Sixty years ago, Dr. Spock wrote two words that revolutionized parenting: "Trust yourself.” But for moms everywhere, that's certainly easier said than done. Stacy Debroff, founder of Momcentral.com, was invited to appear on “Today” to share some hints to help you boost your mommy confidence. Here are her tips:
How's my mommying?
When it comes to self-esteem as a mom, sometimes the smallest things can throw you. You take it personally if your child throws a wild temper tantrum in the midst of a playgroup or fails to turn in homework and you get a warning call from the teacher. You think to yourself: Is there something I, as a parent, am doing wrong? As moms, we often blame ourselves for shortcomings in our kids, and particularly take personally any criticisms flung our way from other moms.
Self-doubt creeps up on you, leading moms to question their choices about how they mother their kids. It ranges from concrete issues such as deciding to pierce your baby’s ears (and getting critiqued by a couple of horrified playground moms) to larger issues such as working or staying home with your kids.
Already sensitive to our roles as moms, criticism from other mothers becomes especially difficult when it comes to our babies and toddlers. All it takes is a few know-it-all moms piping up with critiques to transform the playground into a battleground!
The stay at home mom vs. the working mom
Welcome to guilt: No matter what you choose to do. For financial, personal and career reasons, moms fall all over the spectrum when it comes to work. And most everyone at some point second-guesses their choices: Whether staying at home and giving up a career, working full-time and missing out on being with your kids or working part-time — which leaves you feeling like both worlds only get half your attention. Ultimately, there is no one right path, but all it takes is a couple of judgmental moms criticizing your choice to leave you feeling badly and questioning your choices.
Where are dads in all this?
Most dads, in an admirable way, seem to have this Teflon coating when it comes to critiques. Just as boys growing up seldom deal with cliques, their response to social critiques usually boils down to, “Oh, well. I can live with that.” With behavioral issues or something like missing homework, their response may be to vent their frustration and anger into figuring out how to fix the problem. A dip in self-confidence tends not to be tied to singular incidents. TIPS FOR KEEPING MOM CONFIDENCE HIGH
1. Decide what you care about most
Whether it's deciding between swimming lessons or joining a stroller jogging group, you need to do what ultimately works for you and your child. Every child is different. My daughter found a toddler tumbling class to be torture — it just wasn't right for her. Meanwhile, all the other moms came over to inquire why I could not get her to participate! Yikes! The class became torture for me, too, and ultimately we opted to go back to the sandbox, where my daughter played away to her heart’s content.2. Forgot the moms who are “too cool for school”
Mothers can often act like teenagers. But parenting isn't junior high. Don't feel pressured to follow the crowd. Stay away from catty women, and from trends like preschool for your 2-year-old when it's not something you want to do. Stick with values you care about. It's OK to feel moments of angst, but get through it and stick with your decisions.3. Educate yourself about your choices for reassurance
If you've made an educated parenting decision, you'll automatically be more confident. Read up on it, research online, talk with more seasoned moms, and try it. Every kid is different, and there is no single right way of doing things as a parent.4. Surround yourself with supportive moms...
Not confidence vampires. Those who criticize have their own problems and usually an underlying lack of confidence themselves. They're just stepping on others to feel better about themselves. Trust your gut — if you feel awful after hanging out with them, don't. 5. Be nonjudgmental yourself
Make sure your reactions to other moms’ choices do not leave them feeling undermined or threatened.6. Be strong and confident in your mom identity
Lastly, as a mom you often have to stand tall inside yourself and listen to your inner voice. It will leave you feeling strong and confident about what you decide works best for you and your family.