Have you made some parenting “mistakes” lately? Maybe you dropped your toddler off at daycare and forgot his diapers. Maybe you didn’t get home on time to release your nanny. Did you forget to change her diaper for a while? Did she trip while you were busy on your smartphone? All these small things can make us feel like we’re incompetent parents. Like we aren’t good enough, while everyone else seems to be kicking ass. The truth is, most moms go through a daily battle not to second-guess every action they take. You’re concerned because these actions hold so much weight than they used to. If something goes wrong these days, it’s not only you who’s affected. It’s also that little tiny face that looks up to you for so many answers, cheese crackers, and car rides. You’re more responsible than you’ve ever been, and in many ways, it’s a blessing, and it keeps you accountable.
And even though science has shown that going over situations in your mind over and over is bad for your health and can quickly snowball into more severe mental health issues, moms can’t help but second-guess their every move. Read on to learn more about why moms second-guess themselves and how you can stop this habit.
Why You’re Second-Guessing Yourself
Mom guilt is pervasive. You will often feel good about the direction you’re heading until someone holds up a “wrong way” sign in front of your face, and then no matter how confident you were, you start to question yourself. But where does it come from? According to Postpartum Health and Harmony, our society’s expectations of motherhood, culture, families, and the internet. Everywhere you turn for solutions, there are varying opinions on the standards for motherhood. And every side feels very strongly about their opinion, ready to defend it, and sometimes even condemn the conflicting viewpoints. It can even feel impossible at times to feel confident about every decision you make for your child.
Should you breastfeed, bottle-feed, or combo-feed? Hire a nanny or take them to daycare? Are you involved enough as a parent, or are you not involved enough? Should you stay at home and raise your child or take a cooking class and leave her with your mom? Get back to work or stay at home? Go on a holiday and leave her with your parents or stay home and watch her yourself? You don’t have to search farther than Google to find so many opinions for all these questions. Even after you’ve agonized over what to do and have finally reached a decision about what’s best, mom doubt may still creep in.
How To Stop
What’s important is to make peace with your decision and stop second-guessing yourself. The good news is that you can always learn new ways to cope. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by mom doubt lately, here are some ideas to help you stop doubting and blaming yourself:
- Accept that every person has an opinion– People will always have advice or criticism to offer. And no matter how much people may point fingers and condemn you for how you parent, no one does it more than you do it to yourself. According to Life Made Full, people will show you support, encourage you, but some will point judgmental fingers. People will flat out tell you that you’re doing wrong by your child, you will regret your choices, you aren’t giving your all to parenting or are overdoing it and spoiling them, and you need to do a better job at being a parent. Go with your gut. If you know that whatever you’re doing is in your best interest and that of your child, then ignore the doubts.
- Acknowledge that you know your child better than anyone– You know what makes your child tick, what makes him hurt, what makes him passionate, joyful, and excited. You’re the only one who knows what shoes you’re walking in when your toddler has wild tantrums, and you know how best to deal with it. So, stop letting someone else who’s criticizing you for not giving him attention get to you.
- Get yourself a tribe– Tiny Beans advises that you get yourself a tribe of motherhood. Even one person who you can reach and vent to is considered a tribe. So, find yourself a small circle of moms who understand what you’re experiencing, and they’ll talk some sense into you every time you’re about to go down the rabbit hole of doubt.
- Be okay with “good-enough” parenting– There’s nothing as the perfect mom. No matter how friends or influencers on social media make it seem like everything is perfect, it isn’t. Stop with the comparison games on social media because people don’t post their most challenging moments. There’s also no perfect child. Let go of the perfection fallacy, and you’ll become a better parent. Just strive to be a good-enough parent instead of perfect.
- Make time for yourself to recharge– Moms understand the value of some alone time because there’s always something baby-involved to be done. Make some time for yourself. You can grab a coffee at Starbucks alone, take a walk, go for that girl’s night out or date night, and enjoy being away from your children. Sources: Life Made Full, Postpartum Health and Harmony, Tiny Beans
Perfect parenting is a myth, it’s illogical and impossible. You’re doing just fine.
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