A little while ago, I was chatting to one of my mummy friends about what it means to be a good mum and how I hope one day I would feel like one. It got us chatting about self-doubt and how it’s so easy to feel like you’re the only one struggling at the time. When in fact it’s probably the furthest from the truth.
I’ve touched on this before but becoming a mummy has led me to doubt myself more than at any other time in my life. I guess being a first-time mum brings with it a whole new vulnerability – it’s completely natural for you to have no idea what you’re doing but for some reason you can feel like a failure for being that way.
I think partly it’s because looking around at the other mums they often look like they have it all together and you only notice when your own baby/ child is crying/ playing up.
Plus motherhood leads you to make so many different decisions and each time you have to make one there’s so much room for doubt. I’m a big believer that there’s no right way to “mother”. You have to make decisions that are right for you and your family. And only you (and your partner) are the ones that can make them. But the pressure when you’re making a decision for the most important thing in your life can sometimes feel a little much!
Almost a year later and I’ve started to open up more and more to a few of my closest mummy friends. And it’s clear that we are all in the same boat. Even with my nearly one year old, I still feel like I’m winging it every day. Every stage is new – weaning, teething, crawling, walking etc. – so it’s no wonder I don’t feel like a competent mummy yet. Do you ever get to a point where you feel that way I wonder?!
I look at my own mum and think of how amazing she is and how it all seems to come so naturally. But of course I never saw the early days when perhaps things weren’t as easy as they are now with 2 daughters who have grown up and fled the nest.
What I would say is the fact that EVERYONE has an opinion when you have a baby doesn’t help you to build self-confidence. I have no idea why but for some reason when women are often at their most vulnerable, people think it’s OK to judge and inflict their own (often strong) opinions on you – even strangers! And ironically, more often than not, it’s other women who have been first-time mums themselves once upon a time.
I hope that I never get to a point where I think I know better just because I’ve done it once (or even a few times). Because each person’s experience is different and each baby/ child is different too!
At the start of the year I vowed to believe in myself more. And if I’m being honest I haven’t done so well on that so far. We’ve had a raft of illnesses which seem to have set us back a bit and I’m fully aware that self-confidence isn’t something that happens overnight. But I am determined to work on it and I think the more honest I am about it is a decent starting point.
I once read that if you’re worrying about whether you’re a good mummy or not then the chances are the fact that you’re even worrying about it, means you already are one. I’m going to remind myself of this every time a bit of self-doubt creeps in and I’ll keep you posted as to how I’m getting on!