About doubt

I’ve spent so much of the last 9 months feeling inadequate and overwhelmed as a mum. What I’m realising is feeling like that doesn’t mean I’m falling apart or failing. It just means I’m human. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about motherhood on the blog despite my fear of becoming a ‘mummy blogger’. Today I wanted to explore something I’ve been thinking a lot about. Doubt. (Yes I’m a poet and gosh-darn do I know it!)

Going along on this journey of motherhood exposes you to a lot of challenges. For me, the biggest challenge is that it’s impossible to feel completely confident as a mum. Confidence for me comes from knowing I can ABSOLUTELY ace something. Anything less than being super bad-ass at something is just not enough. With a baby, life is full of “maybe” and “probably” and “who knows” and “I don’t know” and “there’s no right way to do that” and “just take a stab in the dark”. No one can tell me if I’m doing this thing right. No one can confirm that I’m doing the best I possibly can. I can’t be sure I’ve made good choices or, heaven forbid, the RIGHT choices (whatever they are!). And all of this leads to the ‘D-word’… DOUBT.

How do you live with Doubt? He’s such a horrible companion. Doubt takes your shoe soles and turns them to soap. Doubt fills your mind with booby traps and hides monsters in your cupboards. And the worst thing about Doubt is that he rarely flies solo. He’s super social and constantly invites his friends Fear and Self-loathing to every occasion. Ugh.

I’ve found that mummy life is a big old magnet for Doubt and keeping him out has become my full time job. Only problem?… my full time job SHOULD be to care for myself and my daughter!! 

So much of my time now is spent asking everyone and their dog and their dog’s fleas about how I should be raising my child and caring for myself. I convince myself that if I get the right affirmation or advice, it’ll help me ace this mummy thing i.e. See ya later Doubt! Then, when I get said advice, I still feel the same. I’m trying to take things on board and accept the help people offer but it’s hardly scratching the surface of how I’m feeling

Why am I struggling so much when I’m surrounded by love and support? I’m not sure I have a bullet-proof answer but I’m getting the gist. Here’s where I’m at with this whole thing…

I’m just going to put it out there and say maybe being ‘not ok’ is perfectly ok. Maybe not knowing whether I’m kicking butt as a mum is ok too. Maybe my inner feelings are just that – feelings. Maybe Doubt is just that friend who means well but kinda sucks at being a friend. Maybe confidence is not about being great at stuff. Maybe I can live without confidence. Woah. Did I just type that? Overachieving, perfectionist old me?! Know what? Yeah. Confidence is overrated and I just don’t have time to keep up this dead-end search for the holy confidence grail. For now, I’m trying my best to just ‘be’.

Growing up – looking back and looking forward

In the 30 short years I’ve been on this planet, I’ve gone through so much change within myself and in the world around me. I was talking to a friend recently and she admitted that something I’d said to her in highschool still weighs on her mind sometimes. Now, highschool for us was over a decade ago so that’s a long time to keep a memory. But the awful thing was that she’d remembered it because I’d said something terribly hurtful. When she told me this I was absolutely horrified. I wished I could go back and steal the words from my 14 year old mouth!

I had said something completely ingnorant and judgmental and the worst part was I couldn’t even remember saying it. Bad things tend to stick with you and I was alarmed that I didn’t think anything of it at the time and simply must have filed that moment away under “there’s nothing wrong with that comment”. Now sitting face to face with this lovely human being I was struck by how different I really am now and how thankful I am that I’m no longer that narrow-minded teenager.

It’s not like I was the naughtiest, nastiest girl on the planet but I have come to understand just how changed you really become as you grow and learn more about life and those who share it with you. Looking back can be difficult but I truly believe the pain is worth it if you can see the ways in which your heart and mind have blossomed over the years.

This is all really great and I’m thankful for all the ways in which I’ve become a better person. But the sad reality is that you never seem to arrive when it comes to growing up. Yes your heart and mind burst into a big blousy bloom in super slow mo over the years but that doesn’t mean every petal is untarnished and perfect.

Having this moment of bittersweet (but mostly bitter) reflection with my friend reminded me that I still sport flaws and that will always be the story. I’m sure in another ten years I’ll remember with a grimace something I said or did at this time in my life.

Basically what I’m saying is that I am thankful for growing up but it’s definitely a journey of hills and valleys. I think the main thing is honing your sense of self-awareness. Another big asset is being open to gaining insight. To admit you’ve done something wrong is hard but today I’m thankful that I have enough awareness and insight to see my flaws for what they are and work on becoming a better person because of them.

What are your thoughts?

-Heidi x