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Mothering With Confidence


When I was in labor with Baby Mo I got a nasty chill. One of the nurses gave me a blanket. She asked why I hadn't rang for the blanket earlier and I mumbled something about not wanting to be an inconvenience.

"You'll learn to speak up," she said curtly and whipped back around the curtain.

Baby Mo is six months old today. As I look back on my first six months as a mommy, this is the lesson that has been the hardest: speaking up.

As a new mom, you are second guessed a lot. I hate it. As much as I appreciate the help, I don't appreciate being second guessed. It makes me question myself and that is something a mother should not be in the habit of doing.

Confidence is an important quality in a mother and it is hard to find in the first months. My husband on the other hand never doubted his ability as a father. Baby Mo came out and a few hours later, he knew that the baby needed a diaper and he knew how to swaddle him. He took those small victories and built upon them and now has an amazing ability to read our son and care for him accordingly. He is Daddy, The Baby Whisperer.

Not me. My instinct may tell me what Baby Mo needs but then I will second guess myself or listen to someone's casual (or sometimes aggressive) suggestions and second guess again until I feel like I've run laps around my own thought process. In the end, it was usually my first instinct that was correct. It is exhausting and I am grateful to be outgrowing it.

Think of the most successful moms you know. No one steps in their path with a pointed finger and says, "Are you sure you should .?" No one would dare. Now think of that shivering woman in labor. You might second guess her, right? She makes it easy.

Some moms don't need this lesson in confidence. My pregnant sister-in-law is a point in case. At Thanksgiving, some family members were giving her suggestions about parenting. She simply said, "We're doing it this way and we're not going to talk about it any longer." She wasn't rude or aggressive. She just wanted to make it clear that her baby's care was not a democracy. I silently high-fived her from across the table for standing up for her decisions so declaratively.

That is how I aim to mother: with love, respect, and confidence.

Meanwhile, my baby's half birthday is a cause to celebrate other victories too. I hit my 6-month goal in breastfeeding (and still going!), I lost all of my baby weight, and I am (mostly) making it happen as a working mom. I can't believe how one little person can change your life so dramatically. I fall in love with this little man more and more every day. He is growing so fast and in many ways, so am I.

Reader Comments (10)

For now... Awesome blog post!! When I have time [ insert full opinion here ] <3

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLukasz Pason

Sometimes society says, "It takes a village to raise a child." In reality, as a parent, you quickly learn that you do make the best decisions for your child. Not everyone else, weed out the opinions. Do your own homework. :-)

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Well said and thanks for saying it. Moms need more moms like you.


January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

I think that confidence is one of the most important things a child can possess and I know you will be an excellent role model for that. Congratulations on standing your ground!

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathalee Ghafouri

Fantastic blog post! I wish I had read your post 15+ years ago when I became a mom. Learning a new skill set without a mother or sister for guidance was one of my toughest challenges in life and I kept doubting my choices. Trust your gut instinct and you will be fine. Thank you for spreading your wisdom!

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Nicander Mohr

Yes, we also learned to ignore the "experts" and do what we felt was best. You have many milestones ahead and many decisions to make, but the right one is always the one that works for you.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I have enjoyed your work on CNET for a long time, but as a father I enjoy this post even more. Very honest and true. When my daughter was an infant/toddler (she's almost 4 now), I got a lot of rude comments from old ladies who didn't think I was caring for her properly, basically whenever I took her somewhere by myself. Drove me nuts.

To doubt is human. Unfortunately, to criticize and judge is also human...

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Rosso

Some people interfere with the "best" of intentions, usually unthinking. It Is usually easy to correct them quietly. If not, you can always tell them to mind thier own business lol.

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul &Judy

Great post. I am a new confused mom of a beautiful one month old girl and this helps a lot! I need to learn to trust myself more instead of the opionions I get / seek from everyone around me!

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHarsha

Right before our first was born my mom gave me some great advice. She said, "A lot of people are going to give you unsolicited parenting advice. Just smile and nod and then go do what your head and your heart tell you is right."

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJason Hiner

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