Before I had Maggie I was nervous about having kids. I was nervous that I wouldn’t know what I was doing and that I didn’t have enough knowledge on the subject of “motherhood.” I was afraid that I wouldn’t know how to get out grass stains, know which food groups to feed my child, or think quick enough when there is a diaper explosion in the middle of the supermarket. And guess what…..I had not one single clue about what I was getting into with childbirth!
Here are three things that help me when the doubt and worry start creeping in about my parenting skills:
1. You may not have all the answers….but your kids sure think you do.
Remember when the kids asked “Why?” for everything. I like to call it, “the questioning phase.”
– “Johnny, clean up your toys.” -“Why?”
– “Jayne, can you please eat your green beans?” – “Why?”
– “Hold my hand while we cross the street.” -“UGH! Why?!”
And this is pretty much what you want to say, “Because I said so! Now be quiet and do what I say!” Don’t lie…you know you want to sometimes. Yes, we do have the actual answers to these questions- “If you don’t hold my hand…you could get hit by a car.” But isn’t it amazing that your child is looking at you for knowledge. Your child genuinely…most of the time…wants to know why because he or she knows that you know the answer. You are mom! You know it all. And guess what, they don’t have to know that you don’t really know everything.
2. It takes time and experience.
When William and I were trying to set up the pack n’ play the first time, William and I just stared at each other holding a bunch of metal bars that didn’t match. I was 8 months pregnant. I thought I was going to use this amazingly beautiful pack n’ play every single day (ha- she used it like twice) and we had NO clue how to set the darn thing up. Though no words were spoken….I know we both were thinking, “Okay, this kid is coming home in a month….and we don’t even know how to set up it’s bed….seriously, how are we going to raise this poor child?”
This is no joke….I thought I had to “know” everything before Maggie ever even came home from the hospital. I quickly learned, however, that knowledge comes with experience. I have learned so much from my little one and she doesn’t even realize it. So don’t worry, just learn as you go.
3. Prayer and support
Prayer is going to get you through the times when doubt and worry try to overcome you. Some people like to call it “postpartum,” some people like to call it hormones….whatever it is, we moms have an instinct to worry that we are somehow letting our kids down. I am completely speaking from experience on this one. But I pray a lot, a lot, a lot for my daughter and for William and I to have wisdom and discernment in the way we raise her and I know that God will get us through. He will give us the wisdom and grace we need to be the parents he wants us to be.
It’s also really important to get a support system in family and/or friends that you can talk to or have around to help guide you as a parent. Our families live far away, so we have our church family to help us and I am telling you, I wouldn’t have made it through my first year as a parent without them. My poor friends got so many, “Help! She’s fussy and I think she has gas. What do I do?” calls. They got the phone calls that said, “Ummm…if you don’t come over here and help me with the baby that I SWEAR has colic, I am going to be admitted into an insane asylum.” And guess what, they came no questions asked. Family and friends are so important – you need a support system to walk you through the tough times and be there for the fun times, and the firsts, and the birthdays, and the ER visits. I don’t know what we would do without our church family, seriously. Here are a few pictures of our awesome “Virginia” family:
Don’t let the worry and doubt overcome you. You are doing a good job even when you feel like a failure. You are your child’s whole world and he or she loves you no matter what!
Good luck on this journey we call “parenthood.”