Yes, I’m a real-life Disney fan, thanks for asking…but, for real…a huge part of “learning how to be a parent” has also been “learning how to let it go”, with some help from Disney movies and Anna/Elsa, for sure.
I’m an introverted perfectionist, and it’s not as uncommon as you might think. Often times, individuals like myself (i.e. introverted perfectionists) will feel like what they’ve done is never good enough (no matter how much praise they may or may not receive) and will feel worry that they’re consistently disappointing others.
Now, throw a baby in the mix.
Ha. Ha. Ha. You’re laughing too, right?
The first week, two weeks, heck, even two months, home with Thea felt like a complete blur. I can’t tell you how many times I panicked that I was doing something wrong (even though I had encouragement and support telling me I was doing a good job).
I worried that I wasn’t being a good enough Mom…I was crying ALL of the time. Thea wouldn’t eat right…crying. Thea wouldn’t sleep…crying. Alex breathed the wrong way…crying. Thea was finally sleeping…crying. You see where I’m going? For me, worry and crying went together like peanut butter and jelly. Inseparable.
I also worried that I was letting others down, by not being a good enough Mom. I doubted myself and my abilities SO much that I started to doubt that anyone could possibly think I was a good enough parent. Ya know how people say that new Mom’s automatically have a maternal instinct that “kicks in”? I’m still convinced that mine was broken.
So, you’re probably wondering how I finally got over the fear, the crying, the worry and how I eventually just let it all go. Or, maybe you’re not.
I stopped being so hard on myself. That’s it…
I know, easier said than done…but, hear me out.
I read a lot of new Mom, self-help books. I was able to connect with these strangers over text written in a book. I joined new Mom Facebook groups (be careful…there are a lot of not-so-good ones out there). Most importantly, I reconnected with my new Mom friends, who also had babies in late Fall/early Winter.
I simply stopped worrying that I was doing it all wrong, because who really knows what is the right way? I mean, is there even a right way to parent?
Suddenly, if Thea wouldn’t eat “right”, I’d give her a couple of minutes and try again. If Thea wouldn’t sleep “right”, I’d put her in her crib or pack ‘n play, walk away, and try again. If Alex wouldn’t breathe right…well…I’d just walk away. I let go of the perfectionist and the eagerness to do it all “right”.
Most importantly, I learned that a stressed Mom = stressed baby. Which is still something I remind myself of to this day…almost an entire year later.
Always remember…you’re never alone!