We don’t all have the “mom gene” and feel extremely comfortable with every baby and kid we meet. I definitely don’t, so before Nolan was born I did feel a little nervous about becoming a mother. But the moment we brought that tiny baby into our home, it really hit me that he was mine to care for, protect and raise into a good person. And that’s when I started to realize how many insecurities I had as a first time mother.
First time mom insecurities are extremely normal. Here are just a few:
1) You don’t know what you’re doing.
I’ll never forget day 4 of Nolan’s life. I spent 3 solid hours in the glider in his nursery trying to get him to eat. He still hadn’t really figured out how to latch, and I was terrified that he wasn’t getting enough to eat. I sat there crying, begging him to eat and refusing to get out of that chair until his belly was full. But he simply didn’t know what he was doing and neither did I.
Motherhood isn’t innate. A lot of us don’t know what we’re doing. I certainly didn’t. Actually, I still don’t and Nolan is nearly two and a half. I’m still learning something new about how to parent him every single day — literally.
And you know what? That’s okay!
Nolan eventually became a plump little munchkin, and every other challenge we’ve faced (because when one ends another always begins) has eventually worked itself out too.
2) You’ll make a wrong decision.
Parenting is made up of SO many decisions. And every decision feels like there is a ton riding on it — like that single decision could be the one thing that shapes your child into the person they’ll become.
Breastfeeding or formula? Working mom or stay-at-home mom? Spanking or no spanking? TV or no TV? Paci or no paci? Organic or non-organic?
Soooo many decisions. Coming from someone who finds it exhausting just to pick out something to make for dinner, making just one of these decisions can be completely overwhelming.
But one day I realized something. The person Nolan becomes is going to be a result of the love he is given and the examples he’s provided.
Whether or not I let him watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for 20 minutes while I prepare him a healthy dinner does not matter. What matters is our conversation at the dinner table that we sit and eat at together as a family.
Whether or not I give him a pacifier to help him sleep does not matter. What matters is the fun we have reading stories together before he goes down for the night.
I’m not saying that none of your parenting decisions matter. I’m just saying that it doesn’t do any good to put an immense amount of pressure on them or on yourself. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done, but maintaining this mindset has done wonders for me — and I know that I’m a better mom to Nolan because of it.
3) You’ll lose your friends.
This was one of my biggest fears about becoming a parent. I knew this next step would alter life as we knew it — and that included the amount of time we spent with our friends. Plus we were the first of our “circle” to become parents, which meant there was also a possibility that it would become difficult to relate to our friends who’d be living a completely different lifestyle from us.
I will say this: it is not easy. You can’t make plans on the fly. You can’t stay out until 2 a.m. You may not always relate to their experiences.
BUT your best friends are just that, your best friends. They are the ones that will stick by your side, regardless of the fact that you can’t always do the things you used to do. The good ones will make an effort to see you — whether that’s a simple dinner out at a kid-friendly restaurant or stopping by your house for a drink.
That effort has to go both ways, though. Realistically, it may even take more effort on your part because you’re the only one that know when you’re actually available.
It’s not easy, but maintaining your friendships can 100% be done. Two and a half years after Nolan arrived, I can confidently say that we haven’t lost a single friend. Of course, we don’t see some of our friends as much as we used to. But when we do, we always pick up right where we left off, and that’s because we’ve all made an effort to keep it that way.
4) Your kid will cry or misbehave in public.
I was SO anxious about taking Nolan out in public for the first time. Why? Because I had no idea what I’d do if he started crying. I specifically remember our first outing. Nolan was two weeks old and we went to Target, just the two of us. He slept like an angel the whole time and I was very proud to have survived our first trip out together.
He’s not always an angel in public, though. We’ve had to remove him from restaurants, drag him across the floor in Toys R Us, and even walk away from him as he was rolling around the ground crying in an aisle of Target.
What I didn’t know before becoming a parent is that other parents find these tantrums to be hilarious. Instead of looking irritated at my ill-behaved child, they chuckle and give me a supportive glance for holding my ground. Some even make comments like, “we’ve all been there,” and “I remember those days,” and even “you’re doing great.”
So while it can be very nerve-racking to think of how to calm your kid in the midst of a public meltdown, and I probably wouldn’t take them to any 5-star restaurants, try to remember that you are not alone and most people will be extremely understanding of your situation.
5) Your kid won’t “stack up” to his or her peers.
While the first four insecurities have gone away, this one is stronger than ever for me now that Nolan is a toddler.
Something I didn’t realize until becoming a parent is how competitive we naturally are with our kids. It’s really quite odd, but seems to be the norm. We want to know how our child compares to other children their age — with their behaviors, skills, etc.
It’s partly out of concern — because obviously we want to make sure our kids are keeping up with what’s “normal” for their age. But, if we’re being 100% honest with ourselves, I think it’s also slightly out of competition. Not necessarily because we need our child to be the best, but because their performance somehow feels like it reflects how we’re doing as parents.
I try to remember that I know I’m a good mom, whether Nolan pees in the toilet or not. And I’m sure, like the others, this point of insecurity will fade with time and experience. But I’m still a first time mom and I’m still learning. That’s all any of us can really do. 🙂
Select photos by justphotos.biz.