Before I became a parent my confidence was pretty good. I knew who I was, I was good at my job, had a successful career and mostly felt comfortable in my own skin (as long as I wasn’t looking at myself in the mirror in my underwear!). Life was pretty good.
I chose to become a parent through adoption, and I’d never change that but it did give my confidence a knock. I thought I’d know what to do and how to handle things, but I was wrong. Not completely wrong, most of the time was OK, but at times it was really, really hard. I didn’t know what to do for the best. I was exhausted, tired and at the end of my tether, and I don’t always make good decisions when I feel like that.
I felt like I was failing as I watched my son struggle with moving home, changing schools, leaving his foster family and accepting that this was his forever home. I felt like I should be doing more to help him. The reality was I couldn’t have done any more. He needed to grieve their loss and realise for himself that this was his home forever now.
In many ways during this time my confidence faltered, but it also grew as I knew I was providing a good home for my son and overtime he settled in more and more.
During those early months I had mixed responses from people. Some telling me I was doing an amazing job, others telling me I needed to do things differently. That’s part of life but when you’re feeling down and questioning your own abilities it’s easier to focus on the negative comments than the positive ones.
I took those comments and felt like I should be doing better, parenting differently, when the reality was that I was doing the best I could with the information I had at the time. The more people who tell you to do it differently the harder it becomes to find a way that works for you.
After a while I realised that some of the comments were from other parents who didn’t understand about the NVR approach to parenting, or really accept that there were ways of parenting other than their own! I spent time explaining why I parented the way I did and that really helped. It also helped to boost my confidence as I realised I could justify and explain myself clearly. I wasn’t completely off track.
It took time but my confidence grew and I started to listen to all those who said I was doing a good job. I could see improvements in my son, although there were definitely days when it didn’t feel like any improvement had been made at all!
Now? Well 5 years on I believe in myself completely. From being a full time, travel loving career girl, I’m now juggling being a mum and running a business, and I love every second of it (well nearly every second!). It isn’t easy but approaching it from a positive perspective and assuming the glass is always half full definitely helps. Celebrating the little successes also makes it easier.
So, even on your bad days, remember you are a phenomenal parent.
If you’re struggling and would like some help get in touch and we can look at how best I can help and support you.