Being a new mom is like running a marathon with no training. There are simply things you can never know before they happen, no matter how much research you do or how much advice friends and family give you. That marathon can leave a lot of women lacking confidence in their abilities as a new mom. However, rest assured, every single new mom goes through the same thing, and some days you've got to take a few steps to increase your confidence as a new mom.
Much of being a new mom is just trial and error, on repeat, all day long. If you're a results-based person, like I am, all that trial and error just feels like failure after failure to get your kid to eat or sleep or stay calm and seem happy. After a few weeks of being a mom, my confidence was shot. Not because I was doing a bad job, but because I wasn't used to the constant problem solving. It just felt like I wasn't succeeding. I've never been the type to really enjoy the journey more than the destination, but parenthood was certainly a crash course in that theory. When I started to embrace those little "failures" as par for the motherhood course, my confidence increased tremendously.
Of course, there are things you can do to boost your confidence as a new mom today, while you wait for that bigger lesson to take root tomorrow. From taking a slow stroll around the block to unfollowing a few of those seemingly super moms from your Instagram (at least temporarily), the following tips are instant mom-confidence boosters.
This is totally counterintuitive, because the internet rabbit hole isn't exactly the place most people go looking for confidence as a new mom. However, I ask that you hear me out.
I found an odd amount of confidence by landing on those mom forums where everyone is freaking out about some seemingly enormous parenting issue, like the "45 minute intruder" or "When does my child stop teething?" You realize two things from those forums: you are not alone, and you are definitely not the worst or most dire case. As a new mom, I was looking for answers, but what I found was an instant confidence boost.
Instagram and Facebook can be the worst when you're a new mom struggling to find her feet. They're just rife with opportunities to feel like you're not doing the whole parenting thing well enough.
If you're feeling a like your confidence is waning, think about whether a break from social media might help limit those comparisons. Or, maybe just unfollowing a few people for a little while will help you remember that you are doing an amazing job, no matter what another mother may or may not be doing (or appear to be doing).
Big ones, sure, but also the tiny ones. Like making it through another day. Count that as a milestone and celebrate it as a mama success. Every day you get your kid to bed is cause for celebration and a pat on the back.
I'm not even saying shower or put on a whole face of makeup. I'm just saying get dressed into daytime clothes that are not, you know, your pajamas. Pick comfy clothes, but clothes that make you feel like you've already accomplished something for the day.
Eat A Real Meal
When my daughter was tiny, I survived on scrambled eggs and peppermint patties. It was kind of my version of comfort food, but it wasn't nourishing or making me feel like I was getting energy for my exhausted body in the long run.
If you're lucky, you have friends and family around who might have dropped off a few freezer meals. If you're not, get thee to a Trader Joe's and stock up on some of their frozen enchiladas or pad thai. Either way, if you can find some comfort food that required little-to-no work (and is a little healthier than take out) you'll feel like you've got things together.
Take A Stroll
A little movement and a little fresh air, even for 10 minutes a day, makes a massive difference when you're starting to feel overwhelmed by new mom life.
Morning Grocery Store
If you need a quick ego boost as a new mom, go to the grocery store in the morning. Our store is always nearly deserted before noon, but there are always a few morning risers who will inevitably compliment you and your baby. It makes for an excellent start of the day!
Do It Yourself
It's tempting to think that when you have a new baby you should line up help and visitors for those first few weeks so that you don't have to struggle alone. However, if you're feeling like you need a confidence boost, try spending a little time with your baby by yourself. Counterintuitively, the satisfaction you get from doing some of the baby things yourself can really give you a boost.
Trust Your Gut
Likewise, you've got to trust your gut when it comes to your baby. Trusting your gut — and subsequently getting it right — is so impacting for your confidence as a mom. And the more you trust your gut with your baby, the more you'll get to know what she needs for the future.
Ignore Bad Advice
If you're getting advice that just doesn't sit well with you, or feels condescending to you about how you're mothering, just ignore it. Nod and say thank you, then delete it from your memory. Don't let it pile onto your brain and drag down the day.
Take A Break
The fastest way I used to get a confidence boost was to take a break from my baby. I'd walk away for half an hour and go wander around a store to let my brain take a break. When you're in the thick of taking care of a baby, it's easy to get down on yourself and nitpick all your decisions. Getting a change of scenery allows you to gain a little perspective on how you're doing as a mom, and the reality is that you're probably doing a pretty amazing job.