Parenting Confidence comes with Experience 8



Being a parent is the hardest job I have ever done.  In fact it isnt even a job as you don’t get paid for looking after your own children.  But it is the most rewarding and amazing thing I have ever done, but nothing prepared me for being a Mum.    Nurofen for Children asked me to share with you when I first started feeling confident as a parent.  Well for me that took quite a while and had a lot to do with me stopping comparing my child to books and others and started to concentrate on my parenting milestones.

me and maxi

Research by Nurofen for Children shows that on average, it takes a first time mum an average of six months to feel confident as a parent.  Well let me tell you that my the time Maxi was six months old, he had already been hospitalised twice and nearly died and I was pregnant again with Mini!  I certainly didn’t did not feel confident as a parent.

I think a lot of my insecurity as a parent came from having a child that suffered from colic and a tongue tie.  Maxi did nothing but cry for the first 16 weeks of his life.  I tried rocking him, co-sleeping, baby massage, slings, swings, different milk, ear phones for me, colief, infacol, cuddling him, pushing him around for hours in the pram and a cranial osteopath.  None of which were a magic solution.  The cranial osteopath was a big help, but it wasn’t a total solutions, in fact there was no one solution.  I cried every day for the first 16 weeks of Maxi’s life and then he became unwell and I continued crying.

I entered parenthood under the impression that nothing much in my life would change.  I was a perfectionist that was used to organising everything and it took me six months to realise that Maxi didnt listen to me, he laughed in the face of my organisation.  It was only when I realised that nothing could get any worse that I started to trust my instincts, especially as I knew that Maxi was ill and had taken him to the hospital earlier in the day only to be told that he was just suffering with a cold.

It was then that I started asking for help.  I asked my sister in law and brother if we could tag along with their christening and have a joint christening for my niece and Maxi and they said yes.  I realised that it was futile to compare my wonderful child with the others in my antenatal group and start concentrating on my parenting milestones.

We both managed to get through the day without any tears – Whoop!

I managed to get a full night sleep thanks to MadDad spending the night in with Maxi – Yipee.

I didn’t feel the need to get up at 5am to do the ironing and keep the house spotless – Result.

I trusted by instinct, so that when Maxi became unwell again, I insisted on a hospital visit and he was admitted.

These might not sound like big steps, but for me they were massive.  I stopped worrying that Maxi had never slept through the night (hell, he was 11 months before he slept more than 8 hours), I didn’t feel the need to discuss that we hadn’t had daily tummy time and most of all I stopped looking at the books telling me what my child should be doing at each age,

Parenting Confidence comes with Experience. When do you start to feel as though you were a competent and confident mum

 

Instead I started trusting in myself and listening to the people that mattered to me, such as my Mum, sister in law and my husband.  I started to enjoy each phase, know that it was just a phase and “this too shall pass”.

All of a sudden I became more content.  I stopped wanting to return to work and started to enjoy my time with my baby and was secretly delighted that I had another on the way,  I started to trust myself and have confidence in myself.

maxi and me

It seems that I am not alone 32% of the mothers polled feel more confident as a parent once they have done something before and it also seems that having a mum that you can ask is also really important to new mums with over 23% asking their mum for advice,

When did you feel you were more confident as a mum, was  it when your child reached a certain age or did something happen that made you feel more secure?

Parenting Confidence comes with Experience. When do you start to feel as though you were a competent and confident mum

This post is sponsored by Nurofen for Children, however all words and opinions expressed are my own

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8 thoughts on “Parenting Confidence comes with Experience

  • Cathy

    This is so lovely Jen. I really identify with your experience with Maxi. My first daughter was a very unsettled, unhappy baby. I was sure she had reflux but was dismissed by health visitors and told her relentless crying was ‘normal’ and I wish I’d had the confidence to trust my instincts and seek more help.

    The first six months of her life parenting, for me, was just about trying (and failing) to stop her from crying. This was utterly confidence-shattering as having been reassured my baby was ‘normal’ the problem could, in my opinion, only be me. The worst part for me to deal with was that when she started crying I would of course pick her up (if she wasn’t in my arms already) and try and comfort her but I could not stop her. She cried and cried, she squirmed and wriggled and fought against me, at times she seemed happier when i wasn’t holding her. It seemed to me that ‘every other’ mother just had to pick up their baby and they would instantly stop crying. I was sure there was something wrong with me and something I was doing wrong.

    I had two real lightbulb moments, firstly when my older daughter was eight months old. She wasn’t yet crawling and I was really anxious that she was ‘behind’ and compared her to other babies, friends’ babies, people on Twitter’s babies and so on. I took her to a Gymboree class where the teacher instructed me to tap a stick to encourage her to shuffle/crawl to me. All around me were babies crawling happily towards tapped sticks and my daughter just sat on her backside and tried to eat the stick. At that moment I just thought, this isn’t for me. She will do things when she’s ready and I am done with trying to force or push her. She’s her own person – why am I trying to train her like a puppy?

    After that I got much more confident and better at trusting her to get there in her own time – which she continues to do.

    The second really crucial moment was when I had my second child. She could not have been more different to her sister. She was happy and content from the second I gave birth to her. She rarely, if ever, cried. She just wanted to cuddle and be close to me, gaze at me adoringly, and generally be near me. I had this sudden flash that all children really ARE different. It wasn’t that I was inherently a failure of a mother to my first child and was doing something really wrong that was ‘making’ her unhappy. She was just a more unsettled baby. She was just different.

    My unsettled older daughter grown into a happy, confident and loving preschooler – she’s still noisy, opinionated and highly sensitive, but I am utterly confident in her and in me. And my younger daughter remains a delightful, contented little soul with fierce spirit. I love them both more than anything and the more time I spend with them, connect with them and engage with them the more confident I get in them, and the more confident they get in me.

  • Lori

    This is such a geat post and very supportive for new mothers currently struggling in their own insecurities and angst. When F was born I was suffering from PND which went undiagnosed. I knew something was wrong and didn’t know how to fix it. It was only when friends insisted they help that it gave me the break i needed to ask for thehelp i needed. Well done lovely x

  • Globalmouse

    My oldest cried for the first 3 months too….constantly cried, well it was more screaming. It was so stressful as I looked around at other babies perfectly content being put down etc. I ordered lots of books on how to make your baby happy as I felt it must be something I was doing, or wasn’t doing but looking back I literally couldn’t have done any more. Hard times but it was just a moment in time and things did rapidly get so much better after those initial months.

  • Kara

    I was terrified when I was introduced to my first born – even bathing her filled me with dread but you are right, as soon as the confidence kicks in it all becomes second nature

  • Kate Williams

    Oh Jen I feel for you! I think heath problems are a major issue when it comes to your confidence levels. My eldest was fine and I think I only cried on day three after he was born, my youngest had reflux and colic and I think I cried every day for the first three months! Having said that, one of the biggest things was just realising that sometimes you never work out why your child is upset, which helped me deal with an upset child a lot better the second time round x

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  • Opaski Piccolino

    It is true that experience is crucial when bringip up the child. When we have a first child, we are unsure and have doubts if we do the things right with the child. Baby is so little that sometimes I had impression that I can do harm by coincidence when I hold it incorrectly or so. Second child is much easier to bring up. We can say that second child is brought up by him/herself.

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