I’ve been struggling lately, struggling with my own insecurities and anxieties. No, not with my post-baby body…with how I’m doing as a mom.
I’ve only been doing this for ten months, and it’s been an exhausting, fun, tiring, awesome, eye-opening ten months. Some days are good and some involve me crying into a pillow. And, to be honest, it’s not so much the diaper changes and the crying fits and the lack of naps that get me down. It’s that I feel like I’m not measuring up; to mine and other people’s standards.
What exactly do I mean? I’ll explain.
There are days that I look at Facebook and think, “OMG. She’s such a better mom than me. She can do A, B, C and it’s like she never runs out of energy” or “Why am I having such a hard time with this? I bet my mom never lost her patience like this.”
Then there are other times that I feel like other people are saying those things about me.
Do you ever feel like you have to put a “disclaimer” before you do something with your kid? Like, “I put her in the fenced-in area to play because I don’t want her to get used to somebody holding her all the time. I want her to be able to learn and explore.” Or, “I have my husband feed her dinner because I breastfeed and he has said he feels like he’s missing out on a bonding opportunity.”
I guess there are many times I feel like maybe I’m being judged by others so I have to let them know why I’m doing. And I know people are judging… Because I do it too.
There have been so many times (pre-child) that I would think, “I can’t believe she doesn’t want to stay home with her kid” or “Why do they just let their kids run wild when they go to someone’s house?” or “Can they not hear that their kid is so loud?” and “Why don’t they play more with their kids?”
But then, I had a baby. And I started to realize things. Parents are tired. Even if they don’t work outside of the home, they’re tired.
They’re weighed down by stresses of bills, making sure the house is in order, and a barrage of other worries. They are also thinking the same things, “Am I giving my child enough attention? Is he/she eating properly? How is my kid treating others?”
I didn’t get it until I became a parent. But I also didn’t get the amount of self-criticism that came along with this new role. I’m nervous about what other people are thinking.
Some days I don’t care about what other people think of me. I just think, “Well, they have the right to their opinion.” But other days, I’ll lay in bed unable to sleep because I’m replaying all of the things that I’ve done wrong or the things that I think other people think that I have done wrong:
What are they thinking about me today? Do they think I’m a bad mom?
Do they think I’m a bad wife?
Do they think that I don’t play with her enough?
Do they think I’m a bad mother because I take her to day care?
I know I can’t be the only one that thinks this. I see how my people repin my Anxiety Cat pins on Pinterest.
I feel like all the baby books I read prepared me for taking care of Hermione: when to feed her, when to change her diaper, what to do if she has gas; but none of them prepared me for the insecurities that I would feel and the self-loathing that would follow.
The baby books also didn’t prepare me for postpartum depression, postpartum OCD, or postpartum anxiety. We all have struggles that we’re dealing with and thinking about what other people are thinking about you just makes it even worse! Why can’t we all just support one another and be kind to one another instead of talking about them the minute they walk out the door? And why can’t we look at ourselves and change things about us that maybe we are insecure about and that’s why we’re so harsh with others?
I’m not simple going on a tirade against people, let me make that clear. Trust me, there so many things that I need to work on because I’ve been guilty of every one of these things. This post isn’t about me blaming others and playing the victim by any means. It’s about me putting my thoughts out there, reflecting on my own behaviors, and thinking about ways that I need to change.
I’ve decided the first thing I need to do is watch what I think. If you think a thought enough times, eventually you’re going to say it out loud. From now on, every time a thought pops into my head of, “I can’t believe she is letting her kid get away with that” or “Why won’t he get on to him?” I’m going to replace it with something positive about that person.
What about you? Do you ever feel insecure as a mom? Does it get easier after you have more kids? How do you handle your own insecurities?