Sometimes it’s hard to trust that you’re good enough to be a parent.
It’s such an important job. But it’s a job that is all to often undervalued in a society where our worth is judged by how much money we make and how much stuff we own. With parenting, there’s very little monetary gain. In fact, you pretty much lose money on this deal from the moment your baby is conceived. And it doesn’t take long to realize that you don’t “own” this little person. Your job is to work really hard so that someday when they’re all grown up, they’ll leave you.
It’s hard to trust you’re doing such important work when, at least initially, it doesn’t feel like you’re very good at it.
Those early days are so fraught with anxiety mostly because you have to figure out how to feed your baby. You have the equipment and they have the instinct. Why is it so damn hard to put those two things together? It’s hard to trust that breastfeeding will ever get easier.
It’s hard to trust that you won’t drop your baby while you’re giving them a bath. They’re so slippery when they’re wet!
It’s hard to trust that you’ll ever know how many layers they should be wearing – are they too cold, are they too hot?
And cutting their teensy little fingernails for the first time? They haven’t made a nail cutter small enough for you to trust that you won’t cut one of their fingers off in the process.
So much of parenting is being able to trust that if you can’t figure things out on your own, you’ll be able to find the right people to help you figure it all out. The people you choose to trust during this time are so important.
I sometimes imagine that circle of support and trust like a spirograph picture. You and your partner are positioned in the center and your trusted family and friends are the different colored lines that make contact with you, spiral away, then come back around to check in with you again.
These people help you adjust your expectations to match your reality. They’re encouraging, but tell you the truth. They never offer advice – unless you ask for it first. You can be real with them. You can share your good, your bad, and your ugly parenting. You trust they have your back as new parents, no matter what.
As you begin to trust in that circle of support, you might find it easier to begin to trust each other, and then finally yourself.
Make sure to tell each other, and often, that there is great value in this work. Encourage and support each other in your new role as parent.
And trust me when I tell you this – parenting is definitely the most important work you will ever do.
How have you created your circle of trusted friends and family to support you in your transition to parenthood? How is your level of trust in your partner? In yourself? Do you agree with my statement: “Parenting is the most important work you will ever do?”