In the mid of my very real confidence lies very real insecurity. And while I've always had a healthy dose of self-esteem, a thin layer of self-doubt sometimes makes its way to the surface. Having a child, more than anything, made me the strong and the opinionated person I am today. Maybe that person has always been there, but a little more timid and a little less vocal. While I was still growing as a person prior to having children, there were some things I'm glad I knew about myself before becoming a mom.
Having children can either change you as a person, or it can magnify your already established personality. For me, having a child just solidified who I was as a person. I was not shocked by whom I've become, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I started to like myself. However, because I've had a pretty decent grasp of myself prior to becoming a mom, it was easier to feel confident in my new role as a parent.
You hear it all the time: parenting is tough. And it's even tougher when you realize every child is different and not all parenting advice works for every kid. Even siblings can be so different that they require diverse approaches. And even if you are confident going into parenting, numerous parenting fails will knock you down a few notches. However, for every fail, there are 20 wins and that is what makes parenting less stressful and more rewarding.
I Knew I Had Common Sense
I've always considered myself to be a pretty rational and logical person. That is not to say I don't get emotional and sometimes irrationally upset. But I guess I always prided myself on having basic common sense. And parenting is pretty much mostly common sense, with a bit of help from the so-called village.
I Knew I Could Laugh At Myself
Listen, having kids is no joke, but you have to learn how to laugh at yourself and not take everything super seriously. I love making people laugh, I use my sarcasm like an armor, and I have no problem with laughter at my expense. If I couldn't laugh at myself, I would completely lose my mind every time my sleep deprived self put away a bottle of pumped milk (read: liquid gold) in a kitchen cabinet where I stored the empty bottles instead of the refrigerator, or every time I leaked through my bra, or every time I forgot basic vocabulary.
I Knew I Have Weight Issues
Why is weight always at the surface of all of our insecurities? I know it's not just me, either.. All of my friends, even the super skinny and fit ones, have issues with their weight. For me, weight has been a struggle since college, where I gained the "Freshman 15" and the "Sophomore 35." Since I lost a decent amount of weight prior to getting pregnant, I knew I would struggle with the weight gain of pregnancy. And I did. I hardly took any pictures with my daughter for the first two years of her life, and until I lost the weight again, I didn't like myself.
I Knew I Felt Confident In My Relationship
Kids are tough on a relationship, so you should have a pretty strong bond with your partner in order to be able to survive all parts of having children, including the pregnancy, the labor and delivery, and the immediate postpartum. I knew my husband would be an amazing dad and I knew our relationship was strong enough to handle anything that came at us. That's not to say that our baby didn't test us, because she absolutely did. But we made it through, and a lot more, since then.
I Knew I Would Nurse In Public
The one thing I always knew was that I would nurse in public and I was ready to tell off anyone who had a problem with it. I thought I would use a cover though, because of my own modesty, but once I tried nursing with a cover and realized I hated it, I tossed it and nursed openly wherever I was. Lucky for me, no one ever said anything to me, but I was ready for a battle.
I Knew I'd Have Self-Doubt
No matter how confident you may be, a new baby will probably throw you for a never-ending loop of self doubt. You'll second guess so much because of the massive amount of available information. You'll think you're choosing the best formula for your baby, but they you'll realize that some ingredients aren't great and lose your mind over choosing the "best" one for you baby. The internet has a way of making new moms panic, but as long as you can reign that in rather quickly, you'll be alright.
I Knew I Would Give My Kids More Than I Had No Matter What
Growing up with very little, I knew I would do whatever it takes to give my children a good life. I was confident in my abilities to provide for them and to love them with all of my heart. Sure, when the baby is first born your initial reaction isn't exactly love and affection, but rather survival and protection, but eventually an overwhelming feeling of love takes over and you realized you will do whatever it takes to be the best parent you can be.