Five years ago, I released Mombarded: When Motherhood Bombards Your Heart, Mind, and Life. As I’ve listened to many moms wrestle with the decisions they’re making for their kids and the conversations they have with other mamas through this unusual, challenging season, I’ve tried to identify with some of the core emotions and experiences.
Today I’m pulling an excerpt to hopefully encourage you, regardless of your circumstance right now. You are not alone, mamas.
Am I doing a good job?
Am I doing this right?
Who is the expert? Who should I trust? Why are there so many varying opinions about this?
What if I mess up?
How will I ever get through this?
Have I scarred my child forever?
We all doubt ourselves as moms. To be honest, we all doubt ourselves. Period. At least in some area(s). We don’t have all the answers, and we never will. We get more confident—in some areas. In fact, we’ll often share more advice as our children move beyond the stage for which a younger mom needs advice, because hindsight is always 20/20. We become experts, but in reality, we never really were, and we never really are.
Doubts can be crippling, but they can also be a good thing. People who rarely or never doubt what they’re doing tend to jump into things blindly, and while they may never acknowledge the costs, rest assured, there are costs. They look at people who have doubts and think, “What’s wrong with those people? Why are they so insecure? Why can’t they just put on their big girl panties and deal with it?” The people who have doubts look back and either think, “I wish I could be as confident and carefree as her” or “I may not know what I’m doing, but at least I’m not as careless as she is!”
Whether or not you doubt yourself, you don’t need to spend much time doubting others. You really don’t know where they are or where they’ve been. You could try to follow the old advice of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, but just so you know…it’s not really possible. You can’t walk in two pairs of shoes at once. And you can never truly leave yours behind. You can never fully assume someone else’s perspective. Even she doesn’t know everything about her life.
However, you can have empathy. You can support others by encouraging them, listening, asking questions, helping them search. You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t. And if you’d try to answer every single question, you’d lose credibility with people. Think about how we women respond when we want to process, and the men in our lives just want to swoop in and fix the problem. Many times, it’s not about the problem at all. It’s about us. We don’t want to feel as if we need fixed. We want someone to care about us, not change us. When we don’t listen to each other, that’s what ends up happening.
We can use the same advice on ourselves. We can search, question, reach out, listen, and process without expecting everything to be tied up in a neat bow. We can find assurance even when there is confusion. We can do our best, and trust God to fill in the gaps. He does it anyway, whether we acknowledge Him for it or not.
What gaps of doubt do you need to ask and trust God to fill today?