Going through life as women, most of us are at least vaguely aware of this nagging voice in the back of our heads, second-guessing our authority and autonomy. It probably stems from the messages society gives to us as women: women should be polite, women should not take charge, women should never ever rock the boat… No matter how empowered we are, no matter how much we pride ourselves in being women that buck the trend, that break that old cycle of being told what is OK for us to feel/think/do/be… along comes motherhood and even the strongest of us falter.
It has no business demanding thatwe ask permission to bethe mothers we want to be.
I’m sure it’s in no small part due to the fact that we are now embarking on the most important role we will ever play in life: being Mom. What we do now, the decisions we make for our children, can have repercussions for generations to come (not to mention on the immediate health and happiness of the people we love the most). The gravity of this role, this job, can be quite terrifying. And with this fear, all of the self-doubt we’ve spent our whole lives pushing out of our heads can come crashing back in with a thunderous roar.
I’ve heard so many beautiful, confident, loving mothers be paralyzed by self-doubt, despite their maternal instincts practically shouting at them.
“Is it OK if I let my baby sleep in my room? She seems to only feel safe if I’m near, but I don’t know if that’s bad?”
“My baby cries and cries. I think he’s hungry, but he ate not that long ago. I want to feed him, but everyone says I should get him on a schedule or I’ll regret it. Is it terrible if I feed him?”
“My mother keeps telling me that my baby is going to get spoiled if I keep holding her all the time. But she’s happy when I hold her. I don’t want to do the wrong thing. What do you think?”
“Everyone is sending their kids to preschool, but I don’t think my kid is ready. Do you think it’s bad if I wait another year?”
I’ve had doubts like these approximately 40,979 times myself.
My wish for all of us is that we can re-harness our confidence and go with our guts, just like we normally do in life. We are smart and capable; the loving stewards of our children. We are connected to them in a way we are to no one else on Earth. Learning to believe in ourselves, specifically as mothers, is a gift we should strive to give to ourselves and to our children. Every time that obnoxious voice starts cropping up, telling us we’re wrong, let’s stomp it back down. It has no business demanding that we ask permission to be the mothers we want to be.