All my life, I tend to doubt myself more than necessary and that has proven to be more detrimental than I thought it would be when life dealt some particularly difficult hands. When I became a mother, that self-doubt reared its ugly head and has certainly taken a life on its own on more occasions than I care to admit.
Very quickly, it spiralled into an obsession with second-guessing almost every parenting-related thing I laid hands on and this ‘sport’ eroded my confidence as a parent. It took far too many painful lessons for me to learn to doubt appropriately, and truth be told, I reckon it takes good practice to do that.
It is not easy and I am still learning how to trust myself more as a parent, whether as a decision-maker or to filter through suggestions from other sources, but let us begin by telling ourselves that mummy knows best.
Mummy Knows Best…To Do What Is Necessary
I am not saying that we are walking encyclopedias and I am definitely not suggesting that we should get on our high horses and proclaim to be self-assured know-it-alls when it comes to caring for and raising children. In everything, parenting included, there is always room for the unknown, and to acknowledge that it exists is far healthier than pretending that it doesn’t.
There is a good reason for that.
Every child is different and any parent is bound to run into the unlikeliest of situations, you know, those that only happen to you and no one else that you know. As much as we would like a handbook that clearly prescribes the ABCs of raising children, there is no cookie-cutter approach to parenting. Nothing is guaranteed to work for every parent and child, and we have got to wing it at times.
So, yes, it is not true that Mummy knows all but Mummy does know best to do what is necessary.
You spend nine months carrying your child and the next few months rocking him to sleep. You know his quirks, needs, wants, even the exact times that he needs to go on the potty. You instinctively know what makes him comfortable, what upsets him and what calms him down.
Why let anyone tell you otherwise?
Harnessing Your Instinct
Sure, it takes time to hit up a routine and get to know your child, and you may be fumbling in the dark, especially in the early months of parenthood and the curveballs that child development throws at you. But he is your child, there are things about him that only you will know and the maternal instinct is anything but an urban myth.
It is peculiarly tangible in the most intangible ways and it should be taken more seriously.
Harness that instinct, gather the facts and logically put everything in context to arrive at decisions that you know will be made in your child’s best interests.
The next time people tell you that your child is far too energetic to be sleepy when he is bouncing off the walls past his usual bedtime, tell them otherwise because you know that he is overtired. The next time people force food down your child’s throat by guilting him into finishing what is on his plate, tell them that he has had enough because you know that he is full.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you don’t know your child well enough to make certain decisions, especially in the face of finger-wagging, unsolicited advice and pressure from people around you. Instead of taking on the suggestions of all others or just blindly taking your own lead, learn to filter through the remarks and self-doubt, and reach for what is logical and constructive in that mix.
This takes practice.
Most of all, trust that you will arrive at the best – not perfect – decision for your child, regardless of the routes you take to get there.
Don’t let anyone make you believe that you are not the best mum for your child. Because you really do know best.
By Rachel Tan.
Read more of our First-time Mum series in our recommended articles below.
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