It’s a sneaky bastard. The way it curls into the corner of your thoughts, buzzing on the edge like a fly. So eager to drive out your instinct, your confidence, your “know.”
Oh how we doubt ourselves as parents. Graduating from college, new jobs, moving away from home, a million sports competitions; I thought I had plenty of experience with squashing doubt.
Then I became a parent.
I guess it makes total sense that the most vulnerable role we can ever be given would also come with the most opportunities to second guess ourselves. Up until the moment I first saw those two lines on that pee stick, any doubts I had revolved around making mistakes that would really only impact my own life.
Then suddenly we are responsible for this squishy, sleepy, tiny ball of warmth and we realize that our decisions, for at least a short part of their lives, determine the path of an existence beyond our own.
Que the doubt.
Here’s the thing though… Doubt as a parent means we have awareness. Doubt means that we are reflective, that we are awake. It means that we are unselfish enough to love another being more than we do ourselves. It means that we care enough to not want to make a mistake, but human enough to know we will.
So although I don’t enjoy the feeling that second-guessing brings, there’s a benefit to doubt; a clarity that was never there before having kids. Doubt makes me feel alive and assures me that I have the capacity to care and to love more intensely than what words can give credit.
There is another benefit of doubt; it weeds out the good from the bad around us.
It allows us to recognize the truly good people around us. Those who let us talk about our doubts, offer perspectives without judgement, support and encourage our ability to always be our child’s best advocate. Those are the good.
Then there are those who get joy out of feeding off of our doubt, those who feel better about themselves when they are able to bring someone down with them. I’ve seen them try to drag down others around me and I’ve had them try to drag me down. They suck the blood out of human emotion and feed off of it. Those are the bad.
The worst part is that most often, these are the people who know us the least. They see one tiny part of our life and make assumptions... or they wait in the shadows for the next opportunity to jump at a chance to discount our parenting abilities.
It’s hard enough handling the doubts we put on ourselves as parents, much less trying to weed out the dandelions from our lives.
So if you’ve had doubts, if you’ve ever second guessed yourself or wondered just how much you’re screwing up; and if you’ve ever had someone attempt to mold that doubt into something unmanageable as a way to break you… know that you are not alone.
You doubt because you’re human and you doubt because love is vulnerable; but it's also exactly what makes you the parent you were meant to be.
You are rocking it. You are amazing. You are the exact person your child needs and no one else can do the job like you.
Do not let the weeds tell you otherwise.