I recently attended an inspirational mini-seminar, in which the facilitator asked participants to “befriend” their deepest fears. The purpose of the exercise was to identify road blocks to achieving goals, and confront them in order to prevent self-defeat. It’s a great exercise for anyone seeking positive change, but I think it’s particularly good for new moms to ponder. What’s your deepest fear about becoming a mother? Are you afraid of childbirth? Afraid of becoming your own mother; afraid of not instantly “bonding” with your baby, or that you might not enjoy being a mom? The worst and most common fear is that you won’t be a “good” mom. But how do we measure that? Is the ideal mom of your dreams a calm, happy, engaged stay-at-home-mom, or an urban woman who successfully juggles work, fitness and family and bakes cookies with her kids on the weekends? Chances are your standards are high, and you may experience some performance anxiety along the way.
The good news is that there is no right or wrong with mothering; we veteran moms simply strive to do our best. Confronting mom-fears, breaking through them and accepting that we will never be perfect, is crucial to happy mommyhood. I still wish I had a guilt-liberation pill though, for all the moments when I feel like I’m doing it all wrong (we all feel that way, so don’t beat yourself up if you do too)!