6/15/11

A New Kind of Insecurity

I've had several jobs in my life, some were good and some were bad. Some didn't last long and some felt like they would never end.

And now I find myself in a new job. It's by far the dirtiest job I've ever had, no other job in my life has required my getting pooped on and then not showering for at least 24 hours after that.
And it is the most exhausting as I find myself still "working" at 4:00 in the morning when my boss needs to eat or needs a diaper change or perhaps just needs his pacifier put back in his mouth.

But I've encountered something in this job that I've never dealt with before in any other job.

Intense insecurity.

From the moment my sweet Eli was born it has been amazing the amount of insecurity I have felt.

I'm telling you, satan really knows what he is doing with a mom's mind these days.

I find myself constantly sizing myself up to other moms. Am I doing what they are doing? Do I pay attention to my baby as much as they do? Do I work with my baby as much as they do?

And now that I've gone back to work the mind games have gotten worse.

I feel guilty that I enjoy working. In fact there may have been some tears shed about the fact that I actually enjoy working.

I do not like leaving my baby, and I do not like being away from him, however I do enjoy getting out and doing something that I love. I enjoy interacting with other adults and getting some sort of satisfaction out of completing a task at work.

And yet I find myself constantly wondering what other people think and if they are thinking that I'm a bad mom because I choose to work part-time?

Many times at night I will ask Luke "do you think I'm a bad mom"? It's not that I'm asking this question because I think he will say "why yes I was just thinking that" or to get some sort of pity answer such as, "no you are the BEST MOM EVER".

In fact, I don't even know why I ask it, I know that Luke thinks I'm a good mom, he tells me all the time, but still that question is ALWAYS at the forefront of my mind.

Am I a good mom?

Will I raise my son right?

What if he walks or talks or crawls late? Is that my fault?

Do I spend enough time interacting with him?

Is it bad if sometimes he sits and rocks in his swing?

Is it bad if I watch TV while Eli is awake?

And the questions go on and on and on.

And beyond the questions I constantly feel thoughts entering my mind, telling me that I'm not a good mom, that I should be doing more.

Of course, as a girl I've had insecurity throughout my life. But this is different. I can handle insecurity about my clothes or weight, or hair, or even my feet (my feet are U-G-L-Y) but handling insecurity when it comes to my child and the way I'm raising him? That is a whole new ballgame!

So for now I will daily battle the thoughts and know that I'm doing the best I can in my new job.

It's not always easy, and sometimes the thoughts win and other times I win.

And I hope as the days and years go on that I will win more than the thoughts will win. I don't expect the insecurity to go away but I hope and plan to become more secure in my new job.

And even though I've never been this insecure or felt this vulnerable, it is by far the best job I've ever had with the cutest boss ever!

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen. Sing it Sister. -Mom of two boys (2 and 6 months.

Megan said...

I've never commented before but I just had to because I can so relate! (What mom can't?!)

And also to tell you that I just started reading "Give Them Grace" which is supposed to be about how to parent your kids with "grace parenting" but I am finding that I am learning so much more for myself and the pressures I put on myself as a parent. So far I absolutely love this book and it's gospel centered approach to parenting (for the child AND the mom!)

Alex and Jill said...

So here's what I do. I watch other Moms and how they interact with their babies/children. I always have. So I watched you with Eli at the S&S. You were totally relaxed and he was too. He is one of the most laid back babies I've ever seen...which to me shows how awesome of a job you're doing. I never did anything with Amelia until my Mom would say, "you should probably start doing tummy time so she can hold her head up and eventually roll over." And I was like, "ok." You are a great Mom. There was no doubt of that while watching you with him.

Charissa Steyn said...

Wow...being a mom sounds like quite the new adventure! But the fact you are even asking the questions means you are doing an amazing job!!!

Kirsten said...

It sounds like you are doing an amazing job--thanks for your transparency! :) I own my own business and, as my husband and I are starting to think about having kids, everyone always asks if I'm going to sell my business. I feel guilty because I love what I do so much that I don't want to quit. Doesn't make me a potential bad mother...just different. Same with you! :)

Classy Fab Sarah said...

Girl, you are an amazing mom. Showing Eli that his mom can be a great mom and go to work and help support her family... that's a pretty awesome role model, if you ask me!

Danielle said...

As a new mom myself, I think this is a feeling that a lot of new moms go through. I have more books than I can count telling me what my baby should be doing and when and if he isn't doing that I wonder if its something I am doing wrong. But at the end of the day I realize that my baby is just doing what is right for him now. We have friends that have twins, one started walking at nine months and the other didn't start until 13 months. They were both parented the same way, they are just different little kids. I think at this point you can strive for a happy baby and if you have that then you must be doing something right!

Stolen by Mullen said...

I feel giulty for working, but I don't feel guilty that addy will never want or need for anything. She will have her college paid for and be able to enjoy things because I sacrifice to work. Yes, I could stay home, but I love my job, have a good one, and would miss out on many opportunities if i stayed home for 5 years until she went to school. It is a never ending battle, because I want to be great at all things I do, being a mother, a wife, and having a successful career. However, guilt creeps in that i should stay home with her way too often. It is normal to feel this way! Don't sweat the small stuff or sell yourself short, Eli will turn out happy and healthy and that is all that matters!

Lucky in Love said...

I definitely know how you feel. As a first time mom of a 5 month old, there are days when I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. But some days I do. And when she was born...there were 0 days I knew what I was doing. It's a learning process. And I have come to fully believe that you know what is best for your child. That mother's intuition has already become key for me when I start comparing Natalie to other kiddos. In the end, she is loved and developing just fine. And so is Eli.

Ashley said...

