One of the traps that keeps moms from enjoying the motherhood journey more is worry – especially worry that you don’t have what it takes to measure up. Well, let’s ask this question: Who’s holding the measuring stick? We give way too much power to others who will define our effectiveness and worth if we let them.
As I look back, I realize that worry and self-condemnation were royal wastes of time. If I had known then what I know now, I would have been a much happier person for myself and my child. And I wouldn’t have listened so closely to those who made me doubt my ability.
Here’s a few pebbles of experience I’ve gathered along the path of mothering. I’d like to share them with you.
- You’ve made it so far. Before you became a mom, you used your experience, education and talents to make decisions about your life. If your car broke down, you knew what you had to do to get it fixed. When you needed a job, you knew what to do to search for one. And when you didn’t have the answers, you did your research to find them. You will use the same traits —resourcefulness, common sense, and asking for help — when raising your own kids. Will the answers come right away? Not always. The point is that you have more potential and ability as a mom than you give yourself credit for.
- Most of the mishaps we worry about never happen. You probably know about the studies showing the majority of what we worry about never happens. And the rest of it is things we can’t control anyway. This is certainly true as I look back on my days as a new mom. What I’ve learned is that when I worried, it took away my joy. I never met a mom who doesn’t worry about something.
Try replacing worry and fear with faith, prayer and connection with other moms. More time spent doing these things means less times in worry and fear.
- Love Being Human. Okay, so let’s face it, because we’re human, we make mistakes, have lapses of judgement and maybe even space out from time to time. Even the moms who seem to have it all together have moments of slippage! Look, being a mother is on-the- job training. Sure, you can read books about parenting and many are helpful. But the real learning happens between the 6:00 p.m. colic and trying to find your place as a parent on the shifting sands of our children’s adolescence. None of us get it perfectly right the first (or even the fifth) time! And that’s okay. We keep at it and grow wiser and wiser.
- You’re not alone. We’re all afraid of something. But there’s power against fear when we ban together. I felt my most confident as a mom when I was with other moms who were real about their struggles and triumphs. So try to hang out with other moms; at least once a week would be ideal. When you bounce things off of other moms, and they do the same with you, it builds camaraderie, trust and self-confidence.
- What perfection? Breaking news: You will make mistakes as a parent! Cut yourself some slack because every mother does. But you learn from them. You do your best. And don’t condemn yourself or wallow in guilt when you blow it. Instead, remember that you are a mother-in-progress, like the rest of us. You will continue to grow, learn, and be the mother your children need.
Here are a few encouraging resources you might find helpful:
A Confident Heart Devotional: 60 Days to Stop Doubting Yourself by Renee Swope
Treasures for Women Who Hope by Alice Gray