When I found out I was going to be a parent I was both excited and terrified. I mean, I knew absolutely nothing about parenting. Like, at all. I’m the youngest in my family and while people were quick to tell me my “instincts” would kick in, I know that's bogus. Learning to parent another human being is all trial and error; a grueling emotional process that has plenty of ups and downs. So trust me when I say it's worth it to look for the signs you're the mom your baby needs. It's easy to drown in a sea of self-doubt when you're a new mom, but if you look close enough you'll realize that you're actually doing an amazing job.
When I was postpartum I experienced this weird mix of overconfidence and lack-of-confidence, and it took a while for those two polar opposites to eventually hit neutral and settle. I’m a worrier, so I worried... a lot. But I would experience daily parenting "wins" that made me feel like I had everything under control. But I can be exceptionally hard on myself, and learning to parent was no different. I also had the guilt of growing up in a society that, well, shames moms for not being utterly perfect.
Eventually I grew comfortable as the parent of another human being, and noticed a few details that made me realize that while I was clueless, I was the only woman on the planet that could parent my son the way he needed. It’s all a learning process, to be sure, but if you're doubting your ability to be the mom your baby needs, just see if you've ever experienced the following. If the answer is a resounding "yes," then trust me: you're off to a great start.
You've Asked Yourself, “How Hard Can It Be?”
Many of us don’t sweat the idea of becoming a parent. Not at first, anyway. After all, human beings have been raising other human beings for thousands up thousands of years. So we brush it off and scroll through our feeds and decide we can totally handle this massive responsibility. We’ll start worrying when we have to.
You're Completely Terrified You'll Screw Up
It’s not long until some panic sets in, my friends. What if I don’t know how to change a diaper? What if my kid accidentally gets their head stuck in a fence? What if my baby suddenly realizes I have no idea what I'm doing?
If you're asking, "What if?" at least 10 times a day, you're doing the whole mom thing correctly.
You're Constantly Reading & Researching
Off to the library (or maybe just Amazon) we go! You’ve gone to school and studied for tests, right? Maybe you just need to study up, take the ole Google for a spin, and before you know it you'll be a parenting expert.
You're Starting To Feel Confident
Remember when you pulled an all-nighter to study for a test you weren't at all prepared for? Then you walked into class the next day, head held high and totally confident you would ace that thing on no sleep? Yeah, if you start walking through postpartum life feeing that same sense of faux confidence, you're probably starting to at least feel prepared for whatever life will throw your way in a 24 hour period.
You're Quick To Share Your New Knowledge With Other Parents
If you've asked “Did you know?” every time you talk about babies with someone else, you're probably so damn excited about this newfound knowledge you want to share it with the world. The problem? Well, this knowledge only helps you parent your baby, and every baby, mother, and family is different.
So if you start coming off as judgmental, maybe check yourself. You're intentions are pure and this is really just a manifestation of your excitement, but how you parent your baby won't always help another mother parent hers.
You're Making Mistakes Rather Regularly
Did you accidentally put the left shoe on your baby’s right foot? Did you order the wrong size onesies? Fit your kid in the wrong size diaper, and now you-know-what is everywhere?
If you answered yes to any of the above, congratulations! You’re not the Perfect Mom, you're just the perfect mom for your little one.
When you realize you bought the wrong formula at the store, or you forgot your child’s doctor appointment, you don't give up. Accidents happen, and you decide it’s OK to forgive yourself immediately and move on. After all, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
You're Constantly Doing The Best You Can
There’s only so much you can do to prepare for parenthood, and only so much you can try to accomplish in order to be the ideal parent (whatever that means). You know it's not hard to be perfect all the time, it's impossible. So if you're constantly giving your baby your all, but quick to cut yourself some slack and take care of you, your little one is in great hands.
It's not about being the best mother in the world, it's just about being the best mom to the baby who looks at you and sees their whole world. And, mom? Yeah, you're doing a kick-ass job.
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