, but she’s also still a toddler.  So sometimes she’s just whiny and grouchy without being able to tell us why.  And a good portion of the time, I know exactly what’s bothering her.  Maybe she missed morning snack.  Or maybe she is ready for nap.  Or maybe she’s just frustrated that she isn’t calling the shots.  On Monday she even told me that she was frustrated.  As she fussed and whined while we were getting ready to leave she said, “I’m just frustrated.”  I asked why.  “Because Lolly [my mom] isn’t coming back.”  She’d just seen my parents for a few minutes when they stopped by to pick up some things I had for them.  She loves my mom and much rather would have gone with my parents than stay with me.  But, that wasn’t happening.

I had thought I had distracted her.  She’s getting more complex, this kiddo of mine.  She’s growing and changing.  I’m learning to grow and change along with her.  We definitely have growing pains.  There are times I don’t feel like a good mom.  There are times I don’t feel like I have any confidence.  However, I have so much more than in the beginning.  I remember feeling like I could never be a good mom.  I loved my baby girl.  I was doing anything and everything for her, but I felt like it was always wrong.  You know what?  It wasn’t.  It’s maybe different than I’d do it now.  And maybe not.  I was learning to be a mom.  She was learning to exist in the world instead of in my tummy.  We had learning and growing to do.

We have lots more learning and growing to do — a whole lifetime worth.  Just when I get confident in one stage of her life, I find myself smack dab in the middle of new territory.  There are growing pains.  There are times I get short with her because she won’t stop whining (whining is her current theme this past week).  There are times I feel like we’re in a boxing ring as she’s telling me everything we are doing is something she doesn’t want to do even when I know it is.

At the end of the day, though, she’s fed.  She’s happy overall.  She’s smart.  She’s beautiful.  It all comes together, I think.  Am I confident 100 percent of the time?  Heck no!  Am I always giving her my best?  Unfortunately no.  But, am I always trying?  Yeah.  We’re working through everything one phase at a time.  While my goal is to help her build her confidence to make her way successfully through life, she’s helping me build my momfidence that I can take care of her and know what I’m doing (at least sometimes).

The other thing I’ve realized is that we have the responsibility to encourage other moms.  I see moms going through phases I remember and I say hats off!  You’re doing a good job.  You’re making it work.  Many times, you’re doing way better than I did.  And I see moms going through phases just like mine and I say the same things along with, hang in there.  I’m pretty sure we’ll all make it through toddlerhood.

I also see moms in stages I’ve not yet gotten to.  Sometimes I see them do things I can imagine myself doing with my kiddo.  Sometimes I see them doing things I don’t think I’ll ever do with my child.  But, that’s my other lesson and a whole other blog post that I’m so not quick to judge.  Who the heck knows what I’ll do when we get to those stages?!  I say to all these moms the same thing: Hats off!  You’re doing a good job!  You’re making it work!  I hope I survive to the stage you’re at.  I hope I get there in one piece with my sanity in tact.  I hope it’s as good as I think it will be.

I’m pretty sure most of these moms — whether they are behind me, with me or ahead of me in stages — all struggle with momfidence sometimes.  I think it’s part of innate nature as moms to always be questioning if we’re doing right by our children.  Maybe it’s God’s way of keeping us on our toes.

At the same time, I think we need to always be encouraging one another and helping each other build our momfidence.  Look around you today.  Find a mom.  Tell her she’s doing a good job.  Help her build her momfidence!  Give her a high five — whether literally, figuratively or virtually.  You’re doing a good job, mamas!

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