Having twins has by far been one of the most challenging life events for me, mostly to my self esteem. When they were born, I was a new person: a mom. And not only a mom to one baby, but two babies. TWO teeny tiny babies.
I always wanted to be a mom, but when the job became mine, I quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing, and this was the most important job I would do in my entire life. I’ve always been a very confident, type A, get it done person, but as a mom I felt furthest from my former self. I don’t recall much of the first year. I know we figured out a feeding schedule, and stuck to it strictly. I remember when they were turning one, wondering how on earth we were able to keep two humans alive for a whole year? I remember getting dressed for their one year old party and thinking “Wow, I’m getting the hang of this.” I felt proud and that sparked confidence in my job as a mom to my two girls.
Thinking about this now, makes me feel a bit sad. I look back on an entire year of my life realizing that I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing and did not embrace the chaos of motherhood and raising newborns.
I was so excited to meet other moms and create friendships during their toddler years. Though, somehow, regardless of the group, I never quite felt like I fit in. For a couple of years I thought maybe I wasn’t destined to have mom friends. I remember watching other moms with their children and thinking, “They know what they are doing, why don’t I?” This probably held me back from meeting and connecting with other moms. The reality is I lacked confidence in my mom skills.
One time while at the park a mom I met was telling me about how she enforced time outs, and my mind started racing … “Should I be doing time outs?” This very small topic had never even crossed my mind and it made me think that other moms knew what they were doing and I didn’t. The time out conversation helped me reflect on my core beliefs; I believe in feeling strong about who I am, with hard work taking me everywhere. I believe in conviction, standing up for myself and what I believe in.
An author from a twin sleep book I read stated, “Don’t expect Golden Retriever children if you and your spouse are Pitbulls or Doberman Pinchers.” Let’s be honest, I definitely fall into the latter category. I’m fiery. I can have strong opinions, and that’s what I love about myself the most. Looking back, fitting in to these mom circles was unlikely for me. I was lacking confidence in myself and wasn’t bringing my true self into my role as mom.
I’m sure my mom confidence started growing as my girls grew. When the girls were 4, in their second year of preschool, I met some really friendly moms. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it. It was such an unexpected godsend; they were normal!! They loved their children and were confident in life.
I still wonder if the moms who were telling me about time outs or the best diapers to purchase, or whatever the big conversation topic, felt the same as me, and were ultimately not exactly sure what they were doing but felt the need to put it out there in the world like they did.
Looking back, I always had my strengths. I spoke to my children like they were adults, treated them with all the love and respect they deserved, and I was not very concerned with time outs. During the early years I had trouble recognizing my mom skills, even though I had them the whole time.
Since then, I’ve developed much more confidence in parenting. I believe I am doing this whole mom thing while being true to my core beliefs. I feel like my “mom-ing” has shifted to a happier place because my confidence has grown and I’m recognizing what I couldn’t see in the beginning, my strengths, were always part of me and my job as a mom.
About 3 months ago, one of my bff’s had twin daughters! I went to her house when they were about 2 weeks old and everyone at her house: my friend, her husband and both grandmothers looked defeated. I could tell my friend was worried she wasn’t doing the “right” things with her daughters. That’s when I realized: we all have the same fears and worries … that we might be failing and not doing the best job for our children.
They were firing questions at me and you know what? I had answers. They were blunt and realistic, which suits me very well. I revisited my friend a few weeks later, and she had her girls on a schedule and her confidence had exploded. It takes time and self love to get used to any new job, especially the most important job in the world – raising and helping humans grow into their potential.