I'm Learning to Shake Off My Insecurity and Why You Should Too
In highschool, I remember struggling to feel like I fit in. My face was broken out. I felt overweight. I felt like I had the grace of a chicken with it’s head chopped off (or a decapitated turkey doing flips). I had a few friends. I played volleyball (or I should say I was on the team). I ran track. I graduated in the top ten percent of my class. I was (still am) very awkward. I’m sure everyone who knew/knows me would wholeheartedly agree.
I was so insecure in high school. I kept thinking when I grew up, I’d have it figured out. As moms, we’re supposed to have it figured out. Aren’t we? Although, I still keep looking for an adultier adult only to find out that someone left me in charge. I’m responsible for these cute, small humans. I’m not convinced someone fully thought this through. You’re judged if you vaccinate, if you don’t vaccinate. You’re judge for how your kids are dressed in public (or am I the only one who mentally prepares the “daddy dressed them” speech). You’re judged for how they behave in public. It’s a never ending list. I’m not trying to start a debate. I was recently judged by a medical professional due to the fact I wasn’t breastfeeding my then four month old daughter. I told them I didn’t have the supply, which was true. However, in crept the insecurity; here came the doubts. Should I have tried harder? Should I have attempted to boost my supply instead of quitting at just two weeks? At the end of the day, my daughter is healthy which is the most important thing to me.
When we’re in highschool, we think life will get better when we grow up. We’ll become more confident as adults (or was I the only one convinced this was how it worked?). Especially as a mom, you really think you’ll be confident in yourself and the decisions you make for your children/family. All moms are going to welcome you with open arms. You’ll finally fit in, you would have found your people! Then you realize-it doesn’t work that way. In fact, in some ways, highschool hasn’t ended. Motherhood brings with it it’s own level of awkwardness (crossing your legs when you cough/sneeze; trying to find new mom friends; etc). I remember as a new mother (whose son spent most of his entire first week in the hospital and husband was gone 14 hours a day for work) someone told me I should be ashamed of myself due to the shape my house was in. My son was almost two months old at the time, but there was still an adjustment happening. This loving advice was exactly what I needed to hear as a first time mom, with a newborn, figuring out how parenting worked. Even typing that brought back the hurt and my eyes rolled so hard I don’t know when they’ll return to normal.
I recently started a new job, doing something I’ve never done before. One day, a coworker asked me a question about something I had done. I floundered on my answer (the insecurity came running back). She told me I had to be more confident because I was going to be questioned about my actions (eventually) and I had to be sure of why I did what I did.
The same sentiment applies to motherhood. No matter what we do with our children, someone is going to question our decision (in laws, family, friends, well meaning strangers). Why are/aren’t we taking them to the doctor? How could you let them out wearing that? They’re acting tired, they won’t stop crying maybe if they weren’t held all the time that wouldn’t happen. The list goes on with questions we have to answer/judgements we face (real/imagined; spoken or unspoken).
Why do we tolerate this? Why do we always allow the questions to creep back in? We are moms; we have people counting on us. They are counting on our decisions and for us to be confident in why we are doing what we are doing. Even if others don’t agree or understand. We have already done something amazing and already deal with the most demanding bosses (tiny terrorists, who are incredibly adorable but have hostile negotiation tactics just to turn around and be incredibly sweet).
We have more control over things than we did in highschool. After all, we’re the ones making the decisions. As scary as it may be, we’re the ones in charge. Hopefully we’ve already found our mom clique or, better yet, we’re floaters and have learned to embrace our differences.
As moms we need to embrace our differences. We need to build each other up, instead of tearing each other down which only adds to the insecurity of another mom. We need to help boost each other's confidence, as well as boost our own confidence. Especially understanding how difficult this mom gig can be. One thing all moms should agree on is the fact our kids are watching us every day and are seeing how we treat ourselves and others.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t miss the insecurities brought on by my highschool self. Yes, motherhood has brought its own set of doubts; a new level of awkwardness. It also brings it’s own set of judgements. I’m realizing through all of this though, not all questions are bad. Like the moment we (or the lucky ones) outgrow the teenage awkwardness/insecurities, there’s a new beauty to see and appreciate. Learn to be ok with questions because they make us (as moms, as humans) be more confident. Always remember confidence is beautiful, mama YOU are beautiful.