One little thought-that's all it takes to get you doubting yourself, your ability, your worth, your purpose. A cutting remark from a friend, well intentioned advice from a family member, an Internet article with 6 easy steps, a Pinterest page full of wonderful ideas, a moment in time where your inner voice echoes the negative. It just doesn't take much and all of a sudden, the devil has a foothold. Like a flash, he's in. Inside your head and inside your heart, stirring up all sorts of trouble. The cutting remark nags at you and you question your friendship. The advice stings and you recoil and get a little bitter. The Internet problem solving makes you feel inadequate, like you must be doing something wrong. Pinterest starts feeling like a popularity contest, as if you've returned to high school only to find out you've shown up to prom in a gunny sack while everyone else is wearing couture. And your inner voice becomes your enemy, repeating a subconcious message that you're unsure of its origins but quite sure of its effect.
I've had kind of a week like that, where I've just felt generally stressed and emotional. (Maybe a few weeks...) Kai has been doing all sorts of fun new things but the flip side of that is that he's decided sleep is optional. Naps? Who needs them? A 45 minute cat nap will suffice. Sleep through the night? Why? The occasional waking up doesn't bother too many people. I've wondered if it's our lack of a hard schedule. (And wondered how on earth I can even keep a schedule when I've got 3 other kids and other demands that require the baby to be a bit flexible.) I've wondered if I ought to be encouraging him to self soothe and fall asleep on his own. (Which he was previously doing, with little fussing.) But when that results in hour long crying sessions, it quickly makes you think you ought to try another method that's more nurturing. Which then leads you to believe you will create a little tyrant who will never be able to sleep without your presence. I suppose it's just like every other parenting situation; it's so darn easy to doubt your every act.
Doubt seems like such a small thing. But it quickly digresses into more than just a simple thought. Doubt leads to panic, where you feel like you frantically should search for a solution. Doubt leads to comparison, where everyone else seems so much more capable and happy. Doubt leads to hopelessness, where you are certain this situation will be never ending. Doubt leads to a vicious cycle of stress and overreaction and guilt.
So for myself (and probably for a lot of other moms), I'm going to be the voice of confidence. There isn't a right way. You are doing just fine. Love covers a multitude of sins (and mistakes). This moment is just a season. Because every mom has fallen short and missed the mark.