When I first became a mom 12 years ago, I noticed something right away. I noticed that everyone started giving me advice. From feeding the baby to getting him to sleep, I heard it all.
“You're breastfeeding, right?”
“You have to introduce a bottle right away.”
“You’ve got to lay him down when he’s asleep and get him used to being without you.”
“Just put him in a sling for naps.”
A lot of other things too.
It was really overwhelming and even though people were trying to be helpful, I realized right away that I would need to remember how to trust myself.
Well-meaning people also told me I should distract him so I could get some things done and that I should get childcare so I could go have some time to myself. When I heard all of this I got that terrible, sinking feeling in my gut that told me something felt off. I didn’t have any desire to distract or leave my baby.
And so out of the exhaustion of being a new mom, and the overwhelm of so many decisions, came something incredible. I remembered how to trust myself. I realized that I was the one who knew the most about my baby. I was the one who was deeply connected to him through nursing, co-sleeping, soothing his cries, and spending all my time with him. And I was the one who was going to decide how to best mother him.
The act of becoming a mother allowed me to tap back into my own wisdom, listen to my intuition and actually remember to trust myself. I say remember, because simply living in a culture where the standard is to look outside of ourselves for answers, validation, and approval often steers us away from our own truths. From the start we are rarely encouraged to trust ourselves and after over 30 years of this I had lost touch with that part of myself.
This is no small matter when mainstream parenting culture encourages us to:
By trusting myself and following my intuition, I do my best to consciously:
Deciding to mother with these principles has felt right to me and that decision came from trusting myself. It’s certainly not what people advised me to do. It’s allowed me to grow as a mom and focus on my relationships with my kids above their behavior. For this I am extremely grateful.
Don’t get me wrong. I make mistakes daily. I learn and grow from parenting most days and I still consult family, friends, experts, and books.
However, with that I am able to decipher what resonates for me instead of just going along with whatever someone tells me. Remembering to trust myself is just one of the many gifts I have recieved from my children.
Where in your parenting are you trusting yourself? How are you allowing your children to trust themselves?