I totally relate to this. I didn't have a choice of whether or not to go back to work, but I felt so guilty that I was actually a little relieved when I got back into the swing of things. And I definitely have that same interaction-type guilt. Am I engaging him in play enough, is he eating healthy foods, etc. It does get better as they get older, but now that he is one, and he is not saying ANY words, I find myself going back to the insecurity that somehow it's my fault that he hasn't said even dada yet. It's definitely hard, but I think that talking about it with other moms helps you know that it's not just you and totally normal!

Carrie said...

I imagine you'll get a 1000 comments at least and I'm sure they'll only make you feel marginally better at best BUT don't worry. I"m sure you're doing a great job. All Eli needs is love and everything else will work out. And you'll be a better Mom for working and having a chance to unwind. You won't stress as much and appreciate your time with him more. :)

Lauren said...

I'm so thankful for your posts. They are so honest & encouraging for the period of life that Hubby & I are getting ready to dive right into. I know that insecurity will rear it's ugly head...and it's so nice to know that others have & will be dealing with it as well!

Megan said...

Your post hit close to home today! I really enjoy working and I know with 100% certainty that I would not be a good stay at Mom. I think my job makes me a better Mom because I cherish the weekends so much more and we make every moment count.

Brae has always been the kind of baby that hit every milestone in her own time and I have realized "her time" is the right time. She crawled like a champ but decided to be extra careful and not walk until she was 16 months old. She hardly talked until she was two then her vocabulary exploded. Was this the norm? Not to some moms and babies, but to her it was and continues to be.

Try not to be so hard on yourself. I know it is hard when all your friends are stay at home moms, but you know what is best for you and your family. Stand firm in that and you will be a great Mom!!

Candace said...

i think that along with the great amount of joy we get from getting to raise our child, comes a great amount of guilt. your post resinates with me on so many levels. i think it is important to do what you love. i too, work, and wonder what people think about the fact that even if i had the choice, i would still work. granted, my baby is 5 1/2 now, but i felt that way even when she was little. doesn't mean i love her less than other moms who stay home. staying home isn't an easy choice either. the thing is, we do what is best for our baby, our family, for us. and all the moms out there? should rally around eachother and just say, "i support you"!

your doing a fantastic job with eli! thank you for sharing such an honest look into motherhood!!!

Colleen said...

Oh... we have all been there.

A few things to keep in mind during those dark moments.
* You are meant to be Eli's mom, just as you are. Of every other mom in the world, you are best mom for Eli. Trust that always.
* Look at other moms as inspiration, not as competition. Every mom excels in different areas and is insecure in different areas.
* For me, working part-time allows me to be a better mother. I thrive when I have many things going in different areas of my life. I get kind of down when I am focused on 1 thing all the time.

Chalk these thoughts up to a rough day and know that tomorrow will be better. And also know as your little one grows and gets older, each month you will gain more confidence in all of this.

Brittany said...

From the outside looking in, you are a fabulous mom! I commend you for going back to work! Although I'm not a mother yet, I definitely plan on going back to work. I love my job. I want to eventually be a principal and that is something that I've wanted to do forever. Just because you have kids doesn't mean you have to throw away your hopes and dreams. I think that being a stay-at-home mom is one of the hardest jobs. I have friends that do it and think they are just the most wonderful people ever. But it's not for all--just like working is not for all. You should give yourself a lot of credit for wanting to work to help provide a great life for your amazing little boy.

Love Being A Nonny said...

Welcome to Motherhood. It is filled with guilt because we want our children to fill loved. I agree though, it is the BEST job. And our children are the BEST at being our boss. They are so forgiving. They love us no matter what. Thank you Jesus for this JOB that you provided Megan and I with. Please don't lay us off...there I go with my insecurities again!:)

Love Being A Nonny said...

,,,feel loved. Woops!

A Nerd and A Free Spirit said...

I always tell myself "Comparison the thief of joy". It is really so true in so many circumstances.

~Kathryn

Mrs. Haid said...

Megan, I felt that way too for my 2 year old son. I was so critical of myself and so concerned. I have a baby now who is 2 months old, and I feel very confident this time. I think you and I have similar personalities in other ways... so this might give you a boost... you will feel better once he's lived his first year, but you will always feel a bit insecure since its his first time doing walking/playing alone at friends'/etc. For your second baby, you will have a different internal dialouge "Okay, Eli did this this way, and this is how I responded, so now Baby Tree 2 is doing this, I bet this will work..." Or the like. Your confidence that you are doing the correct thing will be stronger! (And you will be more tired so you have less brain power to invest in those cruddy thoughts).

Like the post above, I echo the sentiment of Compare, Despair.

Waiting for Bulgaria said...

You are not alone and you will find that other moms like to compare your child to their's. I've gotten to the point where I refuse to discuss how my child is milestone wise. There are some that he's ahead on, and some that he's on the money on, and some (such as hand eye coordination) where he may be just like his mama (btw I'm still behind for my age in that department). There are always going to be people doing more (or less) than you, and you have to fight the urge to compare. Also, you are working because it's best for you. My husband and I were having a discussion about why I think I shouldn't work. And my reason? "Someone told me Christian mothers shouldn't work." My husband's response was something to the effect of "Well someone else told me that Christians should pay their bills and not let their children starve." If you enjoy working then don't let it bother you. You are great mama whether you work or not.

Jessica Hudson said...

You are SO not alone. It's so hard not to compare yourself to other moms, but I promise you are the mommy Eli wants more than any other! You're a good mom and your insecurities are beyond normal!

Jess

Maryland Magnolia said...

I think that all of my friends with kids have struggled with parenting insecurities. But their kids are happy and healthy, and your Eli is too so no worries :)

Sweet Simplicity said...

I know you didn't write this for us all to tell you what a good mom you are, but I have seen you in action and you are a GREAT mom! It seems so natural for you.