My journey into Motherhood began with a barrage of unsolicited advice and horror stories as soon as the strip turned pink. My online world was overflowing with links to parenting blogs, articles and news stories, some were helpful while others were terrifying. Mommy wars and the vicious judgements we pile on each other were surprising and disheartening. Can you relate to my experience!?
When my first son arrived, I was totally overwhelmed. Not just with the realities of day to day life with a tiny human, but also with the onslaught of information and conflicting opinions that were thrown at me. I was so worried that I was doing it all wrong that I neglected to trust my mama instincts.
After my second boy was born I had a better idea of what I could and couldn’t control. I had zero control over when and where a diaper blowout would occur, mama instincts don’t cover that. But I could take these steps to make sure ‘parenting information overwhelm’ didn’t strike again.
1. Managing Resources
Don’t click on every parenting article that lands in your news feed. Just don’t do it. Some of them are so tempting with their click-bait titles, but they usually cause more anxiety than they’re worth. You’ll start to question yourself and your parenting decisions and that’s not helpful.
Don’t read horrifying news stories. There are some truly disturbing things that happen in the world and you don’t need to know them all, especially if they involve children.
Do rely on trusted friends and relatives for advice, they can be your most valuable resource. They will understand your situation way better than someone online can, and they can share in your experiences. They also have your best interest at heart and are in a position to offer practical help.
Stop comparing yourself to other moms. Their situation is different, their children are different and they likely have struggles you know nothing about. Nobody’s life is perfect, I don’t care what their instagram feed looks like! It’s the highlight reel, not the whole story. Motherhood is hard for everyone, we’re all just doing the very best that we can.
Stop believing you’re alone. You aren’t. The mom sitting next to you at the library is probably wondering how their kid is going to survive the day on a gulp of water and 3 raisins too! Your experiences are unique, yes, but not isolated. Start being honest with other moms. Share your struggles and your joys, you might be doing them a great favour. Connect. You’ll see you’re not alone.
We NEED people. We’re not meant to live so isolated from one another, we need other moms and friends fighting our corner! Start by searching within your existing circle of friends or acquaintances for someone to grow close to. Don’t be afraid to open up to people.
Initiate relationships because motherhood can be powerfully lonely. Don’t wait for people to reach out to you, if all they see is your online highlight reel then they may not realize that you could use a friend to show up with a casserole! Check in with people, send a quick text or message to let someone know you’re thinking of them. Talk to other moms at the library or soccer field or playgroup. It doesn’t always come naturally but we need each other if we’re going to get through this season!
The first child is always the guinea pig. There, I said it. But once you start to get the hang of things, confidence will come. You won’t cringe every time your kid does something weird in public, you’ll shrug it off. Everybody’s kids do weird things!
So surround yourself with the good stuff like friends and positive thoughts. Purge out the sources of overwhelming input and your confidence will grow in spades!
What is something that has helped you grow in confidence in your parenting?