My daughter reached her 6 month milestone this week, and it felt so good to celebrate her life at this stage. To be technical though she has only been around for two thirds of the time she spent in my belly, but the achievement is great nonetheless. My husband, Phill, and I often self audit- mainly brought on by his positive nature; he reminds me of all the milestones, all the tribulations, all the effort and just how far we have come. I look at him and I am in awe of this confident natural father, this take-it-all-in-my-stride guy. Me? I really do not give myself enough credit. I know I don’t because I get taken aback when my friend, Thelma casually mentions that I am good mother, and she does so very often (bless her soul).
See, the issue is not that I neglect my daughter, or feed her badly; no nothing sinister actually. I would say upon close inspection I am pretty good at this motherhood thing. I just wish I gave myself more credit. I wish I could just give myself a break and bask in the glory of my achievements so far. I have been thinking of this and I really want to work on how I perceive myself. When I get overwhelmed my sister often encourages me to compile of issues I am facing and that way breaking down the matter into bite size pieces. So here we go- my list of possible reasons why I suffer from low mom esteem.
Too Busy To Smell The Roses
I just feel like I do not have enough time in the day to do the things I have to do. Therefore taking time to audit my great achievements does not rank high on the list. But the truth is there is always time to stop and smell the roses or the coffee if it is closer. Taking time to breathe and appreciate life and its blessings is important not only for me as a mom, but for anyone that has a busy life.
I am a Rookie so I feel I don’t know better
Becoming a parent is a process and I thought that I would have time to adjust to the idea and that once baby came, I would be there- ready, steady, go! When she finally came, the first night we got home, she had acid reflux and from then on it was a guessing game characterised by fumbling and faking mostly. And because this is all new to me, I have found that I am constantly second guessing my decisions and often feeling unsure of myself and the impact that these actions will have on my daughter. I need to trust myself more and realise that I have a strong maternal instinct and as a mother this guides me and governs all the decisions I make.
I read too many forums on Google
Dr Google has been a source of so much knowledge and “ahaaaaa moments” for me as a parent. My reliance on mommy forums however had to come to an end because on these forums, there is a tendency to dwell on negatives and the worst case scenarios. Reading people’s stories was great during the good times but when I needed answers to serious questions, there were so many different permutations of situations that could be. It also made me question my ways a lot of the times. Recently I have been struggling with the notion of co-sleeping with the baby (I mean it is bad enough that I hate sharing a bed with anyone and I have had to tolerate this amazing perk of marriage); my daughter still feeds frequently I often just let her sleep with us. I have read up on all the risks and all the precautions but the number of groups that I have come across that totally judge and shun co-sleeping, have resulted in me questioning using this method as a coping mechanism. Once again it boils down to focusing on what is best for me and my daughter and not paying too much attention to opinions and peoples’ personal journeys- because this really is just that- personal.
I compare myself
My closest friend and confidante right now is my sister Pam, who has a baby too. This is absolutely amazing and I would never trade it for anything. Her daughter is older and naturally I look up to her (even though she is my little sisterJ). Our methods are somewhat different which is expected given that we are dealing with varying personalities and baby types, that and the fact that we are also unique individuals. Her, and all my friends with babies, often make me wonder if I am doing it right or if I am “spoiling” my daughter in one way or another. I need to realise that I am writing my own story and that even though I am influenced by those around me I need to focus on raising my child my way (our way with hubby;-))
I am dealing with so much that is new
This is new unchartered territory for me. Parenting yes, but also coupled with the marriage thing, and co-living and working; the list goes on. There are many firsts and so I find that I am trying to find myself for the millionth time in my life (after having found myself after adolescence, then in my 20’s, then mid 20’s, late 20’s, when turning 30). In this new chapter of new beginnings I am trying to assert myself in so many realms that when it comes to parenting I think that I need to take control and see that even though the experience is new, I have enough proof that it is working out very well.
I am a working woman, a wife and a mother
Juggling all these roles and upholding my titles is a trick best performed by a circus animal. For me, however it’s a challenge and it boils down to trying to be the best that I can in each sphere. I find that every so often I need to take a step back from all 3 and just retreat and recharge. When I don’t, that is when I feel like I am failing at each role. I have found that taking time to work out at the gym or just hitting the mall or sleeping (alone) really helps me to be with me and my thoughts and work through stuff. I need to do that more and revert to a few more of my old habits that kept me sane back then.
In a nutshell I know what I need to do to cope. I know that I am a great mother. I just need to remember it when things aren’t so great; on those days when I feel so guilty walking out of the house heading to work and leaving my bubba. On those days the house is a mess and I have no energy to cook and I feed my baby pre-packed food. On those days when I am too tired to hang with my friends because I know hanging out means they have fun while I have fun and also work hard taking care of bubba. On those days I have no energy to get out of bed. On those days I have to have a teleconference call for work and feed at the same time. And on those days when I just feel lousy and I wanna cry. I need to remember that it is okay. I may not be Superwoman but I am definitely giving her a run for her money.